This isn’t one of those posts where I ask a question in the title and then answer it in the post. This is the kind of post when I am utterly stumped and need some help.
I am making some progress on my office workbench. I have 1-1/8″ thick Ikea butcherblock tops I can use, or I might order 1-1/2″ maple tops, I haven’t decided yet. Either way, those tops are both finished on the front edge. How do I create a clean seam?
A miter joint is one way to go, but not really, since my corner joint will be formed between two sections of different widths. One will be about 22″ deep, the other around 16″-18″, I haven’t finalized it yet.
So, a butt joint will be likely. Since the side and front edges are pre-finished, they will have to be modified so as to prevent a dip that needs to be filled.
There’s not much advice on user forums, and a lot of what I found dealt with laminate, which is easier to fit together than wood.
The one advice I found was to use a Trend jig, shown above. The jig, which comes with a router bit and guide bushing, trims most of the joint flush, and then looks to modify the front at a 45 degree angle. The photos I’ve seen show a very tight-fitting joint.
It’s a good-looking jig, and I do have a couple of projects where this will be handy, but I have a few hesitations. First, it’s expensive – $130 after discount. Second, it’s designed to work with standard countertop depths, and will require some finagling to get it to work nicely with my smaller-sized panels.
Lastly, surely there’s another way to do this? I’m sure that this isn’t the only way to cleanly trim wood countertops for an invisible seam.
Maybe I can build my own template. I can use a guide rail or straight edge for the straight section, and then possibly a 45 degree guide for front part of the joint. If so, how large should that miter joint part of the seam be?
While this is “only” a workbench, I’d like to have a flat and invisible seam if possible, and so I’m treating it as I would a countertop.
Buy Now(Trend Jig via Amazon)
The jig seems useful, but it’s about 3X the price I’d pay for limited project use. I’d use it for maybe 3 or 4 workbench builds, and that’s it.
One other suggestion I saw was to fit the two panels together but with a small gap between them, and use a router to trim both at the same time, creating matching profiles. But if the joint will have a straight section and s small angled section, that’s not necessary.
And, I realize that the shape of the joint also serves to hide laminate countertop substrates, but in other examples I’ve seen, it looks good with wood countertops too.
A straight trim is necessary, to remove the finished edges so the top surfaces meet flush, and the angle provides a transition to help align and lock things together. The concept seems perfect, but the process, at least without this jig, eludes me.
How would you fit things together?