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I've seen suggestions to us a router to joint edges of boards, and some answers here that mention it, but I don't seem to be able to get the necessary precision using a router and table.

I've tried using a router table and a unified fence, also with a split fence. Both did well for getting a nice right angle, but perfect straightness seemed just beyond my reach. Pushing the edges together revealed gaps where the glue is supposed to go.

What are some good ways to pull this off? How do I adjust the bit and split fence geometry to get a nice, glue-ready edge?

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You can do this using a router table and split fence if the left side is adjusted forward to precisely match the exposure of the router bit. The idea is to provide outfeed support exactly corresponding to the material removed, just like on a jointer, and similar methodology can be used.

The same can be be done using a single-piece fence too simply by clamping on or applying some material (which can even be tape, in one or two layers, for the ghetto version) to the left side of the fence as described in Make your router think it's a jointer on the Wood Magazine site. I think it's worth noting that this probably under-sells the ease of setup and you will need to run a couple of test pieces to really dial in the accuracy, as covered in the WWGOA's article Edge Joint on a Router Table.

But the method that I think is best overall matches the functionality of the following jig:

Router jointer

It's not immediately obvious what the advantage of this setup is, but in addition to ensuring a dead-straight result it doesn't rely on the edge already being very straight. If necessary this could even be used to straighten a live/waney edge (in multiple passes!) if for some reason you can't saw the uneven edge off beforehand.

Image used previously in Methods of jointing without a jointer which is worth a look for anyone who doesn't have a jointer.

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  • Thanks, Graphus. "...this probably under-sells the ease of setup and you will need to run a couple of test pieces to really dial in the accuracy..." is right about where I start to get in trouble. I read the Methods of jointing... Q/A before I asked this question. You posted an excellent answer (as highlighted above) which was full of good information but got me thinking about my router table.
    – gnicko
    Feb 14, 2022 at 0:46
  • Welcome. You are familiar with how a jointer's outfeed table is made level with the tip of the knives? Basically same thing on a router table. The actual execution isn't that hard, so is holding the stock firmly against the fence the problem perhaps? A featherboard or other pressure device (can be just a block of wood) should suffice to fix that issue.
    – Graphus
    Feb 14, 2022 at 12:42
  • You'd think. I guess I just don't jam on router... I've tried jointing with a router and I usually just end up running everything through my tablesaw and then abusing it with a hand plane a little... then I ruin it all with stain and polyurethane and start on the next job....
    – gnicko
    Feb 17, 2022 at 1:23
  • I'm sure you can overcome your router woes, given the other people who have, i.e. if they can do it you can too. If you want to get better at doing it with by plane (as well as or instead of, doesn't matter) that's no bad thing though, since it has so many advantages. One of the easiest is simply to shoot them instead of trying to plane them upright when possible (thin stock and shorter boards are the best candidates for shooting edge). For when you have to plane boards edge-up key tip here.
    – Graphus
    Feb 17, 2022 at 4:55
  • "then I ruin it all with stain and polyurethane " We can help with that too :-) It's possible this could be boiled down to two simple tips. One: step away from conventional stains on softwoods and exclusively use "gel stain" instead. Two: thin and wipe on your poly. Bingo! Better results immediately, guaranteed.
    – Graphus
    Feb 17, 2022 at 4:58

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