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Tip #21
Choosing A Router Bit

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Power woodworking routers will work as well as the cutting tool that fits into them.

Maybe you just bought the Shopsmith Router Package or took the plunge and invested in the Router Arm and got a portable router that sports a high torque motor. But without a good bit in the chuck, even the best router with the most powerful motor is as handicapped as a hammer without a handle.

Not to worry though! Most of the bits that you can purchase are good when you get them. This is certainly true of the four high-speed steel bits that come in the Shopsmith Mark V Router Package. The problem comes after you've used them for a while.

Look at it this way: a good circular saw blade is a cutter with a large number of cutting edges - 24, 36, even more on a plywood blade. With proper care, it will stay sharp a long, long time. But router bits carry only one to four cutting edges. That means each edge of a router bit does far more work than an individual saw tooth.

Any way you cut it, router bits will lose their keen edge more quickly than a tool that carries more teeth. If you're routing plywood or particle board, the rock hard glue in those materials wears the edge off bits very fast. And if you hit a concealed screw or nail with a router bit, you might as well kiss it good-bye. Used with care, however, you can spruce them up time after time.

Router bits: two basic types
Router bits can be divided into two types: those made of carbide or with carbide tips and those made of one piece of hardened high speed steel.

Continue to Carbide-Tipped Bits

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