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Top Trim Routing Techniques: Cutting Joinery
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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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