How to Use Different Router Bits

Wood routers come in simple handheld versions or much larger commercial-grade table models.

Typical Router BitsTypical Router Bits
They are used to cut away holes, grooves, or patterns in all types of wood, plastic, or cabinets. Different router bits are used to create various cutaways, from simple holes to intricate patterns and joints. They are used for basic woodworking, creating stile and rail doors, furniture creation, and many other wood-based projects. While they are fairly simple to use, it does take some practice to become skillful with this tool. After you have learned the basics, it is time to learn how to use different router bits to ensure a successful project.

Apply profiles to edges of wood products using a pilot bit. Pilots bits use ball bearings to maintain a straight line while cutting. They do not require the guide or jig used to create cuts with non-pilot bits.

Minimize the chance of splitting or chipping by using a safety bit. These products are especially useful when working with very expensive or delicate pieces. They offer a guard at the edge of the bit that make them safer to use.

Utilize HSS bits for routering plastic or softer pieces of wood. These HSS (High Speed Steel) bits are relatively inexpensive, but are not as strong as other options.

Use bits with a carbide tip for projects that will take a long time, or for pieces of hardwood. While carbide is more expensive, it will last longer and stand up better on tougher projects.

Cut dovetail grooves using a dovetail bit. Dovetails are commonly used for connecting two pieces of wood, while maintaining a clean appearance.

Install cabinet hardware by using bits made for door pulls or cabinets. These bits can create holes or grooves for installing hardware or pulls.

Things You Will Need

  • Wood router
  • Various bits

About the Author

Emily Beach works in the commercial construction industry in Maryland. She received her LEED accreditation from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2008 and is in the process of working towards an Architectural Hardware Consultant certification from the Door and Hardware Institute. She received a bachelor's degree in economics and management from Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.