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Making router miscuts disappear

These five simple steps hide accidental gouges.

Submitted by WOOD community member WOOD Magazine StaffSubmit a Shop Guide
  • Accidental gouges

    A bumped elbow, or just a slip of the hand, and there it is-a router miscut. Even with your best efforts, you can't always keep them from happening. One common example: You built cabinet doors, carefully measured and marked the hinge locations, and set the router bit to cut to the correct depth. Just as you complete the recess for the hinge mortise, the cord catches and you accidentally rout outside the marked lines. Is the door ruined? Absolutely not! A simple angled inlay creates a nearly seamless grain match guaranteed to restore the woodwork and a smile to your face.

  • Scribe the area to be patched

    1. With a sharp knife and clamped straightedge, scribe a diagonal line outside of the mistakenly routed area. By scribing a long line that angles only slightly across the grain, the patch will effectively blend with the surrounding grain. Always avoid butt joints that cut across the grain--those patches will stick out like a sore thumb. Using a straight bit and a secured straightedge, carefully rout the area to the same depth as the mortise.

  • Cut a patch to fit the recess

    2. From matching wood, rip a strip slightly thicker than the recess depth. Align the grain of the strip and the workpiece. Then cut a patch slightly larger than the routed area. Test it in the recess for fit and grain match.

  • Apply glue to the recess

    3. Next, apply wood glue. Clamp the patch snugly with tape until the glue dries.

  • Trim the patch flush with the surface

    4. With the glue completely dry, remove the tape. Using a sharp block plane or sanding block, level the patch flush with the surrounding area.

    5. Trim excess patch from the door edge and face (use a low-angle block plane). Then, using a sharp chisel, square the mortise. Test the fit of your cut by placing the hinge in the mortise.

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