Raised Panel Bit with Back Cutter?

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Forum topic by njnick posted 02-24-2010 07:36 PM 4058 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 2477 days

02-24-2010 07:36 PM

Hi guys – sorry if my question is very basic – I’m a bit green when it comes to cabinetry….

I just took a cabinet making class that included making raised panel doors. Looking to purchase the bits that I need for my router – and am seeing a bunch of them that include back cutters.

My two questions are:

1) is there an advantage over using a bit that has a back cutter over one that does not.
2) if using one – do you start out without the backcutter so you can make multiple passes and the put the back cutter on for the last pass?

Thanks in advance!


8 replies so far

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3313 days

#1 posted 02-24-2010 07:50 PM

I don’t use a back cutter because it is a pretty dangerous bit and requires too many small passes. If you don’t use a back cutter, the front of the raised panel will be slightly proud of the door frame when using a 3/4” thick panel. If you want it flush, then use a 5/8” panel. Personally, I have never understood making a raised panel flush with the front of the door frame. Isn’t that the reason it’s called a raised panel? All of mine are 3/4” thick and sit 1/8” proud. It’s really just personal preference.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 2619 days

#2 posted 02-24-2010 08:11 PM

When you do multiple passes you adjust the fence back, not the bit up and down.

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View njnick's profile


2 posts in 2477 days

#3 posted 02-24-2010 09:19 PM

Thanks for the quick response guys.

Andrew – in the class they taught us to raise the bit to do multiple passes – but now that you refer to moving the fence it’s obviously much easier…..must less adjusting each time. Thanks for saving me hours of adjustments!

View cbMerlin's profile


100 posts in 2842 days

#4 posted 02-24-2010 09:34 PM

Rather than move the fence, it’s much easier to clamp 1/4” pieces of ply on to your fence and remove one at each pass untill you arrive at your final cut. I start with 3 pieces clamped to the fence. I think it’s much easier, at least with the set up I use, to just pop a couple clamps and remove a spacer and reclamp for the next cut, probably 15 seconds between cuts.

-- Sawdust looks better in the garage than cars, explain that to your wife!

View LeeG's profile


40 posts in 2442 days

#5 posted 02-24-2010 10:20 PM

I set the router fence to the correct distance, then clamp blocks behind it to mark the final depth. Then I can just move the fence however far forward I want to make the initial passes. Pretty similar to cbMerlin’s approach, but this keeps the stock against the fence each time and is infinitely adjustable.

-- Lee in Phoenix

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12504 posts in 2578 days

#6 posted 02-24-2010 10:33 PM

I have to say that I have never tried the trick of adding stop blocks and boards to my router fence… Great ideas guys, thanks…
I have a raised panel bit with a back cutter that I just used on the panels for my daughters desk. All I did was move the fence back as I went until I reached the final profile I was looking for. The panels came out perfect. I did not remove the back cutter at all… It did not touch the board until the 3rd pass as the depth of cut increased… one final pass after than and I was done…
Best of Luck with yours…

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

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100 posts in 2842 days

#7 posted 02-24-2010 10:47 PM

Lee, I like your approach as well. My router table and fence is shop made and is build into my assembly table. In my case I don’t think, without a little work, it would work. HOWEVER, I may just be experimenting a little with set-up. The fence I built is several layers of 3/4” MDF with an aluminum angle on the back to attach to the track. The glide surface is 1/4” UHMW attached to the MDF. I think I may be able to create some stops utilizing my current tracks that sort of arch over the clamp downs and create a stop for the fence. If that doesn’t work I think I may add a couple additional tracks to use with/for stops. I don’t think I’ll change the way I currently go about doing raised panels, but I really like the idea of creating a stop for the fence. Thanks for the idea!!!!! I love this site!

-- Sawdust looks better in the garage than cars, explain that to your wife!

View cbMerlin's profile


100 posts in 2842 days

#8 posted 02-24-2010 11:04 PM

As for the back cutter, I like using them. About the only time I take mine off is to use the main bit to profile drawer fronts to match the doors. In terms of your second question, it sure seems like alot of set time to take off the back cutter, run the main profile by raising the bit, put the back cutter back on and the run the panel yet again. I’ll probably get alot of feedback but I’ve had really good luck getting bits from They’re extremely reasonable in price and seem to really back up their product. Had a small nick in a bit that was in a set I got from them once. The set was way over a year old and I just had never used it or even taken that coating stuff off it. I went to use it, peeled that stuff off, and saw the nick. Called them and had the replacement bit in two days! Still have the nicked bit.

-- Sawdust looks better in the garage than cars, explain that to your wife!

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