Router Series And Advice – Creating Details Out of Defects

Wood RouterIn an ideal world each and every cabinet case and face frame would be a perfect fit – but unfortunately there is no such thing as a perfect world. It may be a problem with the frame overlapping the sides of the case slightly, or a number of hairline gaps emerging after it has been glued. Fear not – the flush-trim router V-groove bit was designed to make the perfect solution out of imperfect situations.

On the surface they look very similar to straight flush-trim router bits but there is one important difference – the v-shape cutter extends around 1/16″ past the pilot bearing / cutters in the base forming a groove along the joint line in between the case and the face frame – the rest of this router bit trims a flush edge.

Hiding Cracks

This groove can help to mask any hairline gaps and cracks on cabinets which have a clear finish and on painted cabinets it is similar to an expansion joint successfully concealing any cracks which appear between the case and the face frame. Don’t worry, this incredibly shallow groove does not have any effect on screws and other fastenings.

Unfortunately some grooves just refuse to be hidden. The best advice to follow on these occasions is definitely that if it won’t be hidden then emphasize it. Trying to hide something which won’t be hidden merely makes it stick out more but with a little clever emphasis a professional can make it look as though it was there on purpose – genius don’t you think?

I have a buddy of mine that owns a cabinet shop, and his motto is “if you can’t hide it emphasize it.” This is because if you try to hide something that can’t fade into the background, if you try it will look like a flaw with the piece. But if you emphasize the flaw, it will look like it was supposed to be there.

Finding Your Groove

It is important to size up the face frame / rough-cut and trim off as little as possible, certainly no more than 1/16″. Position the base of the router onto the face frame and adjust the depth of the bit until it is centered directly over the joint. Start routing in a counter clockwise direction, smooth out any rough spots and finish off with a hardwood block and 220-grit sandpaper.

Once you have done this then you can make a few more passes and finish up changing any flaw into a feature for your project. Try this with anything as such, and you will be proud of these “flaws.”


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Ted Leger –


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Updated: February 16, 2017 — 11:56 pm
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