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I'm in the process of getting things together to build my wife a dining room table. I have a fellow who is going to plane the boards for me. My question is: can I use a router instead of a joiner to clean up the edges? I don't have a router table. Would free-hand be accurate enough? Thanks in advance for your help. My bit set has laminate trimming bits of 1/4 and 1/2 flush. Or do I need something else?
 

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Usually when joining boards with the router, it is done using the router table. The outfeed side of the fence is shimmed to accept the routed/joined material after it passes through the bit. Just as a joiner. Trim bits are for trimming edges flush with another edge such as with a pattern or laminate with the base it is applied to. You can get a decent edge with the table saw & a good blade. If you have access to a joiner I would use that over your trim bits.
 

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I have seen people talking about doing it, but normally it is with a table. I don't remember how it is done without one...Hopefully some one else will post the way or you can find it in one of the other topics.

Seems Jlord is reading posts just a tiny bit ahead of me and posting while I read. :) Think this is at least the second time tonight. :)
 

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You can do it freehand by using a straight edge to guide the router base plate or to guide a flush trim bit if you have one. If you are able to set everything up carefully, this will be adequate. The advantage of a table is less room for error, and set up time is reduced. I have had poor results with some bits. Don't use a bit with straight up and down cutters if possible. The prefered option is a bit with an angled cutter blade otherwise the bit can chatter and leave a rippled surface.
 

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I'm in the process of getting things together to build my wife a dining room table. I have a fellow who is going to plane the boards for me. My question is: can I use a router instead of a joiner to clean up the edges? I don't have a router table. Would free-hand be accurate enough? Thanks in advance for your help. My bit set has laminate trimming bits of 1/4 and 1/2 flush. Or do I need something else?
John... it can be done safely and accurately using a handheld router by using a straight bit with a bearing at the tip that is the same diameter as the cutter. Here's one way...

Place a straight board (or a piece of plywood 1/2" or thicker with a straight edge) on a flat surface and place the table top on top of it.

Align the straight board where you want the straight-cut edge and clamp (or double-stick tape) the two together. If there's more than 1/8" to 1/4" of overhanging material, cut the excess away with a circular or other saw.

Adjust the bit depth so the cutter cuts the full thickness of the top but the bearing depth is set to ride against the straight board.

Just before cutting, ensure the bit depth is set correctly and the top of the bearing doesn't rub against whatever the straight board is resting on.

Here's a picture of one such bit. The helix isn't necessary but will give a cleaner cut.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Many thanks for the info! I do have a friend who has a joiner and probably borrow it or help him do the boards. At this time, this might be the best option. Now.....I think my wife would like a joiner for our anniversary.
 

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What diameter bit is better for this kind of cut?

Not to get off the subject but along the same lines, I am doing about the same thing but have built a table and am using a fence. I would assume the larger diameter bit would make a better cut (for example a 3/4" diameter over a 1/2" diameter). Am I right to assume this or would both bits be comparable?

Thanks,
John
 

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Hi John

" Or do I need something else? " yes the norm, most round over the edge on most table tops or put on a nice profile ,many router bits have a bearing on them just for that type of job..no router table needed or fence the router bit with a bearing will do all the work for you..


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I'm in the process of getting things together to build my wife a dining room table. I have a fellow who is going to plane the boards for me. My question is: can I use a router instead of a joiner to clean up the edges? I don't have a router table. Would free-hand be accurate enough? Thanks in advance for your help. My bit set has laminate trimming bits of 1/4 and 1/2 flush. Or do I need something else?
 

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John,
Do you want to clean up the edges of your boards to laminate them together for a wider top or do you want to clean up the finished outside parameter of the top?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
jlord, I want to clean up the edges to join them for the table top then I would like to put a nice profile on the edges. To all, thanks for your advice!
 

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Not to get off the subject but along the same lines, I am doing about the same thing but have built a table and am using a fence. I would assume the larger diameter bit would make a better cut (for example a 3/4" diameter over a 1/2" diameter). Am I right to assume this or would both bits be comparable?

Thanks,
John
John,

Your logic is sound in that if you were trying to cut this freehand, the effect of slight hand-wavers would be reduced but with the bearing riding on a smooth straight surface, assuming the top doesn't flex or bend, there shouldn't be wobble. One advantage of using a guide like this is that if your hand waves, it doesn't cut off enough and you can always run the router along the straightedge again to pick up any you might have missed. It's not a bad idea to do so anyway.

During the second pass, if you cut in any places, you know to be more careful the next time so the second pass becomes just proof you did it right the first time! :)
 
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