Need advice on router accessories for new router

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Forum topic by kanihoncho posted 01-04-2010 07:57 PM 1423 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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60 posts in 3314 days

01-04-2010 07:57 PM

I just purchased a Milwaukee 5616-24 multibase router and now need to buy some bits. I will purchase a straight and rabbet to create a broom closet with rabbited edges and a dado for shelves. I have used a router a little in the past but i will be doing everything the safe way. I picked up Woodworking with the Router: Professional Router Techniques and Jigs Any Woodworker Can Use by Bill Hylton. I have seen some great bit suppliers listed on this site.

My question is this: I’m not really sure how bearings are used and if should I buy some. Are they used as spacers, guides, both? Are they used with certain bits only?


6 replies so far

View cliffton's profile


117 posts in 3322 days

#1 posted 01-04-2010 08:21 PM

I have been doing allot of router work lately and have found that your 6 basic bits are your 1/4 round, 3/8 cove, roman ogee, 1/4 straight, 1/2 straight, 3/8 V groove. You can do so many complex shapes with just those bits that its pretty astounding. Bearings are used to guide the bit along a area that you dont want cut. Like when using a 1/4 round bit it should have a bearing on the bottom to allow you to guide the bit along the edge and make it rounded without digging into the wood. Or like a bowl/platter bit will have the bearing on the top that will allow you to guide the bit along the template so that your bowl comes out perfect.


View TheDane's profile


5577 posts in 3904 days

#2 posted 01-04-2010 09:13 PM

In my experience, any bit that is designed to be used with a bearing comes with one already installed. My rabbeting bit came with 3 bearings, as did the pattern and flush-trim bits I have.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View kanihoncho's profile


60 posts in 3314 days

#3 posted 01-04-2010 09:51 PM

I need to rabbet the sides, top and bottom of my case for the back. I’m using 3/4” finish birch ply (maybe the back should be a different or thinner material?), what size rabbet bit should I get? I’m not familiar with the cuts that are possible given the bearing sets.

I also need to create a dado for a shelf that is 3/4” thick. Would I purchase a a straight bit bit of a certain width and also bearings to give me some flexibility.

I don’t have enough experience with bits & bearings and i would like to make an informed decision. I don’t like to buy entry level only to find out after awhile that I’ve outgrown it. I like to buy good quality items that provide flexibilty.

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3473 days

#4 posted 01-04-2010 11:10 PM

Rabbeting bits usually come with a bearing, or interchangeable bearing set. My bit came as a set with 6 different size bearings.

Flush trim, and pattern routing bits also usually have bearings on them…

If you have the $$ to invest in it, I would suggest you start out with a large selection bit set like the MLCS 66 piece 1/2” shank bit set item #8373 and before I am accused of it, no I do not work for MLCS… I do own a lot of their bits though… Anyway, a big box of bits is usually cheaper than buying a handful of bits one at a time. There are some specialty bits you will end up buying piecemeal, but I found that I use almost all of my set. I would be scared to think what they would cost one at a time…

Other things you are going to want are an edge guide, circle cutting jig, and something I found recently, Rockler Bench Cookies. They look like a marketing gimmick, but they sure do work well… I think you might be able to do the same thing with some scrap wood and pieces of a router mat though… Or better yet, the rubberized shelf liner stuff from WalMart (Same stuff as a router mat…).

For the dado you want to cut, you need to make certain that you are actually fitting 3/4” stock in there. If it is plywood, it is most likely undersized. More $$ there for a set of Plywood straight cutting bits made for the purpose….

If you notice, I have suggested MLCS a couple of times here. I have MLCS, Rockler, Freud, and Skil bits… Now we aren’t going to address the Skil because you can take a guess at the quality of those… BUT… The MLCS are every bit as good, if not better than my Rockler bits… And a fraction of the cost of Freud. (The Freud Triple Wings are fantastic bits, just out of my price range by a good margin…)

You might want to consider a stack dado set for your table saw instead of a router bit. I have both set ups, and prefer the stack dado. It gives me far more control over the width of the cut…

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View Glen's profile


9 posts in 3305 days

#5 posted 01-04-2010 11:53 PM

You have anumber of different questions here so let’s start with the thickness of the back:

There is usually no need to have the back of a case 3/4” thick. If the case is freestanding then you can usually use 1/4” or 3/8” for the back. If the case is to be hung and you want to use the back to attach the case then you should use a 3/8” or 1/2” back depending on the weight to be supported. A rabbitting set will give you the cutter with a number of bearings to allow different cutting depths. Don’t skimp on the cost of bits as you usually get what you pay for.

The second issue is your shelf. Is the wood actually 3/4” thick? Most plywood is slightly under the listed size and you are better off using a 1/2” bit (pattern cutting) and making 2 passes to get the right size of dado. If you are using solid wood be sure to take that thickness into account also. 1” wood is usually about 3/4” thick BEFORE final planeing and sanding. You can buy bits to match plywood thickness but you will find more uses for a bit that can do several differnt jobs.

View TheDane's profile


5577 posts in 3904 days

#6 posted 01-04-2010 11:56 PM

dbhost is right—I have the MLCS 45 piece set and have been very happy with it (and MLCS customer service when I broke one!).

Reading over the posts in this thread, I think you are overly concerned about bearings.

Focus on the job you want to do, and figure out what bit (or combination of bits if you are doing profiles) is most appropriate to that task. If the bit requires a bearing, the manufacturer should supply one. I have never purchased a bearing for a router bit.

One of the WoodSmith Shop episodes (Season 2, Episode 207) dealt with router bits and had a companion PDF file that described how to do 17 profiles with 3 router bits. I don’t have the PDF handy, but if you go to and browse the episodes you should be able to find it.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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