When it comes to woodworking router bits there are so many options. How do you choose the right one for you? Obviously you will save money by buying them in a set rather than individually. I have found that many router bit kits have bits I don’t think I will ever use. In this case you may come out money ahead by buying one at a time as you do different projects instead of buying bits that will just sit there.
As I talk about these bits I want to share with you that I use a Bosch Colt palm router on my CNC machine. This has adjustable speed, strong power and Bosch is a great brand name. You can find them at your local hardware store but I’ve never seen them under $99.
Plunge Router Bits
Plunge router bits are commonly used to contour an edge to square material. I commonly use a round over bit and sometimes a straight bit also called a groove bit. I have bought a kit like this in the past. For the money, this is a great kit. It has all the bits you’ll ever need for your typical woodworking.
Depending on the type of router you have the router bit will be 1/2″ shank or 1/4″ shank. 1/2″ shank bits can take a little more abuse and you will get let vibration or harmonics from it as you cut. Some routers come with both a 1/2″ and 1/4″ collet so you don’t have to worry about it.
There are several specialty router bits that typically don’t come in a set. One of which I use pretty frequently is a keyhole bit. The keyhole bit cuts a groove that looks like an old-fashioned keyhole. I use this for many of the wall hanging projects I do. I prefer this type of hanging because it allows the piece to sit flush against the wall. These bits are also use this for cutting T-Slots. T-Slots are commonly used along with a mount for CNC Machine tables.
Tongue and Groove router bits are great for joining two pieces of wood together. The surface area they create for the joint is strong and holds tight. If you do a lot of wood joining such as making table tops or larger surface area pieces these bits are a must. The links I provided are from EBay. I buy a lot from EBay and typically find what I’m looking for cheaper than anywhere else. Plus shipping is usually free.
There are countless other bits available depending on your forte. If you make a lot of wood trim I would recommend you buy a bit that has a 1/2″ shank as it will stand up to the abuse of cutting so much wood at one time.
Wood CNC Router Bits
CNC router bits are a bit more complicated, pun intended. There are CNC metal router bits and CNC woodworking router bits. One woodworking router bit I want to talk about is a V bit. V bits come in different angles such as a 30, 60 and 90 degrees. The higher the number of degrees the sharper angle of cut.
When talking about the V bits please realize that not all V bits cut the same. A common bit I find locally is called a V bit but at the very top of it there is a small flat area between the bits’ blades. When V carving letters, the bottom of the letter will have a small flat spot. This might be okay depending on what look you are going for. Look closely at the images I took. You can see the point from either side of the bit. I circled the area on the other V bit that has the flat spot.
One of my favorite V bits I commonly use I get from EBay and have not been able to find it anywhere else. It is also very very cheap. The catch is it take a few weeks to be delivered because it comes from China. This V bit has a very sharp point without a flat spot and is fantastic for carving very small letters.
No matter what bit you decide to get, whether that be a V Bit or some other kind. Pay attention to the shank size. Some bit shanks are labeled as 1/4″ shank and some are labeled as 6mm. The 6mm shanks are slightly smaller than 1/4″ shanks and this will weaken and eventually break the collet of the router. I found this out the hard way and had to order another collet for my router. All was not lost as I still use the broken collet for the 6mm bits.
The tapered spiral bit it what I turn to for the smallest of engraving because it has a very thin profile and I don’t have to worry about the blades striking the edge of a project I just spent hours cutting…..Well, my CNC machine just spent hours cutting!
There are too many bits to discuss at one time. The other bit I would like to talk about is the 1/4″ Spiral down cut bit. There is an uncut and a down cut. An uncut bit brings the cut material up and clears it from the machining surface. The down cut is the exact opposite. It will push the cut material downward. I prefer down cut because it tends not to chip the wood as it cut because it’s pushing down, into your piece rather than trying to lift the wood out. I use this bit for rough cutting or hogging out material as cutting with a 1/4″ bit goes faster and keeps your smaller bits in better shape for finish work.
Dremmel Bits – They can by used as woodworking router bits
Dremmel bits are 1/8″ shank size and I have found many uses for them in my woodworking CNC machine as they are very small and are great for detail work. I had to go online and find a 1/4″ to 1/8″ reducer with a slot down the side to be able to use the Dremmel bits in my router.
Woodworking router bits are awesome!
I hope I’ve shed some light on the different router bits and shown you some that I have had great luck with. Most times you get what you pay for meaning a really expensive bit may hold a sharp edge longer but sometimes for the price it’s worth it to buy more than one of the same so you always have a backup.
One time I dropped my V bit and it hit the concrete just perfectly on the tip making it useless. Since I was using the sharp non flat V bit I had to continue with that same style. The one I bought was from China and had to wait a month before it arrived. I learned very quickly to have a spare on hand.
Thank you for your time reading this article. If you have questions that I may have not answered please feel free to leave me a comment.