How to Use a Finger Joint Router Bit

By Jim Wildman

The finger joint router bit is a carbide-tipped cutter for use in a router. The finger joint router bit allows you to make a strong end to end glue joints. This is possible by increasing the glue surface area. The finger joint route bit is ideal for joining particle and composition board as well as solid wood stock. With the proper jig it will make super strong miter joints and can replace mortise and tenon in many cases. Once you get use to the finger joint router bit you can achieve quick and accurate setups.

Put on safety glasses and hearing protection.

Cut several 3-inch-wide-by-12-inch-long scraps of material the same thickness as your project's stock. These will be used to dial in the router bit and fence for a perfect fit.

Install finger joint router bit into router.

Adjust the height of the bit to the project's thickness that you are using. The top of the bit cutting edge should be even with the top of your project's wood surface.

Adjust the fence so that it is even with the inside cutting surface of the finger joint router bit.

Place a piece of scrap material against the router table fence. Adjust your feather boards to hold the stock firmly down and against the router table and fence.

Start the router and run one piece of scrap material through the router table.

Adjust the router bit height so that it will fit into the scrap piece of material for the opposing side.

Place a second piece of scrap material against the router table fence. Adjust your feather boards to hold the stock firmly down and against the router table and fence.

Start the router and run the second piece of scrap material through the router table.

Lay both test pieces of scrap material on a flat surface and check the fit. The two pieces should fit together with no gaps and be flush with each other.

Repeat steps 9 through 11 until the pieces form a perfect joint. Save the two pieces of test scrap material for templates to set the router and fence quickly and accurately for future bit setup.

You are now ready to mill your project. Just glue, clamp and sand for a perfect joint for your project.

Tip

Ideally, there should be a solid finger on the top and bottom of the joint. Avoid a thin shaving here that could break out or stick up when gluing.

Warning

Only use the bit with a router table. Adjust the router speed to a max of 1800 rpm.

About the Author

Jim Wildman served in the United States Marine Corps as a Communication Chief for 10 years. After his tour of duty in Desert Storm he attended Oklahoma State University receiving his Bachelor of Architecture. He worked as an architect for 10 years before starting his own design/build company. He began writing in 2009 for Demand Studios and published on eHow.