Surfacing panels with a Router.

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Bearpaw posted 09-01-2010 03:57 AM 4172 reads 5 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I am in the process of building two end tables for my youngest daughter that just married. The project is built from soft maple and each table requires three panels for the top and shelves. I edged and glued the panels, but I needed to level them and make the shelf panels 5/8” thick. These panels are about 15” x 22 1/2”. I am not that good with hand planes, have a thickness planer that large or the time. So like most of my projects, I have to build a jig.

First, I made a frame 1/2” larger than the panels. I used some finger jointed pine because it is straight and true. I attached a lip around the inside edge 1/8” deeper than the thickness of the rough panel. You need to take your time to build this part very accurate. I placed four drywall screws into ends of the frame to hold the panel in position.

I built a sled to carry the router across the panel. It needs to be very stiff. There are stops on each end of the tray and guides on the bottom of the sled.

I used a ½” diameter pattern bit to do the surfacing of the panel.

When you place the panel into the frame just brings the screws up enough to hold the panel from moving. All of these panels are over size. Now you should find the lowest spot of the panel and use this as your starting point for setting the depth of your router bit. I set my router to have very little travel up and down.

It is better to go over an area several times than to take all of the material off at one time. This will create a lot of chips. I would go about 3 to 4 inches and then vacuum the area.

It takes me about 15 minutes to set up and do a side. You can see two of the finished panels, stacked on each other, for how flat I was able to get them.

I am sure that I saw this same idea somewhere in the past. I am not that smart. I hope that this may solve a problem for you in the future.

-- "When we build, let us think we build forever." John Ruskin

7 comments so far

View psh's profile


79 posts in 4160 days

#1 posted 09-01-2010 04:10 AM

Very well done. Nice post!

-- Peter, Central VA

View BigTiny's profile


1718 posts in 4052 days

#2 posted 09-01-2010 11:18 AM

Great how-to description. Thanks.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View lumberdustjohn's profile


1263 posts in 4331 days

#3 posted 09-01-2010 01:52 PM

nice solution.
They look good!

-- Safety first because someone needs you.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4468 days

#4 posted 09-01-2010 04:16 PM

yes that is a good solution to doing it…i do have a 15 inch planer if your ever this way and want to plan some boards…would be glad to do it…im putting in newly sharpened blades this morning in fact….i love new blades…but anyway…you did a good job of finding a way …that is what i love about wood working…great job…nice jig..

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Diggerjacks's profile


2330 posts in 4303 days

#5 posted 09-01-2010 08:00 PM

Hello Bearpow

Thanks a lot for this post

Very interesting

Have a nice day

-- Diggerjack-France ---The only limit is the limit of the mind and the mind has no limit

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26472 posts in 4270 days

#6 posted 09-02-2010 04:59 AM

Necessity is the mother of invention. Nice job on making a jig to get the job done!
That concept could have a lot of ramifications for grooving, fluting or rabbeting edges by gaging the top slide box to the piece accurately
Thanks for sharing.

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View camps764's profile


867 posts in 3524 days

#7 posted 01-20-2013 02:22 PM

I’ve seen this done for large live edge slabs, but never for small panels. I think this is an awesome solution when you don’t have a way to face joint panels/boards. Your results speak for themselves, very cool and practical jig!

-- Steve

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics