April 16, 2022
There are many types of router bits that you can use on woodworking projects.
Although the main application of the router is in carpentry and woodworking, specifically in cabinetry, you can also use the router in various applications. You can use the router as a plunging tool or in a router table in an inverted form. Of course, your router can do impressive projects without a hitch, but you need to use the right routing bits to accomplish such feats.
With the correct bits, you can make decorative edges, trim veneers and laminates. You can also rout hinge mortises. Furthermore, you can cut woodworking joints like dovetail, dado, mortise-and-tenon, rabbet, tongue-and-groove, etc.
Types of Router Bits
The market is awash with various router bits of varying styles and sizes. So, if you’re a newbie in using a router, you might get confused when buying router bits You should familiarize yourself with the following types of router bits:
1) Straight Router Bit
The straight router bit is the most commonly used router bit type by woodworkers. You can use this router bit in various applications, specifically for cutting different square-shaped grooves. Moreover, you can cut these grooves along the wood grain, against the wood grain, or along the wood edge.
It gets called a groove if you cut along the wood grain, while it gets referred to as dado if you cut against the wood grain. These different cuts come in handy when you join two material pieces.
For example, using the straight router bit, you can make mortise and tenon joints. This jointing technique allows for sturdy joinery.
You can also use the straight router bit to mortise your door hardware. Besides, you can use it for making grooves for a channel to allow for the insertion of decorative inlay. Moreover, you can use the straight router bit for rabbeting.
The diameter range of straight router bits is from 3/16″ to 1-1/2.” They may also come with one flute or two flutes. The straight router bits are best for making dados, grooves, decorative inlays, and mortises.
2) V-Groove Router Bit
The V-groove bits can hollow out a V-shaped profile in your wood piece. This V-shaped profile is often meant for aesthetic effect. This router bit can engrave various designs on any flat surface, such as on the face of the cabinet.
You can also make shallow grooves that span the column’s length. Besides, you can use this bit to make panel ridges creating a beadboard effect.
The V-groove bits also come in varying angles and diameters. Again, you will find flat-bottomed bits instead of having sharp tips. Such V-groove bits allow for a limited cut depth. The V-groove bits are perfect for making fluted columns, signs, and bear-board designs on panels.
3) Flush Trimming Router Bits
The flush trimming router bits are made for cutting unclean edges and overhanging edges to make them flush with the adjacent surfaces. You can use these bits when working on wood veneer and laminate coverings because often, the use of these two engineered wood leaves overhanging edges that you must trim back.
You need to use these bits with guides to ensure that the cutting bit produces surfaces flush with the adjacent surfaces. Besides, using a guide implies that the bit should have a bearing at the bottom or top.
4) Chamfer Cutting Router Bits
The chamfer cutting bit gets also referred to as the bevel cutting bit. You can use this router bit to shape the material’s edges, especially when you are building worktops, shelves, and other projects with sharp right-angled edges that you must remove.
You can cut a 45-degree bevel edge using this bit. As such, it is also rightly called a bevel router bit. You will find this router bit in various cutting angles to let you create varying shaped objects. This router bit also comes with a pilot bearing guide fixed to its base.
5) Core Cutting Box Bit
The core cutting box bit is specifically used for cutting shapes and channels that feature a concave bottom. You can also use this router bit for creating beautiful decorations in your wooden panels. Thus, you can design the panels of your table doors, chairs, and table edges with this bit. This router bit, however, doesn’t come with a bearing guide.
6) Cove Cutting Router Bit
The cove cutting router bit is in stark contradiction to the rounding-over bit because it is the opposite of that router bit. The rounding-over bit can create an awesome rounded edge, while the cove bit can cut a concave profile on the workpiece.
A rounded-off joint, of course, will readily fit onto the cove-cut joint if the profiles get similarly cut. You can use the cove cutting router bit to create aesthetically great edges for your tables, doors, and other workpieces.
7) Rail & Stile Router Bits
If you want to combine vertical and horizontal material layers for your panels, you can use the Stile & Rail Router bit. The rails refer to the horizontal aspects of the router frame, and you can use them for entry doors, cabinet doors, etc.
On the other hand, stile refers to the vertical aspects of the frame. Its etymological definition is climbing equipment. So, it is not akin to the word “style” but is derived from the Latin word “stigel.”
You can cut decorative profiles as well as panel slots using these router bits. You can also make fantastic panel slots onto the door frame’s inside edge and cope (mirror image) at the rail’s end. This allows for the quick linking of the frame’s sections.
8) 45° Chamfer Bit
The 45° Chamfer Bit is used to shape edges and can cut at a 45° angle onto the panel’s edge. You can use this router bit to do away with sharp corners and square corners from your shelves, countertops, picture frames, and many other furniture.
You can also utilize this bit to make V-shaped grooves between your boards. You will find this router bit in various sizes and several angles. However, it will be best to choose the one with a 1-1/4″ diameter.
9) Raised Panel Router
Another type of router bit is the raised panel router bit. You can use this router bit to create fantastic door panels. You can also use this bit to make different wood profiles. You can tinge your woodworking projects with a variety of touches using this router bit.
The raised panel router bits are large. It will be best to use these bits when using a router table instead of using them with a hand-held router. Besides, it will be best to use a router with different speed settings.
It will be good to note that fixed routers can run at 24,000 RPM. Meanwhile, a horizontal raised panel thrives best at 12,000 RPM. It can also work even up to 18,000 RPM.
10) Molding Router Bit
Another valuable type of router bit is the molding bit. These bits combine different edge-forming profiles for a single application, i.e., to make moldings. You can enhance and reinvent your room using this router bit, affording you a high level of control over the finishing touches of your home.
Molding bits can save you time and effort and can produce excellent results. Yet, you can also use other router bit types like the roman ogee and cove. Yet, the use of molding router bits is better.
If you have this bit in your router bit arsenal, you can indeed engage in installing crown molding, window frames, baseboard, etc. You also got several options with this router bit. You can select, for example, contemporary or classical styles when buying this bit.
11) Slot-cutting Bit
The slot-cutting bit is a specialty bit that you can use to make narrow grooves or slots on your cabinet door frame’s edge, pictures, and floorboards. You can use it for making spline joints and making spline grooves.
It has dual wings, and each wing features a sharp tungsten carbide tooth. The thickness of the cutting teeth of the bit determines the cutting slot’s width. This thickness ranges from 1/16″ to 1/4″. Besides, the distance between the cutting teeth and the ball-bearing pilot determines the slot depth.
The most commonly used slot cutting bit is the 1/4″ wide and the 1/2″ deep. You can alter the depth of cuts by choosing a different cutting bit diameter.
12) Rounding-over Bit
Another type of router bit is the rounding-over bit. You can use this bit to shape the edges of tabletops, shelves, chair arms, and other sharp edges that you would like to soften. This bit features a ball-bearing pilot that allows you to control the cut’s width.
You can also adjust the router’s cutting depth by adjusting the router base. The rounding-over bits come in different sizes. Nevertheless, the most commonly used rounding-over router bit sizes are the 3/8″ and the 1/4″.
13) Glue Joint Router Bits
The glue joint router bits are pretty handy if you want to glue wood pieces together to create a larger panel. It does an excellent job in this category. The glue joint router bits will be handy if your works entail working on huge boards. You will appreciate these router bits because they outperform other router bits when joining large panels.
The glue joint router bit helps join two pieces by creating similar or identical tongues on both pieces’ edges. It can make notched cuts that provide enough surface area to work on your glue and form a tight-fitting joint.
The glue joint router bits come in two different types: the mitered and the standard ones. With the standard glue joint, you can connect two squared edges. However, you can make a 45-degree angle joint with the mitered ones, combining two mitered edges.
At the onset, it will be good to note that you should only use the glue joint router bits in a router table. You will not fare well if you use it in a hand-held router. Besides, the results would be uneven cuts or profiles that are not good to look at. In the worst case, you might even get injured because of binding or kickbacks.
You will find that these bits come in size range from 1-3/8″ to 2-3/4″. You can also use these router bits on various material thicknesses ranging from 1/2″ to 1-1/4″ thickness. Lastly, the glue joint router bits are best for making two adjoining joints that allow gluing a larger surface area.
14) Dovetail Router Bits
If you want to make intricate cuts like those of tapering dadoes and rabbets, you should check out this type of router bits. These router bits feature a broader base with a flatter bottom that comes with slanted sides.
15) Ogee Router Bit
The Roman ogee bit is another router bit that you should use in your router. Among the router bits, this one is the most basic of all bits. It is hard to imagine a woodworker sans this router bit. You will quickly find this router bit in most router bit sets available in the market today. Besides, you can use this bit to make compound profiles and S-shaped profiles.
The Roman Ogee Bit means it is S-shaped. This bit is the most popular bit among 1/4″ radius bits. You can use it to cut wood panels and make edges for your top counters, frames, and horizontal rails. It also comes with a ball bearing to help regulate its cutting width.
Knowing the different types of router bits that you can use for your routing projects makes you more conversant with router bits. Besides, you can now quickly choose the appropriate bits that you can use for your routing projects. As a beginner in router use, it is crucial that you fully grasp the different router bit options at hand and know their main applications.
With such knowledge, you will never go wrong with your routing projects. Besides, you can quickly raise your level of woodworking activities if you can quickly zero in on the appropriate router bits for your projects. So, next time you set your eye on your router, you can now intuitively know the router bit to use in your next project.
Liam is a 37-year-old woodworker and interior designer who loves to make every furniture project an art piece. He is very experienced in furniture design and woodworking project planning.