newbie handheld router question

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Forum topic by bester posted 02-29-2016 07:23 PM 628 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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25 posts in 2453 days

02-29-2016 07:23 PM

New to the router. I need to cut some 1/2” and 3/4” rabbets in MDF. I have been shopping bit sets that come with different bearings but it seems like they all stop at 1/2”. What am I missing here? Do you use a straight bit for 3/4” rabbets?

8 replies so far

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1692 days

#1 posted 02-29-2016 07:43 PM

Rip the big rabbet on the saw.


-- Madmark -

View bester's profile


25 posts in 2453 days

#2 posted 02-29-2016 07:46 PM

Ok. I have a contractor TS and the pieces are pretty long but I think I can make it work

View pintodeluxe's profile


5817 posts in 3052 days

#3 posted 02-29-2016 07:50 PM

Either a dado blade at the TS, or else a straight bit and edge guide on your handheld router should work.
If it’s a through rabbet I prefer the dado blade. For stopped rabbets I tend to favor the router.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View bester's profile


25 posts in 2453 days

#4 posted 02-29-2016 07:54 PM


View runswithscissors's profile


2928 posts in 2264 days

#5 posted 02-29-2016 11:48 PM

The bit sets I’ve seen all have 1/4” shanks, which is probably why you aren’t seeing bigger bits. Of course, if that’s all your router can use, then that’s what you have to put up with. But I would also say that I prefer to buy my bits one or two at a time for specific needs. Sets often include bits that you end up never using.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1159 days

#6 posted 03-01-2016 02:08 AM


MLCS sells straight and flush trim/pattern router bits with various diameters. For example, the largest diameter for a straight bit with a ¼” shank is ¾”, with a ½” shank is 2”.

Their straight bits are at:

and their flush trim and pattern bits are at:

If the sizes of the work pieces are manageable and the through rabbet does not need to be absolutely smooth, I too would use the dado set and the table saw. Otherwise I would use the handheld router.

View McFly's profile


273 posts in 1266 days

#7 posted 03-06-2016 06:57 PM

If you’re dead set on using the router for the 3/4” rabbet, but only have a 1/2” bit, you could mark it out and make multiple passes at it by using a straightedge clamped to the piece as a guide.

Probably easier to just use the tablesaw with a dado blades set.

View MrRon's profile


5270 posts in 3482 days

#8 posted 03-07-2016 05:38 PM

I don’t know how deep a rabbet you want to cut, but MDF is not very strong as a rabbeted joint. MDF has a tempered surface on either side. After rabbeting, you remove one tempered side, leaving a much weakened other side. Think of thin sheets of plywood with a foam core; remove one sheet and you have left a single sheet, free to bend or flex. I have tried doing this with MDF and as long as you don’t stress the joint, it survives, but any stress and it will fail.

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