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I would like to use my router table as a jointer since I can not afford the cost of a jointer itself. What modifications would I need to do to the router fence (maybe?) to make it work the best. Is there an easy way to set the bit to the right depth? (I was thinking that you would put a piece of wood on the body, then the blade would cut a little in, would that work?)

  • When you say jointer are you hoping to use this for edge jointing or for surfacing? Routers are very routinely used for edging tasks and they do the job well, but they're less suitable for routine surfacing of stock (great for stumps and other end-grain applications like flattening off conventional butcher block). – Graphus Jun 13 '16 at 7:16
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I think that could work, but I've seen a (imo) better way done by the Samurai Carpenter on Youtube.

There is also an instructable for such a sled. \o/ Image from the instructable, added by user robot-six (Image from instructables.com, made by user robot-six)

He attaches guides on either side of the board that is to be planed/jointed and builds himself a sled for his router with which he subsequently takes many passes over the board to make the board's surface flat. I recommend watching it though for my answer to make easier sense.

While using the router table would work similarly as his method, i think you would still need the screwed in/glued on guides on both sides. The downside of using the table is that you don't see what you are planing/jointing.

What modifications would I need to do to the router fence (maybe?)

None at the fence as you build a secondary fence attached to your piece of wood.

Is there an easy way to set the bit to the right depth?

Yes and no. You would search for the high-point of your piece and set the router to take away only a little bit, probably 2 mm (1/16th of an inch). Then you would increase the depth step by step for little increments until the piece is flat. Drawing a raster onto the wood with a pencil helps to see what has already been taken away.


PS: I think in this application both terms, planing and jointing are valid as you would joint the first side and make them co-planar on the second side after the board is flipped. Please correct me if I'm wrong on this.

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I would like to use my router table as a jointer since I can not afford the cost of a jointer itself. What modifications would I need to do to the router fence (maybe?) to make it work the best.

For jointing purposes, the main feature you need in your router table fence is independent setting for each side of the fence.

The left side of the fence must be set flush with the router bit cutting plane. I prefer to use a robust straight bit with a 1/2-inch shank. The right side of the fence has to be adjusted a tiny distance back, depending on the amount of material you want to remove in each pass. Less than a millimiter should be fine.

Is there an easy way to set the bit to the right depth?

You should be able to measure the offset length between the left side and the right side of your fence. For instance, you can put a long rule flush against the left side of the fence and measure the gap on the right side of the fence, using a feeler gauge or something like that.

Once you have a straight edge in your board, you cut the opposite edge on your table saw.

(Note: this procedure works well if you planed the board previously, so the edges will be made at 90° with respect to the surfaces)

  • I've used this method myself for quite a while with a nice Jessem table router that has those inserts for the fence. The advantage of this over the other answer(with a sled) is you can do longer material. Say for...a 5' tall face frame stile. – Joshua Jun 26 '16 at 0:55

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