Top Trim Routing Techniques: Cutting Joinery
posted on December 1, 2010 by Chris Marshall
Cutting joinery Trim routers will never take the place of true joinery cutters in most shops, but for small, quick joints, it works fairly well.

A trim router isn’t a panacea for every routing operation, of course. Big bits and deep cuts spell trouble with a tiny router, so use common sense. Still, you can cut rabbets, dadoes, laps and other joint parts with a trim router, the same way you would with larger tools. Run the edge of the base against a clamped straightedge; install an edge guide or use a piloted bit to limit cutting depth. The key is to take reasonable cuts so you don’t overwhelm the motor or the bit. I used a trimmer to cut all of the back panel rabbets and shelf dadoes for a small cabinet to store cans of finish.

The cuts turned out every bit as accurate and crisp as if I had made them with a dado blade or my mid-size router. Would I use a trim router for cutting joinery on every project? No. Three-quarter-inch through dovetails? Forget it. Nada on deep mortises, too. I would choose my bigger routers, router table or some other method for safety’s sake on tough jobs like these. But, some joinery can be cut with a trimmer. Give it a whirl.

posted on December 1, 2010 by Chris Marshall
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One thought on “Top Trim Routing Techniques: Cutting Joinery”

  • Ralph Cleale

    I need to rabbet the edge of a model ship 33" long 18" deep by 1/16". Is there a trim router and rabbeting bit combination that could do this? The deck is not flat.
    Ralph Cleale

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