Jul 202009
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routerbitcase.jpgSometimes you just need to clean out and start over. Could be the refrigerator, the cupboard, the den, the barn, your wood shop, your life. In my case, some of those things do need to be cleaned out, but one thing I have decided to clean out and start over is my collection of router bits. In the past I bought router bits for two reasons: I thought that a proper woodworker ought to have router bits. You can’t be a woodworker without router bits. The second bits I bought were pattern maker bits, the bits with a bearing on the bottom, which I used when trimming sheathing from the window openings when framing a house. Punch a hole in the sheathing and then let the bearing follow the window framing.

The first set of router bits I purchased was from a department store and has about ten basic bits in a cute little plastic box with a removable stand to hold the bits. Not knowing any better, I bought quarter inch diameter shafts with high speed steel (non-carbide) edges. I guess I got what I paid for, but they are not much.

Somewhere along the way I upgraded the router and the new one had two collets to accept quarter inch or half inch router bits. It was soon apparent that those little quarter inch steel router bits were not going to cut it, so to speak, so I started to buy a few new bits as things came up in the shop. I always made sure that any new router bits were half inch shaft and carbide edges. That is pretty much all I buy these days and life is much simpler.
cabinetmaking router bit set
As is typical for many items at Highland, there are not just a few router bits for sale. There are three walls full of all different styles, brands, profiles and sizes of router bits. You can buy sets of router bits to make kitchen cabinets. You can buy sets of router bits to make raised panels. You can buy sets of router bits to make divided light doors. You can buy sets of router bits to make crown molding.
You can buy sets of router bits to make chocolate fudge ice cream. (Well, maybe not.) But Highland Woodworking has a wide selection of router bits in a wide range of prices from several different manufacturers. If you can’t find the router bit you need at Highland, you probably didn’t need it anyway.

  4 Responses to “Router Bits”

  1. Great post. Hope to read a lot more excellent posts in the near future.

  2. Nice story it is sorta like my router bit story, anyway,

    My Porter Cable model 690-2 router with 2 collets 1/2″ & 1/4″ worked fine with either collet now the 1/4″ collett runs out about .0030″ I cannot seem to corect that I got tired of trying so its still a mistery to me.
    Does any one have an answer to this problem?

    • This response was provided by Ed Scent, Highland Woodworking Cardholder since 1995:

      To be certain that run out is the issue, check that the 1/4″ router bit you have installed to measure the run out with is not the culprit. (Use another 1/4″ bit to double check the run out.)

      If your 1/2″ collet nut assembly seems to perform fine and the 1/4″ size is giving you trouble, it would seem to point to the 1/4″ collet and nut assembly as being the issue.

      If your 1/2″ collet nut assembly and a 1/2″ to 1/4″ collet adapter lets you mount your 1/4″ shank router bits in the router with no run out, that helps to build a case against the 1/4″ collet nut assembly as being the problem.

      Since this assembly consists of the collet nut snap ringed to the collet washer, wear and resulting play could be causing the run out. Inspect the nut and collet washer assembly carefully under a strong light. Look for build up resin or crude, a small burr, or hidden debris jammed into the assembly. Wash it in some mineral spirits and a toothbrush and or 0000 steel wool or a scotch brite pad. If you have a tool to remove a snap ring, take it apart for cleaning and inspection. The washer collet should be smooth on the inside and outside with no burrs or build up. If cleaning the assembly doesn’t help, it may be time to replace it

      Also, look into the collet shaft housing on your router to be sure there is no debris or pitch build up down in the tapered socket.

      Find a replacement 1/4″ collet nut assembly here:


      Router Collet adapter:

    • And this response is from Sam Rieder, assistant manager at Highland Woodworking:

      Since the 1/2″ collet runs true, my suggestion would be to replace the 1/4″ collet or, at the very least, check and see that the run out on the 1/4″ collet is consistent regardless of the 1/4″ shank router bit that you are using. The thought being is that if you found the run out using only one router bit, it could very well be the router bit and not the collet.

      Hope this helps,

      Sam Rieder
      Highland Woodworking

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