Router or Table Saw for T&G joints


Recommended Posts

I have made several projects using tongue and groove joints and floating panels.  My question is about what purchase would be more practical for me.  I have a Harbor Freight dado stack, but it does not make very good or consistent flat bottom cuts no matter how I adjust the blades.  There is always a groove in the bottom of the groove and grooves on both sides of my tongues.  I have also used a 1/4 router bit to make grooves and a 3/4 router bit to make the tongues with a pass on each side.  I do not have a dedicated tongue and groove router bit.  So, what purchase for me would be the most practical?  Should I buy a better dado stack that will make better cuts or a tongue and groove router bit set for my router table?

What tool do most of you guys use for making tongue and grooves - a router table or the table saw?

Thanks!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious what you build that requires you to make so many tongue and grooves?  That's a joint that I rarely find useful in furnituremaking.  Floors maybe, furniture not so much.  Grooves, yes.  Mortises, yes, shiplaps yes.  Tongue and groove?  Rarely, if ever.

Anyway, I make grooves with both router bits and the table saw...depends on how much material needs to be removed, whether or not it's a stopped groove, and what kind of mood I'm in.

All dado stacks will leave those lines from the "bat wings."  They are high ATB blades because they're designed to plow dadoes cross-grain in plywood...if it didn't have those wicked ATBs it would be tearout city.

If you want clean, flat-bottomed grooves, look into rip blades, flat-ground joinery blades, or box joint blades.  Or buy a router plane to clean up the dado lines.  Or don't worry about it since you can't see the inside of a joint. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll give this a crack, then those who are smarter than me can correct me ;)

I haven't done tongue and groove, but it's not really different than some other operations.  

I like the TS better, simply because of the larger table and better fence than most router tables.

As discussed in another current thread, tooth geometry of dado stacks will leave grooves.  The grooves could be cleaned with a shoulder plane, or perhaps a dado stack made for box joints may give smoother cuts.  

Safety could be an issue with the grooves on the TS, featherboards will be your friend.

 

Of course for the grooves in the t&g, I was thinking along the lines of a large panel.  If you are grooving the ends of boards, a tenoning jig should work well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A better dado stack or box joint blades will give you nice cuts, but in the long run I think the dado stack will give you more flexibility. Since you are not gluing tonuge and grove joints, and the tongue is hidden by the groove, you don't need to worry about the bat ears effect. T&g is a traditional way to make solid wood backs in case work.  I confess to using plywood for the backs of my bookcases, once the books are in you don't really see the back and only wood workers care anyway. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Eric, maybe I'm not using the right terminology.  I use tongue and groove joints (at least I call them that) for rails and styles.  The last major project was the boxes in the picture that I attached.  The groove runs the full length of the styles to accept the panel and the rails, but there is also a tongue and groove holding the sides to each other to hold the box together without any mechanical fasteners.  Does that make sense?

2015-11-30 12.20.42.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh okay, I gotcha.  You're talking about raised panels.  Technically I suppose you're left with a tongue but I don't think that's the correct terminology.  Maybe it is.

Yeah there are many ways to skin that cat.  I use both the table saw and router table to raise panels.  Depends on the profile and size of the panel and how much meat needs to be removed.

As for the joint that holds your sides together, I would imagine that's something more like a locking rabbet rather than a tongue and groove.  Again, either the table saw or router table are fine ways to get there...it always depends on the project.  The more arrows you have in your quiver, the better the woodworker you'll be.  I'd suggest trying both ways until you find what works best for you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think he's referring to the rail to stile joinery. Thats called cope and stick. The cheapest option would be to make the grooves and nibble away the material for your tenons with a flat top grind blade. Like this one;

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0000225UD/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1461464102&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=freud+heavy+duty+rip&dpPl=1&dpID=51e72oawRbL&ref=plSrch&th=1&psc=1

The other option, which is more expensive is to buy a raised panel bit set.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B003DYZVPY/ref=mp_s_a_1_2?qid=1461464048&sr=8-2&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=raised+panel+router+bit+set&dpPl=1&dpID=51s6QMyW7bL&ref=plSrch

Sent from my SM-N910W8 using Tapatalk

I read you post again and am thinking you are talking about connecting the corner stiles? If so, like Eric said, a locking rabbet but even quicker would be just using a biscuit joiner o the corners. Its a long grain glue up so a few biscuits for alignment and sone glue and you will be good. Quick and easy.

Link to post
Share on other sites

shaneymack,  These are not raised panels in the traditional sense.  The router bit set that you linked to is not what I'm looking for.

 

I think I'm leaning toward the dado stack.  My router table is homemade.  It has served me well, but I think I'm at the place now where my skills are more developed than my tool.  Not bragging, just saying that my homemade unit does not give me the precision that I have come to expect / demand.  I have found that it's expensive to outgrow my tools.  I've learned to just go ahead and spend the extra money on the right tool first rather than buying 2 or 3 versions of the same tool.

Link to post
Share on other sites

shaneymack,  These are not raised panels in the traditional sense.  The router bit set that you linked to is not what I'm looking for.

 

I think I'm leaning toward the dado stack.  My router table is homemade.  It has served me well, but I think I'm at the place now where my skills are more developed than my tool.  Not bragging, just saying that my homemade unit does not give me the precision that I have come to expect / demand.  I have found that it's expensive to outgrow my tools.  I've learned to just go ahead and spend the extra money on the right tool first rather than buying 2 or 3 versions of the same tool.

So its a flat panel in the grooves? Either way a cope and stick bit set without the panel cutter would work for the joinery then you cut the panel to fit in the groove.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0062I1JGI/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1461464997&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=cope+and+stick+router+bits&dpPl=1&dpID=41wYDaPHdBL&ref=plSrch

If you want to do it all at the table saw and have flat bottom grooves and clean tenons you need a blade like the one i linked or a box joint stack like you mentioned. Just has to have ftg teeth and not atb.

Sent from my SM-N910W8 using Tapatalk

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have used this set very successfully to make flat panel shaker style doors. I have found that setting up 2 routers and getting them adjusted to make matching cuts gives the best results.

With the tablesaw or just one router you have to do multiple set ups and match all the previous cuts. If one part is cut wrong you have to repeat all the previous set up work exactly.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I made a bunch of tongue and groove planks to replace the soffit planks on my house.  They appeared to be designed for making them on a table saw as the groove was about the width of the saw blade.

The first time I did it on the table saw.  The second time, I did a lot more of them and I did it on a router table.

I much preferred the router table as the slot cutters were smaller in diameter and slight bows in the work piece were less likely to cause problems.

The work was also flat on the table instead of on edge in the table saw.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, so is the Freud Pro at around $100 a good choice?  Any recommendations for a good dado stack?  Should I get a box joint stack instead?  What's the difference?

 

I vote table saw as well. It seems faster and more efficient for making rails and styles in my experience. I went with the dewalt dado stack since it had really good reviews and after owning it, I would agree with those reviews. It's s quality set.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0002ZU6X4/ref=sr_ph_1?qid=1462123220&sr=sr-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_FMwebp_QL65&keywords=dewalt+dado

Sent from my SCH-I545 using Tapatalk

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Who's Online   2 Members, 0 Anonymous, 167 Guests (See full list)

  • Forum Statistics

    29546
    Total Topics
    400426
    Total Posts
  • Member Statistics

    22271
    Total Members
    3644
    Most Online
    New2woodworking
    Newest Member
    New2woodworking
    Joined