Woodworker's Journal winter-2010, страница 13




Bewildered by Bit Options? Consider Buying Sets

Sometimes too many choices leads to more frustration than convenience. Take router bits, for example. If you already know the bit you need to get a specific job done, you're in the clear. Just find that bit and move on. But what happens if you're building your first bit collection? After thumbing through the pages of a bit catalog, a wave of doubt or even downright despair can set in. There are seemingly zillions of bits to choose from. What bits do you really need?

A router bit catalog is a great place to start. You need to know what your options are and what possibilities exist for down the road. Then, close the catalog and take this simple advice: Buy a packaged variety set of bits. It'll get you up and running fast.

"Starter" bit sets are an excellent value for general routing and a convenient way to ramp up your collection. Most bit manufacturers sell them. The assort

ment may include as few as four on up to several dozen or more joinery and profiling bits organized in a handy storage box. Specific groupings will vary, but they usually come with two or three straight bits of different diameters, three or four edge profiling bits (cove, roundover, ogee, chamfer), a V-groover, dovetail bit and maybe a flush-trim or rabbeting bit. Be sure to buy from a reputable router bit manufacturer.

From the standpoint of utility, a starter set will enable you to carry out a range of router operations, and the set's price is lower than the aggregate cost of buying each bit separately. For many general routing jobs, you'll have all the bits you need.

If your set doesn't include a rabbeting bit, preferably with various sized bearings, buy one. It's essential. Add a flush-trim or pattern bit for template routing jobs. You'll probably use it often.


Boxed sets of router bits are an economical and easy way for a beginner to get started with a new router.

Other Packaging Options

In addition to the "variety pack" of bits, manufacturers also sell sets of the same style but in multiple sizes, such as roundovers, chamfers or straight bits. A collection of straight bits in 1/4", 3/8", 1/2" and 3/4" cutting diameters are a smart subset to own, because you'll be able to handle a range of dadoing, mortising and other joint-cutting operations.

But bit sets don't stop there. There are specialized sets for making cabinet doors, window sashes, inlays, tabletop drop leaves, tongue-and-groove paneling and even passage or entry doors. The market for custom bits continues to grow every year.

Have Fun with Your Routing

Sure, there's plenty to shop for to get started in routing. But, the most important thing is to get your feet wet! Routing will expand your skills while enhancing your projects. It's well

worth the initial cost and effort.


Beyond the basic starter bit collections, manufacturers also offer specialized sets for building cabinet doors, millwork, paneling and various other unique applications where matched sets are necessary.


Winter 2010


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