Back to Woodworking Basics: Smart Bit Storage
posted on March 4, 2010 by Ralph Bagnall

You invest a lot of money in your router bits.

Even buying inexpensive ones, the money adds up quick. That's why I hope your bit storage does not look like this!

Keeping the bits loose in a drawer is a recipe for disaster. The fragile cutting edges can be chipped against each other, and extra pieces and parts can be lost. The bits kept in their original packaging will stay together and protected, but to find the bit you want at any given time means pawing through the entire drawer.

I like mounting my bits in small blocks to keep them separate and easily visible in a cabinet. Typically, I use simple blocks that I can cut in batches to safely store my bits. But with profile bits that may require accurate setups, I create sample blocks made from the parts I am working with.

These blocks not only store the bits safely, but provide an instantly available reference for setting up the bit. I always make extra stock to check and fine tune the setup for profile bits, so when the project is complete, I simply cut a small section of the set up stock and drill a hole to hole the shank of the bit.

Getting into this habit is especially useful for bits with multiple profiles that need to mate up, like the Reversible Stile and Rail Bit on the left side of the first photo above. The bit is stored with the set up, so I never need to search for either one. I even do this with the set up blocks that I buy with bits, like the Lock Miter Bit. And many bits come with accessory pieces. Spacers, bearings and the like can be kept with the bit by adding a small pin to hold them in place. There are many good bit storage solutions on the market, and I even use some of them. But being able to see and grab the bit I want at a glance, and then being able to set it up using the block it is sitting in, just makes my woodworking less stressful.

posted on March 4, 2010 by Ralph Bagnall
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Comments

6 thoughts on “Back to Woodworking Basics: Smart Bit Storage”

  • Tom

    This is a very elegant solution to the router bit storage problem, especially since the setup profile is preserved.
    All I would add is some kind of handle, maybe a thin rectangle of clear polycarbonate, along the back side of each block.
    Sticking my hand into a nest of sharp unprotected router bits would leave me with even more scars.

  • Mark Ramaley

    Great idea to store profiles and bits on a block. Like to put my my Rockler bits in small clear storeage containers to protect edges.
    Great article on rolling pins, Ralph; thanks, Mark.

  • Donald A.Montgomery
    Donald A.Montgomery March 6, 2010 at 9:02 am

    This does not answer the problem. Unless the pieces are contained they will get knocked over and dropped. I made a box to fit Rockler's form router bit holder. I used plywood and scrap wood to make the box. So I did not have much invested. But I do have my bits protected.

  • Ralph Bagnall

    I understand your concerns about the bits tipping over, but so far it has not been an issue. In my home shop, the bits are in a cabinet, but in the shop I often work in during the day, they store in a drawer in the router table. Even the big bits have never overturned, even when moving the cabinet around the shop. I've found that 2 1/2" squares are stable enough for any bit, and you can always make them larger if needed.

  • pat

    That makes so much sense. I never thought of that even though I have seen it in stores in the way they sold the sets. Thanks that was the best advice I have had in days.

  • Howard

    Good plan. What I have made block of was UHMW,
    then I use them to set up my work. One block two
    ways to use them.

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What People are Saying:

I have been ordering from Rockler for almost 20 years and have found their products to be very inexpensive and of high quality. Shipping is fast even when an item is back ordered. The best prices I have found anywhere."

- Orval - 08/07/2012
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