how to square boards on a router table?

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Reggie

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Hi Guys, is it possible to square up a length of wood using a router table? I know you can flatten an edge using an offset split fence but will that straighten it up? If not, how would you go about doing it?

Flat piece of wood clamped/stuck with double sided tape to act as a guide and a handheld router with a trimmer bit? or the same but still use the router table?
 

Steve Maskery

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Most things are possible, but why would you want to? The traditional way is with hand planes and I'm sure it would be quicker to do it that way than rigging up a RT to do the job. It's not what it is best suited to.
 

Reggie

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Steve, that's why I'm asking, I have hand planes, just thought it might be possible on an RT, as it's possible to use a router for edge trimming in the first place.
 

Steve Maskery

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Well you could, as you suggest, offset the outfeed fence less than the infeed fence, our you could build a sled with a good straight edge, clamp the wood to it and use a flush-trim bit.
But it's easier to use a hand plane, I would say.
S
 

marcros

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i wouldnt. if you were desparate to prove that it could be done, i would look at something similar to a tenoning jig.

Ironically, on the woodrat it is very simple, accurately, and very useful to be able to do this. It is also nice and safe because hands are well away from the cutter, and everything is clamped tightly.
 

Reggie

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Hi, I'm not trying to flatten a board across the wide face, I'm trying to square a board down an edge. So yeah, just looking for a method if it's possible, marcros seems to be closest to the mark, that's pretty much what I'd envisioned. I don't mind using a plane but if there's a quicker method (2min setup time for the router, + 5mins to run all of the pieces through) I'd like to use it.

Clearly I can use a hand held router + trimmer bit and a guide clamped to the wood which would produce the result I'm after, how about using a trimmer bit on the RT and slowly taking the edge off until it's level? I'm looking for valid methods here so I can compare and choose.
 

cedarwood

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I have used the router table to do exactly this, I have the Dakota table with the split fence and all I did was put some thin card (as thick as the amount you wish to plane of in one go) behind the second fence then lined the router bit up level with the rear fence then with the feather boards fitted to hold the wood down and against the fences pushed the wood through with a push stick. Result was perfect square edge, I have a planer thicknesser now so don't need to do it any more. :lol:
 

baldpate

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I've never found it a trivial exercise using a bench plane to get the edge of a board simultaneously both straight (to a line marked along its length) and square.

If you have an existing guaranteed straight + square board of adequate length (e.g the manufactured edge on MDF) to act as a template, the method you suggest (sticking the template board on top with DST & using a bearing-guided bit in the router on the table) works fine.

If you have a bit with the bearing at the shank end of the cutter, you can put the template board underneath the workpiece, which can be a more stable arrangement; it also lends itself to making a jig to clamp the workpiece onto the bearer template board rather than using DST.
 

wellywood

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I always square my boards on a RT using the offset outfeed fence method, it's simple and quick. Can't see why you would want to use a template/DST/hand held router with piloted bit instead. Seems a lot of messing about to get the same result.
 

baldpate

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Several people have said they use the offset fence method, so it must obviously work. But for the life of me I can't quite visualize how, unless we are assuming something - e.g that the edge to be squared is off-square by the same amount along its length & otherwise basically straight.
 

nanscombe

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I imagine it would work in a similar way to a jointer on its side.

The rotating blade would protrude a small amount beyond the infeed table (fence) and would shave that amount off the wood. The outfeed would be level with the top of the blade ready to receive the shaved wood.
 

Reggie

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I'm glad I asked, it's all food for thought. I expected to use the rt for some other work and thought it might just save some time, people seem to do it and whilst they edge a board, there's nothing about it squaring the board at the same time. I can see how it might work with the out feed offset, essentially, you have to offset as much as takes you up to the line, then when you feed through and hit the outfeed fence, the outfeed acts as the registration face so should in theory pull it straight? or maybe not.....
 

wellywood

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Reggie, I've re-read your posts and I may have misunderstood what you're trying to do. When you say you want to square the board, do you mean that you're trying end up with a board with a consistent width all way along its length?
What I (and others) was referring to was getting a 90* edge to a flat face.
If you are trying to get a board with a consistent width along its length, you're better off using a TS with a fence.
 

memzey

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For the fence on the table saw to be accurately effective in sizing his board the edge would need to be square so he would need to use the RT/plane to true it up for square anyway (assuming it isn't already so)
 

Eric The Viking

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You can get a square edge (i.e. two faces at right angles) on the RT, but that's it. Yes, you can square two opposite sides (to the face running on bottom, on the table), but you can't make them parallel, without some sort of jig. If you're not careful you get a wedge-shaped piece of wood, which is arguably more of a nuisance to true with hand planes than a canted one.

I rough cut the sawn stock to pretty-square-but-slightly-oversize on the bandsaw (pretty easy), used the RT to take off saw marks and square one edge (two faces). It's harder than you think: if you let it go out of true, in prep or the first few router passes, it's too easy to follow the fence rather than the table, as you're pushing into it in any case. I then did the rest with hand tools (#5, #4 1/2 and #7 - all I had at the time).

I was making window casements and frames, albeit small ones. One of the biggest issues is that the tallest cutter I could find is that Wealden one (TXL1412.7M, 75mm, £26.30). It is a very nice cutter, but you only get 73mm usable height, max, as it has to be able to run off the edges of what you're working on.

So your biggest dimension is limited in the rough sawn stock to about 73mm. You daren't take a deep cut - lots of very shallow passes - as it would (a) put a huge strain on the motor, and (b) risk bending the cutter, wear the bearings, and possibly cause chatter. So it takes ages, and the accuracy is down to the router insert plate and how well you can eyeball a square against the cutter and the fence.

I haven't yet, but I want to find 9" of straight 1/2" steel round bar, to assist in getting things properly square. It would help setup a lot for that sort of thing (and setup in general really).

So it worked, but it was nasty, noisy, dusty, felt dangerous, and didn't actually save huge amounts of time over hand tools.

E.
 

Racers

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Hi Eric

Sounds like you need a length of 1/2" silver steel.

Pete
 

scrimper

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I have a small router table set up permanently to do just this, both fences are fixed (it's an old ELU fixed table where the router is moved rather than the fences. I have fitted a wooden fence around a metre long with a slot where the longish router cutter emerges, I have then glued a strip of Formica (offcuts) (hardwood also suffices) to the out-feed side, it is then a simple adjustment to bring the cutter out so that it removes just enough timber to clear the Formica.

I find that it is perfect for squaring edges and removing bumps and dips prior to joining boards etc.
 

Eric The Viking

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scrimper":3gchm08g said:
I have a small router table set up permanently to do just this, both fences are fixed (it's an old ELU fixed table where the router is moved rather than the fences. I have fitted a wooden fence around a metre long with a slot where the longish router cutter emerges, I have then glued a strip of Formica (offcuts) (hardwood also suffices) to the out-feed side, it is then a simple adjustment to bring the cutter out so that it removes just enough timber to clear the Formica.

I find that it is perfect for squaring edges and removing bumps and dips prior to joining boards etc.

Fair enough, and I agree you can make it work, but yours is still an investment in space and kit. Why is that preferable to a P/T of itself?

I now have an old, small Kity P/T. OK, it's not a wonderful finish, but it's a lot easier and faster, and arguably safer, than getting half-way on the RT and still having to get the overall squareness sorted.

E.
 
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