Crafting a small box? Putting together some kitchen drawers? Creating wooden signage? Wood-working is an art form, so when you're taking the time and effort in a project, you need the right tools to achieve great results. You need to make sure you've got some good, reliable tools, particularly in the arena of detailed wood-working. This is where the router and its bits come in.
Get it Started
First and foremost, you'll want to get acquainted with the router, an electric tool used to hollow out (or rout, if you will) grooves and designs in a piece of wood. This tool drills at a higher speed and with more precision than a power drill, making it ideal for smoothly cutting through wood, particularly the tougher kinds, like ash and red wood.
'''Our focus: The Bit'''. Router bits -- also known as router cutters -- are the blade-like part of the instrument, a long beveled indicator that you can remove and switch according the kind of groove you are looking to render. They're the parts that do the actual cutting and grooving, and their design varieties are as endless as clouds in the sky.
It's important to keep a few things in mind when shopping for new router bits.
* What am I looking to do?
* What brands am I working with?
* What sizes should I be looking at?
* What shape is best for what I am doing?
Types of Router Bits
There are many, many varieties of router bit, so let's cover some of the most common ones.
* Straight router bits are the most frequently used, cutting straight down a plane or to make a hollow or groove on the surface. These range widely in size, from 3/16" to 1.5"
* Edge forming router bits are what you are looking for for a decorative edge, and they're often named for the profile their groove creates in the wood. There are seemingly countless varieties here, which is great for giving you a unique look, but makes the choice that much more difficult, too. Some of the more recognizable ones include the round over bit (rounded edge), the ogee bit (an S shape), the edge beading bit and the cove router bit.
'''Random Fact''': Have a unique woodworking pattern in mind that doesn't exist yet? Maybe you're looking to recreate original trim or molding pattern that's gone out of production. You can get a custom router bit designed for these purposes.
Brands, Features and Sets
Purchasing bits means investing in your project, so it's important to get something that will get the job done well. Router bits generally have carbide or high-speed steel tips, though bits made entirely from carbide have become increasingly available to perform more specialized tasks. Try to stick to a carbide bit, if not tungsten, to make sure the piece will perform.
Router cutters can also be very expensive -- more than $40 per bit -- but sets exist where the routers average only to a few dollars per piece. Consider how often you will use the bits when deciding what to buy: brands such as Freud are great, but may not be worth the expense if wood-working is only a hobby. It also isn't a bad idea to invest in better-quality router bits for the types you use most often. By spending a bit more now, the cutter will last you longer.