A router can perform countless woodworking jobs, thanks to the dozens of router bits that convert it from one task to the next. Carbide router bits can cut grooves, create inlays and form decorative edges, to name just a few of their powers. Here’s what you need to know to round out your collection.
Router Bit Sizes
Router bits have cutting edges made of high-speed steel or carbide tips. The carbide tips hold their edge longer than steel. Some edge-cutting router bits also have a spinning ball-bearing pilot on their tip. This helps to control the width of the cut.
While the cutting edges come in a range of sizes, the shank is either ¼ inch or ½ inch in length. Most routers come with adapters so that you can use either one. Double-check the specs on your tool when choosing a router bit size.
Types of Bits
If you generally do one type of cut, you can select single wood router bits. To perform a variety of projects, opt for a router bit set. Bit sets often come with pictures that show the type of cut each bit makes. This can help you find the right one for the job. Here are some of the most common uses:
• Use a straight router bit to cut square bottom grooves and dadoes in wood.
• Use flush-trim bits to cut veneers and laminates flush with the surface they’re mounted to.
• Add a decorative edge to tables, cabinets and shelving with grooving router bits. They can create a rounded edge, rounded edges with beads, concave edges, S-shaped profiles and more.
• Edge-forming bits usually have a pilot to help guide the cut.
• Some jobs, such as constructing raised-panel cabinet doors, require special router bits. With cabinet router bits, one cuts the rails and stiles, and another makes the cuts on the panel.
Make the most of your router. For a project that looks like the pros did it, choose the right bit for the job.