Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index

Flush Trimming with a Router

I used to trim dovetails with a chisel or a belt sander. However, using the chisel was slow work, and the belt sander made it too easy to round the corners or gouge the face of my workpiece. I found a better solution using my router, a straight bit, and a simple auxiliary router base that I made from scrap stock.

As you can see in the drawing at right, the auxiliary base allows me to position my router so the bit is directly above the extruding tails.

I made the auxiliary base from a simple 3/4"-thick piece of stock, with a wide rabbet cut on one end. Keep the base fairly long (mine is 11") for more stability when making the cuts. I included a block at one end for a handle.

When you're ready to start trimming, set the base on your workpiece and lower the bit until it just touches the face of the stock. Then turn on the router and trim the dovetails flush. To reduce the chance of chipout, I like to backrout, moving the router from right to left—nibbling away at the tails from the outside edge towards the center of the workpiece, as shown in the lower drawing.

By the way, this jig isn't just for dovetails. It will also work great for trimming box joints or wood plugs.
woodworking tip flush trimming with a router

woodworking tip flush trimming with a router

woodworking tip flush trimming with a router
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