21 votes
Accepted

When should I use a spiral router bit?

The main advantage of using straight bits seems to be that they are cheaper, and easier to re-sharpen. They are perfectly fine for a number of uses though, especially where finish isn't particularly ...
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  • 3,789
17 votes
Accepted

What is the difference between flush trim, pattern, and template router bits?

A flush trim bit has the bearing at the bottom of the bit. This is so that it can trim a layer of laminate (i.e. Formica) that has been attached to the top of a smaller substrate (i.e. MDF or ...
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15 votes

Should I do many shallow quick cuts or a single deep slow one with my router?

For cuts with a router, slow also can mean burnt material. If I have a complex profile to cut, I either break it into multiple passes with multiple bits, or I sneak up on it, going slightly deeper ...
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  • 4,382
14 votes
Accepted

Should I do many shallow quick cuts or a single deep slow one with my router?

Always make sure your bits are sharp and take small bites with the router. If the router bit travels too slowly, it can burn and/or burnish your workpiece. Heat from taking too large a bite or moving ...
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  • 18.5k
14 votes
Accepted

Can I use a 6mm shank in a 1/4 inch collet?

In short: No, no, no. You can technically do this, unluckily, but it is highly inadvisable. It is a pity that it just looks like one could do it (1/2'' is not far off compared to 12mm, and 1/4'' is ...
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  • 3,805
13 votes
Accepted

Should router bits be stored with the gel coating that came on them when they were originally purchased?

The gel is something similar to Stripcoat (http://www.evanscoatings.com/). Prior to the bit being placed in individual packages, they can be bumped together. The hot melt coating on them keeps the ...
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  • 8,016
12 votes

When do I need to use a router table instead of a handheld router?

Use the router table if the piece is too small to have the router base firm against the work piece. Use the router freehand if the piece is too large to safely move across the router table. If ...
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  • 8,016
11 votes
Accepted

Can I use a plungable router bit on a drill press?

I'm thinking of using a bigger core box bit on my drill press to make the four corners. I'm trying to avoid my plunge router due to possible side movements while plunging. I've heard of people using ...
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  • 7,588
11 votes
Accepted

How and when should I sharpen my router bits?

I have never sharpened my router bits (they are all the nice ones with the carbide cutters). However, pitch will develop on them after some use. I just use a bit cleaning solution I got from Woodcraft ...
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11 votes
Accepted

I was thinking of buying a router. I tried a router bit in my power drill. It didn't work

A router spins at around 20,000 RPM. Your drill, at top speed, is closer to 300 RPM. Very different animal.
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  • 9,101
10 votes

Is it sensible to use a router for cutting large dados?

First, to answer your 3 questions: Yes, you can safely make a 50mm deep cut with a handheld router, but only if you take several passes, only cutting part of the depth at a time. If you try to make ...
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  • 18.5k
9 votes

When should I use a spiral router bit?

You should use spiral blade bits whenever you can, that is: You do not need a diameter that is too large (spiral router bits cannot have a diameter larger than the shaft, so you're limited to 12mm or ...
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  • 3,805
9 votes

How and when should I sharpen my router bits?

Sharpening bits after every use sounds like a really bad advice. Not only is the router bit getting smaller every time (no joke!), so eventually you will notice that this 6mm plywood that you're ...
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  • 3,805
9 votes
Accepted

Router bit used for this profile?

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: Source: Rockler tambour bit set. Edit: thanks to the ...
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  • 59k
9 votes

Cutting 2" (50mm) hemispheres into wood

A 2" ball end router bit, and a plunge router with adequate power to run it, and which can run slowly enough to run it safely (large diameter bits must not spin too fast.) Or (these days) a CNC ...
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  • 920
8 votes

Should router bits be stored with the gel coating that came on them when they were originally purchased?

Don't worry about it- for most bits other than straight bits, you won't get the protective gel off without tearing it up anyway. I keep those little packets of silica gel that seem to accompany many ...
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  • 4,382
8 votes

How can I chamfer thick (1.5") material?

Planing by hand would be the standard response for any hand-tool aficionado, as this is how chamfers were done before power tools came along. This can be done freehand, by planing to marked or gauged ...
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  • 59k
8 votes
Accepted

What's the easiest way to line up a tongue and groove?

How can I easily install the bits in the router at the correct height? The first time you use the set: Install one cutter to a height that looks right for your lumber. Make a on a test piece. Label ...
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  • 7,588
8 votes
Accepted

Router tears wood, leaves streaks

I don't think I've ever seen that. Is the bit sharp? Have you checked it for burrs or other defects? The top picture seems to have some artifacts going across the face also, but they didn't result ...
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8 votes
Accepted

Can I run a router bit over its max RPM?

In short: No. Compared to 16,000 RPM, 20,000 RPM is 25% over the specified maximum. Manufacturers -- even cheapish ones -- always calculate in a bit of tolerance, but 25% over limit is a lot. I ...
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  • 3,805
8 votes
Accepted

Is a long router bit safe?

1/2 inch or 1/4 inch? I'd generally avoid really long bits in a 1/4" chuck for fear of deflection and maybe even breakage. However, 1/2", with really small amounts of stock removed are perfectly fine....
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7 votes

When do I need to use a router table instead of a handheld router?

Larger bits will generally recommend that they be used in a router table or with a speed control or both. That bit is spinning very fast. Even with a small-radius bit it's moving past the wood at a ...
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  • 9,101
7 votes

Should I do many shallow quick cuts or a single deep slow one with my router?

I've tried both with a router. Cutting a 3/8th in deep groove though a board is a lot more work and it is a lot easier to mess it up. I burned a lot more wood. You also have to push harder which ...
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  • 15k
7 votes

Can I run a router bit over its max RPM?

Note: Bits generally have speed concerns because they have a large radus, which means the outer edge is moving at a much higher linear speed and that you have more mass trying to fly outward. Panel-...
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  • 9,101
6 votes
Accepted

When do I need to use a router table instead of a handheld router?

I would guess it is more profile and how much wood you both expect to remove and how much surface area you have in contact with the wood. The shank size is only the first indication. I haven't ...
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  • 15k
6 votes

Should I do many shallow quick cuts or a single deep slow one with my router?

I always "knew" the answer, but I didn't know why. So I emailed the question to router expert Pat Warner. His web site contains a wealth of information on safe, efficient use of a router. His ...
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  • 8,016
6 votes
Accepted

Can I use a CNC router bit specified for metal on wood?

I can't imagine a bit capable of milling metal having any difficulty whatsoever dealing with fir or walnut. However I don't know you can assume that a metal-cutting bit will leave a particularly ...
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  • 59k
6 votes
Accepted

Router bit speed as a function of wood hardness

Yes, I get it, harder wood = slower speed I'm not sure this is really true. Router bits cut more efficiently at their top speeds. What you might want to consider is using a slower feed rate for ...
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  • 12.1k
6 votes

Can I use a 6mm shank in a 1/4 inch collet?

You NEED a different collet. Your router could be spinning the bit at 20,000 rpm. Ignoring the possibility of damaging your work piece, the personal risk is extremely high. edit: On @AstPace's good ...
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