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Router bit question

Mike Fuson

I'm wanting to make a template to route a certain part that has a couple curves in it. The material to be routed will be 1/2" ply. The cut will be all the way through the material. The question is what bit and size would be the best. Straight, solid carbide spiral, upcut or downcut. Also, a small diameter bit would be an easier cut but would generate more heat, larger diameter bit would be a harder cut but would handle the heat better. Any thoughts? Thanks

2/9/16       #2: Router bit question ...
james mcgrew Member

Bit sizing is determined by what your smallest inside radius is, larger fia bits will cut cooler and faster.

it is all about heat, what you are asking for is a chipload, feeds and speeds chart.

I use Southeastern tools a chipload chart is on page F (page H on adobe)

Chuck Hicks is a go to guy. He is speaking at our Aspire camp in May, sorry seats are almost sold out. he is good at taking a cal or an email answer. most all good toll suppliers will do this but I chose Chuck.

Click the link below to download the file included with this post.


2/9/16       #3: Router bit question ...
Chuck Hicks  Member



What I would need to know is your template on the top? If so you need a bit with a bearing on the shank. We have many options. Its hard to go too small as we are limited by the diameter of the bearings we have to work with. Jim is correct, the class he has is May is wonderful, if you can attend, you must. I will attach a link to our catalog for you reference and as always you can give us a call any time.


2/9/16       #4: Router bit question ...
Mike Fuson

Thanks James and Chuck. Let me explain better what I'm wanting to do. The jig I'm wanting to make will use the router base as a guide. So the bit doesn't need a bearing. If this works it would save me a lot of time with a band saw.
Thanks for the catalog Chuck

2/9/16       #5: Router bit question ...
james mcgrew Member

I use CNCs so my first response is from that thinking. Long time since I held a router

2/9/16       #6: Router bit question ...
Chuck Hicks  Member



If you are going to use the base and do not need a bearing, then we have almost an unlimited amount of options in that catalog and yes a spiral would be the best way to go for the cleanest cut and for speed in cutting.

2/9/16       #7: Router bit question ...
dustmaker1 Member

Since portable routers do not have the HP of CNC routers I like to use 2 routers set up for a rough cut and finish cut. The first cut using solid carbide rougher and guide bushing this can cut really fast and keep bit cool. Then finish pass using same template with as large a diameter top bearing straight bit part shape will allow. Bottom line just like on the cnc two passes for better finish and accuracy.

I assume you have a quantity of these to do since with only 1 to a few you would just put a tool in and go for it.

Paul R

2/9/16       #8: Router bit question ...
Bryan C Parks...Cabinet Maker Member

I agree with the Gentleman that responded before me. I would use prob. 1/2 inch up cut spiral good side down of course. but would cut just to the outside of the line to remove most material first. either with band saw or the jig. shortcuts make for more work in woodworking...sorry.

2/9/16       #9: Router bit question ...

I'd go with a spiral. Actually two spirals or one spiral and one roughing. You can use the same template by just using two different diameter bits for rough and finish cut. 1/2" ply should cut easily with a 3hp hand held router. If you do much of this it may be worth using a vacuum fixture. Much faster and you can go all the way around with out stopping.

2/9/16       #10: Router bit question ...
Mike Fuson

Thanks for all the responses. Good info.

2/11/16       #11: Router bit question ...
Dave L

Most of my template routing is done with a 5/8" template bushing and 3/8 - 1/2" bits (1/4" templates, 3HP router).

A single flute 3/8 bit works best for roughing - smaller bits flex too much/don't clear chips well and bigger bits just cause unnecessary load.

With a sturdy setup, a single steady cut can do quite well, e.g. a single pass with a 3/8" two flute on 1/2" ply, but roughing and switching to a slightly bigger bit can be worthwhile.

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