Collecting Router Bits - Where to Start
Great router bit collections rarely come into being all at once; they almost always happen slowly, over time. You pick up the one or two bits you need to complete a project, and then repeat the process for project after project after project until one day, there it is: a truly impressive array of router bits. But if you’ve just picked up your first router, you may want to give yourself a head start with a selection of the bits that come up frequently and universally in woodworking. And out of the many, many router bit types and profiles, there are a few “basic” bits that seem to come in handy more often than others.
Cutting rabbets, dadoes and grooves, and dressing up edges are among the most common router operations. You'll never run out of uses for a few of the basic bits in each of these categories. Rockler offers a money-saving 5 Piece Starter Bit Set that combines three of the most popular edge profiles– round-over, roman ogee, and chamfer – with a variable width piloted rabbeting bit and a 3/4’’ straight bit – ever-useful for plowing dadoes and grooves in preparation for joining the most common thickness of material. The edge profiling bits are in the “medium-sized” range, and will work well for a variety of edge decorating tasks. The adjustable width rabbeting bit, with its five interchangeable sizes of pilot bearings, is essentially five bits in one and will have you ready to cut a variety of common sized rabbets from the get go.
A good flush trimming bit is the other obvious choice for a start-up router bit collection. A flush trim bit uses a pilot bearing to make a guided cut that brings the edges of two pieces of material into perfect alignment (you’ll find no shortage of a need for that). You can use a flush trim bit to make perfectly shaped, smooth-edged curved parts from patterns, to flush-trim laminated parts, and for a variety of other trimming and edge clean-up tasks. We strongly recommend a Shear Cutting Flush Trim Bit for the purpose. The shear bit's angled cutters produce a cleaner slicing cut than typical straight fluted bits. A shear bit does a better job with end grain, and you can trust it to make smooth trim cuts in delicate veneers.
These few bits won’t be “the only bits you ever need,” but they will get you through a surprising number of projects. When you add to your collection with other profiles and more specialized bits, or bits that are appropriate for the router table you've added to your shop, remember that the quality of the carbide used to make the bit, the quality of the pilot bearings, and the manufacturing standards used in making the bit all make a difference. Remember, too, that Rockler Router Bits are manufactured to the highest standards using quality components and a superior grade of carbide and - we think - are an exceptional value. Better still, you can test these claims for yourself - risk free. Every Rockler Router Bit comes with an unconditional lifetime guarantee.