I'm pretty novice and am currently experimenting with my newly purchased router table and am making cut out handles in plywood doors. I'd love to achieve something similar to the attached image.

I'm wondering what kind of router bit could be used to make this type of profile?

All of the router bits I have in my set that could make something similar to this profile have a bearing on the bit which would prevent a cut like this from being made as it would have to go all the way through the work piece for the bearing to clear.

Any help would be appreciated.

enter image description here

  • 1
    That is also a fairly 'large' cut so you'll need to take it slow and careful.
    – bowlturner
    Jul 19, 2016 at 16:10
  • Here is one way (which gives the exact profile you're looking for): youtube.com/watch?v=IVFZ2IaIE88
    – Ben
    Nov 7, 2021 at 1:51

1 Answer 1


I don't know the name of that bit profile but it's possible the cut is done using just a portion of a bit, e.g the highlighted portion here:

Tambour bit portion

Source: Rockler tambour bit set.

Edit: thanks to the Comment below from Aloysius Defenestrate, the correct bit to use for this is called, obviously enough, a drawer-pull bit. As theorised a portion of the bit is used to form the finger groove as shown.

Drawer-pull router bit

Source: Drawer Pull Bit on Lee Valley.

In case it's not obvious you could do a very similar cutout using a common dovetail bit. Perhaps not as comfortable but would likely work nearly as well.

Do be aware a cut like this will work better in solid wood than in plywood. Even using excellent all-hardwood ply the router bit will naturally cut the long-grain plies differently to the cross-grain plies so the inside surface may feel rougher than you'd really like. And there may be a tendency for the surface ply to delaminate from the board with extended use.

Also related to the cross-ply structure, to get a good surface on the edge you may want to clamp on a sacrificial board, or, route and then saw to final width to remove the chipped-out edge.

I'm pretty novice and am currently experimenting with my newly purchased router table and am making cut out handles in plywood doors. I'd love to achieve something similar to the attached image.

This kind of cutout would not normally be done on the router table, it's much more common, and generally safer, to use the router with an edge-following fence as supplied with most (all?) routers.

  • Yes that's a great suggestion Graphus, I just haven't seen any bits available that big at my local shops that would be big enough for a cut like that which don't have bearings so I may have to expand my horizons. In relation to those types of cuts not typically being made on a table, could you please explain why that would be the case and why it would be generally safer to use an edge following a fence. Safety is a primary concern with me as I learn more about woodworking so I want to ensure I'm using the right tools for the right jobs.
    – James
    Jul 19, 2016 at 11:53
  • 5
    Not a cheap router bit at the best of times. Here's an alternate: leevalley.com/US/wood/… (actually called a drawer pull bit). Router table or handheld guide will have varying opinions, but the root of the issue is that you'd be taking off a lot of stock if you ran this bit in one pass. Keeping the cutter going dead straight is critical to the finished product, so I'd be using guides/fences on both sides of the slot. Also, you'd make the router work less hard if you removed stock in the middle with a straight cutter before the final pass. Jul 19, 2016 at 13:31
  • 1
    @James, re. the safety aspect, cuts like this are effectively just like a stopped dado/housing and it's the norm to do this with the router on top. Doing this on a table if the fence is in place and the adjacent edge runs along it the panel is effectively pinched between the bit and the fence, which is something to always be avoided.
    – Graphus
    Jul 20, 2016 at 7:20
  • 1
    @AloysiusDefenestrate, thanks! Have updated the Answer to show the correct bit.
    – Graphus
    Jul 20, 2016 at 7:32
  • Thanks for the comments AloysiusDefenestrate and Graphus - they've been very helpful. I think I'm on the right path now.
    – James
    Jul 20, 2016 at 11:28

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