How to get the best cuts from your router bits

I am sure almost everyone who has ever used router bits has gotten a bad cut at one point and time. The first to get blamed is usually the bit. Now while it is quite possible that it may have been a low quality or bad bit, this is not always the case. So before you go and throw out a perfectly good router bit, try these few simple tips on how to get a better cut! We hope it will save the lives of many router bits everywhere…

 

  • First, most tool companies will recommend purchasing a router bit with a ½” diameter shank. Usually this size diameter will produce less vibration, giving a smoother cut.
  • Secondly, you must make sure your router bits are sharp, smooth and clean. Cutting a tomato with a dull knife will just cause a big mess, right? Well the same goes for cutting wood with dull router bits.
  • Next, you can get a much better cut by lowering the bit slowly and making multiple shallow passes. If one tries to make just one heavy cut it can ruin the router bit, make an uneven cut or burn the wood.
  • A huge mistake woodworkers make while using a router is making their cuts in the wrong direction. Always move the router against the direction of the bit. This will allow more control over the router and will let the bit to cut into the work piece. You will also want to make sure to rout the end grain edges first and then the long grain edges when cutting a profile on all edges of a board.
  • Going along with the direction of the cut, when you are making cross-grain cuts, it is best to score the cut line(s) with a knife. Such as when cutting dadoes into your wood pieces. This can minimize tear out.
  • Also, watch your speed! Router bits should be run at different speeds depending on the size. A large router bit is much heavier and has a greater potential to give off a bigger vibration. Along with this it is important to know if you feed to fast the router will bind and slow down causing a rough cut. If you feed the router too slowly, you will end up with burn marks on the edges.
  • Clearing the excess chips can definitely help you obtain the best cut possible. To prevent chips from accumulating between the router plate and the work piece, connect a shop vacuum or dust-collection system to your router in order to remove the waste material.
  • Some of the most benefitting guidelines to obtaining a better cut can depend on what type of router you are using. If you are using a table-mounted router, make sure to keep the gap between the bit’s edges and the fence as small as possible while still allowing the bit to spin freely. However, if you are using a handheld router, always give the bit proper clearance and make sure the work piece does not shift while cutting.

 

By following these simple, easy to do tips you are guaranteed to get the cleanest cuts and best performance out of your router bits!

 

If you have tried all of these tips and you are still getting a less than perfect cuts then it may be time to look into getting a different bit. Here are the best tips on how to choose the best router bit and also tips on which router bits to buy!

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