I want to cut 35mm holes for European-style hinges in melamine. Because I don't have a drill press, I decided to cut the holes using a router with guide bushing and template.

I'm pretty new to the router world so I don't know what is normal and what not. When I try to cut the hole with an 8 mm straight carbide bit it is almost impossible to cut it in one go (13 mm deep cut). I feel a lot of resistance and also lots of smoke comes out. I feel a 13mm deep cut in melamine should be pretty easy.

It is possible that my bit is dull (borrowed from my father in law, unknown quality) or is it standard behaviour? My router is a Makita RT0700 and it does not feel like it lacks power whatsoever...

  • 1
    Hi David, welcome to Woodworking. When one sees smoke during a power-tool operation in woodworking it's usually a sign something isn't working as it should! There are multiple potential causes here which I'll let someone cover in a formal Answer but first thing to look at is whether the bit is clean. If there's resin buildup (dark deposits, very firm) a bit can act like it's blunt. But do feel the edges carefully and see if they feel sharp, they should at least feel sharp-ish. If the edges feel OK and there is resin buildup then the bit just needs a clean — use lacquer thinner or oven cleaner.
    – Graphus
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 13:41
  • Today I bought new CMT full carbide bit and it worked much better. No burning marks, no smoke...
    – DavidP
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 19:03
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    @DavidP sounds like you should either delete this question, or self-answer for the rep.
    – user5572
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 20:30

1 Answer 1


The problem was a dull bit, as suggested in the comments.

I just purchased a new CMT full carbide bit and now everything works as expected. No smoke, no burn marks, just cutting. Although even if it is now possible to cut the hole in one go I decided to cut them in two steps. I use a palm base, so it feels more secure to remove material in smaller chunks.

I also use a shop vac to clean sawdust between cuts.

  • 3
    Even if you can take the material out in one pass, if this is not a roughing pass you should pretty much always route voids in multiple passes. One assumes you aren't doing hundreds of doors in a factory where speed is of the essence. In which case taking a few extra minutes is worth the results. You extend the life of expensive carbide tooling as well.
    – user5572
    Commented Feb 21, 2020 at 14:51
  • Do not forget to accept this- is a very helpful q&a for I'm sure a lot of people Commented Feb 23, 2020 at 4:20

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