Here are some key terms you'll want to know in selecting the right router bit for your project.
Profile: The shape of the bit's edge and the contour of the resulting cut. Common profiles include:
- Straight bits make straight cuts such as dadoes and grooves.
- Rabbeting bits cut a notch along the edge of a workpiece.
- Flush-trim bits trim the edge of one workpiece to match the edge of another.
- Chamfer bits cut a bevel on the edge of a workpiece. Round-over bits soften the edge of a workpiece. They come in different radiuses.
- Beading bits cut a rounded decorative edge.
- Molding bits combine edge-forming profiles into one bit.
- Specialty bits – such as dovetail, stile-and-rail, and panel-raising bits – are used to do specific tasks.
Shank: The part of the bit that is secured in the router. The two most common shank sizes are 1/4" and 1/2".
Pilot bearing: On some router bits, the free-rotating metal wheel above or below the cutter that runs along the workpiece edge, acting as a guide.
HSS: High-speed steel.
Carbide: Material often used to make cutting tips on router bits. It's harder than steel and holds an edge longer.