Flush Trimming Thick Stock

Advice on flush-trimming the heavy edge of a large conference-table top using a hand-held router. January 12, 2009

What cutter do you recommend for flush trimming 1 3/4 maple to a template? We do a lot of this sort of thing on our shaper with spiral carbide insert head. I love the chatter free operation. I need to trim a 7 foot by 13 foot conference table, oval shaped, way too large to move around on the shaper. We have a large hand held router that I plan to use, 1/2" collet.

Forum Responses
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor A:
You could put the shaper on a dolly! I would cut it 1/4" oversize, then use a template guide and a bit like Whiteside RD5218H. It's a solid carbide spiral hogging bit - 1/2" diameter, 2 3/16" cutting length. Then I'd trim it down to size with RFTD5200, or 3019 if your template is on top. You could also build a carriage to hold a belt sander perpendicular to the top.

From contributor J:
Just did a 1 1/2" top with a flush trim pattern bit 3/4 x 1" (bearing on top) from one side, then flipped it over with the pattern still attached and used a 1/2 x 1 1/4 flush trim bit. Worked great in a handheld router.

From contributor R:
I use a Whiteside 3019 1 1/8" diameter 2" cutting length. This one has the bearing on top. They also have a flush trim 3/4" X 2" model # Whiteside 2580.

From contributor P:
Whiteside has some real long top bearing pattern cutters that work well. I prefer doing this on a shaper, but that plan does not always work. I have had good luck with the long bits taking light cuts.

From contributor T:
If you want a smooth cutting flush trim bit, you should try the solid carbide spiral flush trims by Amana. They have a 1/2" diameter by 2" cutting edge bit in both an up cut and a down cut. Both bits use a double bearing for extra stability against your template. Up cut part number is 46304 and down cut part number is 46404. They even offer undersized bearings for these bits after they have been sharpened.

From contributor F:
I think contributor J has got it right on this one. You could probably do it in one pass with a large cutter, but the easier (and safer) way would be to cut your top oversize, follow with a pattern bit, then flip over and route the other side with a flush cut. Then you could apply whatever edge profile you had planned on.

From contributor I:
I would use the biggest Whiteside pattern bit as contributor R mentioned earlier. The large diameter will result in a much better cut since the angle of entry and exit is much shallower than on smaller cutters. If you want to make the cut in two passes, jack up your template to reduce depth of cut, then remove and use the first pass as the template for the second.