Edge Joints

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Thoughtfully applied, the router edge-jointing technique can give you ey e-catching results. When it's used to prepare boards for gluing up, it can produce nearly invisible seams. But you can do that on the jointer. What you can't do on the jointer is prepare boards for joining along a sinuous scam, as here. Contrasting boards edge-jointed this way can be a smashing element in a small box, a big blanket chest, or a tahletop.

Thoughtfully applied, the router edge-jointing technique can give you ey e-catching results. When it's used to prepare boards for gluing up, it can produce nearly invisible seams. But you can do that on the jointer. What you can't do on the jointer is prepare boards for joining along a sinuous scam, as here. Contrasting boards edge-jointed this way can be a smashing element in a small box, a big blanket chest, or a tahletop.

► If you intend to glue up stock

10 make large, flat panels, you will use some variation of the edge joint. In many, many instances, the edge joint is a simple butting together of two boards. A lot of woodworkers, however, prefer to work the edges a bit. to produce a means to simultaneously help align the two boards during glue-up and increase the joint's strength by interlocking the boards and expanding the glue area.

At the very least, the edges of the mating boards require surfacing to remove saw marks, dings, and chips. Traditionally, this surfacing, called jointing, was done with a long-soled jointer plane. These days, it's ordinarily done on a jointer.

The router lends itself to the jointing operation, as well as to edge treatments that yield some stronger edge joints.

• Beyond mere jointing is routing an edge joint. It Ls almost imperceptible, it works with gently curving edges as well as straight edges, and you can only make it with a router.

• A common approach is to use splines: Plow a stopped groove in the edges of the boards and insert a spline of hardwood or plywood in it. The router is the ideal tool to make the groove.

• Biscuit joinery has become popular in recent years. A special power tool, called a biscuit joiner, saws a slot into which a thin, elliptical wooden spline just fits. Thus, instead of a continuous spline reinforcing the butt joint, short splines arc spaccd along the joint. Save yourself the cost of a biscuit joiner; you can cut the slots with your router.

• Similar effects can be achieved by cutting rabbets or tongues and grooves along the edges of the boards. Yeah, the router docs it.

• Specialty router bits cut a variety of edge shapes that provide a mechanical interlocking of the boards, while at the same time expanding the glue area.

So when tackling edge joinery, don't overlook the help your router can offer.

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