Router Bridge Planner

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Project by Kevin May posted 02-11-2012 10:27 PM 34972 views 62 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had to build this Router Bridge Planner to overcome my lack of know-how or patience. Building my first ever end grain butcher block cutting boards, my ‘glue-up’ has resulted in boards with significant flatness issues. Needing a solution, what I decided on was to built this jig.

I constructed the support runners to act both as support runners for the sliding bridge and as clamping jaws for the cutting board. You can see how this works in the pictures. The Bridge has 1 piece of 1/4” poly-carbonate to mount the router, allowing me to see the tool bit. The bridge is 45” long, enough to span a 20” cutting board.

This worked great to mill the cutting boards flat. The down side is that it tore the grain significantly, leaving me with a lot of sanding to do. I used a 3/4” square router bit. Any helpful input on router bit style, router speed, or movement speed would be appreciated. I also need to find some way to trap the cuttings and/or attach a vacuum hose.

Thanks for checking this out.

I’ll be changing my signature tag to “Patience is a virtue.”

-- Kevin May "Making wood useful and fun!"

20 comments so far

View Philzoel's profile


303 posts in 3795 days

#1 posted 02-11-2012 10:48 PM

innovation is a necessity. I used scraper and sander and etc but not your way. Had I thought of it, I might not have bought my sander I now have a jet drum sander which takes all the work out. It is so slick it makes me feel guilty. I am used to hard work to get a smooth finish.

-- Phil Zoeller louisville, KY

View cplant's profile


226 posts in 4016 days

#2 posted 02-11-2012 11:02 PM

i think this jig is a fantastic idea. have you tried dropping your bit a little at a time, sometimes that can help with tear out. also, before your last pass, try switching bits…maybe a nice new one that hasent been heated up too bad. i really like your idea, for those without a drum sander (or access to one) this seems like an efficient alternative.

philzoel….u must love that jet ds….i get to use a 52” unit at work….its such a treat

-- "...if america is any indication, i was born into one great big vacation...." RMB

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4786 days

#3 posted 02-11-2012 11:11 PM

I think you could do the best planing job with a ‘bowl bit’ A fairly large bit to hollow out trays and such. The rounded or curve cutters help to avoid tear out and gouge marks.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View whitewulf's profile


456 posts in 4389 days

#4 posted 02-11-2012 11:19 PM

Next time leave 1/32” or so, then climb cut around theoutside working to center. Never take more 1/2 the diameter of the cutter at a time. Slow and easy do not rush.

-- "ButI'mMuchBetterNow"

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30677 posts in 3790 days

#5 posted 02-11-2012 11:30 PM

There are specific router bits for planing. Good construction. Good work.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View mondak's profile


71 posts in 3852 days

#6 posted 02-12-2012 01:04 AM

I would do simular to what whitewolf says, except, climb cut around the outside edge, maybe 1/8” in, then I’d clean up the bulk of the cutting bord.
If you have chip out now….......consider using a roundover bit. And you may even try climb cutting here too.

View Philzoel's profile


303 posts in 3795 days

#7 posted 02-12-2012 01:40 AM

I agree to climb cut. That is to cut into fiber with rotation into new wood. I already do this on my edges of end grain and it works.

-- Phil Zoeller louisville, KY

View DaddyT's profile


267 posts in 4962 days

#8 posted 02-12-2012 04:07 AM

This is so weird, I just made one of these last night!! I had the same problem you had with tear out at first. Using the same bit you are using. So I set the router to just barely take off any wood, 1/8 of an inch, and had no more tear out till I got to the edges. Switched to a round over bit for the edges, moved inward about an inch, switched back to the square router bit, and finished the rest of the board. I was really happy with the end result. Didnt need a lot of sanding after I figured out how to do it. The only problem with the board is that it shifted some, about 1/16 of an inch, so the whole board is now crooked looking. Dont know what happened for it to do that as it was fine when I glued it and clamped it up. Any ways I hope this helps a bit.

-- Jimi _ Measure twice, cut [email protected]#%#[email protected]!!!......measure twice, cut....

View dpow's profile


504 posts in 4296 days

#9 posted 02-12-2012 05:12 AM

Hey Kevin, You have made a nice planing jig. I made one a couple years back to finish the thickness in some end grain boards I was working on. What the others have said is all true, especially having a sharp bit and taking a very light pass to finish the thickness. There will always be a fair amount of sanding to do. One thing I would do is to leave a little extra on the length and width to saw off after finishing the thickness in case there was any tear-out along the edges. You will probably get better results the more you use it. Practice makes perfect….almost. Anyway, great project, thanks for sharing.

-- Doug

View bfrazier's profile


1 post in 3748 days

#10 posted 02-12-2012 05:22 AM

Try a bottom cleaning bit, preferably with a half inch shank for reduced vibration and make that last cut real shallow and slow way down. We used to have one of these on a 4 foot by 8 foot frame for leveling slab style coffee tables.

-- Making little boards out of big boards since 1960.

View Kevin May's profile

Kevin May

74 posts in 3767 days

#11 posted 02-12-2012 02:11 PM

Thanks for all the inputs. For clarity, the tear-out issue was not along the edges, but across the full width of the board. For the most part, my path began along the periphery, climbing on the cutter, 1/2 the width of the 3/4” cutter, working inward on each lap around the board. I cut no more than 1/8”. Next time I’ll try to incorporate as much of the input as possible, primarily, leaving 1/32” for a last skim cut, and I’ll be purchasing both a planner bit and a bowl/bottoming bit (with a small radius). Thanks

-- Kevin May "Making wood useful and fun!"

View buffalosean's profile


174 posts in 4839 days

#12 posted 02-12-2012 02:25 PM

nice jig. I made one a few years ago. they are handy, especially for wide boards that won’t fit in your planner. When you are glueing up many pieces at once, your going to have some uneven surfaces.

Some times the best way to fix this is by glueing up in stages. Only glue a few pieces together at a time. then, take your sub-assmeblies, and glue those up together. Try putting spring clamps or light duty c-clamps at the ends of your glue lines.

your glue ups will get flatter with time and experience.

good luck & happy woodworking

-- There are many ways to skin a cat...... but, the butter knife is not recommended

View StumpyNubs's profile


7854 posts in 4252 days

#13 posted 02-12-2012 02:33 PM

That’s a great ides for end grain planing! I’ve done that to flatten a workbench and it works fantastic!

Thanks for posting!

-Jim; aka “Stumpy Nubs”
Blue Collar Woodworking? FINALLY, a woodworking show for us morons! ” -The Hoboken Evening Review

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View Gene Howe's profile (online now)

Gene Howe

12587 posts in 4880 days

#14 posted 02-12-2012 03:47 PM

+1 on the bowl bit.
I use my sled/carriage thingie to flatten burls , crotches and the like. Also built one to turn canes/walking sticks. The bowl bit yields the best surface by far.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View woodworkerscott's profile


361 posts in 4266 days

#15 posted 02-12-2012 05:18 PM

I have to agree with others on the bowl bit. Makes the best cut. Thanks for posting.

-- " 'woodworker''s a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

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