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Router Bit Types
Woodworking has come a long way since the invention of the router and subsequently, router bits. Routers came into use in the early 20th century and have replaced older hand tools such as hammers and chisels used to shape wood. There are many types of router bits to choose from and most have a specific type of use. Some router bits are essential for joinery like when making cabinets and drawers, while others are used strictly for making decorative finishes. Below are the main kinds of router bits and the types of cuts they make in wood.
Flush Trim Router Bits: are typically used to make the surface flush or trim with the edge of another material. An example is making a veneer or plastic laminate surface flush with the wood surface underneath. Ideal uses include finishing and repairing countertops and simple trim and cut-off applications.
Raised Panel Router Bits: are for creating a decorative profiled edge on doors such as cabinet doors. Raised panel bits come in vertical and horizontal configurations with vertical being the most popular among cabinetry makers.
Chamfer Router Bits: produce a beveled edge in wood. Chamfer bits can be used for decorative or joinery purposes or simply for easing exposed edges.
Decorative Edging Bits: include round over bits, cove bits, edge beading bits, and ogee bits. Round over bits create a rounded profile over the edge of a work piece. Cove router bits on the other hand are used to cut out a rounded profile from a work piece. Edge beading bits come in a variety of decorative rounded profiles and are used on edges or corners. Ogee bits make an "S" shaped edge or profile in wood with the Roman ogee bit being the most popular among woodworkers.
Molding Router Bits: are just what the name implies - making the decorative finishes for moldings. Some molding router bits have multiple edge forming profiles incorporated conveniently into one bit. Different profile combinations also create custom profiles for unconventional or special requests.
Stile & Rail Router Bits: usually come as a pair and are used to make frames and paneling when manufacturing doors and cabinets. The term "stile and rail" comes from the stile being the vertical profiled edge and the rail being the horizontal edge that meets the stile to form an assembly.
Joinery Router Bits: are used specifically to join one piece of wood to another. Some common names for joinery bits are: finger joint bits, lock miter bits, tongue and grove bits and dovetail bits. Tongue and groove bits are a pair, one bit cuts a groove into the work piece and the other cuts a tongue that fits exactly into the groove of the opposite piece. Dovetail bits are used in conjunction with dovetail jigs to make joints that require no glue or nails to hold the two pieces of wood together. Joinery bits are essential to the cabinet maker.
Rabbeting Router Bits: produce a rabbet or simply a notch in edge of the wood. A rabbet router bit cuts vertically and horizontally at the same time and features a pilot bearing which determines how deeply it will cut into the wood. These bits can also be used for some joinery applications.
Straight Router Bits: are among the most commonly used router bits. Straight router bits can be used for cutoff, grooving, or dado applications. These can also be used for mortising along with countless other applications.