Routers vrs. Bits ???

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Forum topic by surfin2 posted 12-20-2009 05:41 AM 1209 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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51276 posts in 3104 days

12-20-2009 05:41 AM

I was watching a woodworking show the other day and I saw a festool 2200 with a straight bit with one cut a piece of mdf in half 1-2-3 no problem… I could tell by watching it wasn’t the majic of tv. today he cut a 3’ dado with a smaller festool 1200/1400 he used a 1/2 bit to cut a 3/4 dado, he went up one side turned it around & cut the rest of the dado? This time there was cuts in the video so it could have the majic of tv. if it wasn’t for the cutsI would say he did it in two passes… can more watts let you do this & not hurt your bits…

-- Rick

4 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3545 days

#1 posted 12-20-2009 05:50 AM

The best bits should not be used to make deep cuts in one pass no mater the router. Routers are used cutting from left to right because of the rotation of the router bit so routing from both ends is not impossible but not typical.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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Dan Lyke

1519 posts in 4093 days

#2 posted 12-20-2009 08:31 AM

A warning on the “left to right”: I got into the habit of cutting right to left on my router table (because the router’s facing up, so that’s reversed on the table). Knew I wanted a groove that ran 1/2” in from the side of my 2” thick wood. Set the fence 1/2” from the 3/4” bit. Cut the first groove no problem, bit rotation pulled the piece hard against the fence, life was good.

Flipped the piece around, started to cut the remainder of the groove when the piece disappeared and there was a loud thump from my left as a dent appeared in the garage door over there.

Right to left on the router table only works if the stock you’re taking off is on the near side of the bit.

Since then I think out all my cuts, where the stock’s coming off, where the fence is relative to that, whether I’m climb cutting or not, rather than just going by rote.

As to cutting MDF, my experience of it is that it mills really cleanly, so if you feed slow enough, yeah, you can cut it all in one pass. The problems I always run into are bit heating and splintering. With the splintering gone, as long as you’re not scorching with your bit you should be fine.

Having said that, I cringe every time I sink a dovetail bit all the way into 1/2” stock, and generally try to take off little teensy nibbles at a time. I’ve been known to cut grooves 1/16” per pass.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 3075 days

#3 posted 12-20-2009 10:45 AM

Jus cuz you CAN don’t always mean you SHOULD :)

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3099 days

#4 posted 12-20-2009 05:20 PM

With good quality spiral bits, much less force is required for the bits to cut, so you shouldn’t have any problems cutting through in a single pass. And it won’t hurt your bits. They should actually last longer. When you make multiple passes, all the wear on the tool is in the same place on the tip. So if you make 3 passes, the tip of the bit has done 3 times as much work as if doing a single pass.

However, depending on material and router power, cutting in multiple passes may be your best option. You’ll usually get a better cut in multiple passes, due to the lower force required. And with a plunge router with multiple depth stops, it’s usually very fast to make multiple passes.

Best thing to do, is do what you’re comfortable doing. Spend some time practicing with scrap, and find what works best for you. That’s usually the safest way to go.

-- Gerry,

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