Vertical or flat raised panel bit for router?

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Forum topic by Neville posted 10-24-2011 05:13 AM 3115 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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29 posts in 2474 days

10-24-2011 05:13 AM

Topic tags/keywords: router router bits

Hi all,

I am making a bed for my daughter (my first “real” project) and part of the design has raised panels in the headboard and footboard. I have been looking at raised panel bits on Lee Valley, and they have both vertical and horizontal panel raising bits.

The literature on site says the advantage of the vertical ones are that they are safer to use, as they have a smaller diameter bits, but I am thinking that manhandling a large panel vertically is a lot less safe and accurate than having it lay flat. I have a fairly large router table and a 3hp Milwaukee router, so no problem running the flat ones, although I may have to adjust the plate the router is fixed to (it is a homemade acrylic plate with a relatively small hole).

Any thoughts?


-- Neville, Calgary AB

12 replies so far

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3308 days

#1 posted 10-24-2011 05:30 AM

I have never used a vertical panel raising bit but have used horizontal panel bits up to 3” for years and have never had a problem. I believe horizontal bits would be safer because as you mentioned, I feel more comfortable with the panel laying flat.

View jcv's profile


9 posts in 2446 days

#2 posted 10-24-2011 06:09 AM

I have used both vertical and horizontal panel raising bits and I agree the later seems to be more safe. It is much easier and more natural to keep the panel stable laying flat.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2971 days

#3 posted 10-24-2011 06:17 AM

If I had my router table finished with the capability to mount my router horizontally, I would prefer the vertical type bit. But in either case, like the others said, the panel itself needs to be laying flat.

You do have to run the big 3” type bits at a lower speed.

View knotscott's profile


8015 posts in 3375 days

#4 posted 10-24-2011 12:27 PM

The vertical bits are easier on the router motor, but I’ve found them to be more difficult to use because it can be hard to hold the workpiece vertically on a long pass, whereas the workpiece sits flat on the router table using a horizontal bit. You’ve got plenty of power, so I’d go with the horizonal panel raiser.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10479 posts in 3428 days

#5 posted 10-24-2011 12:43 PM

I can only second the other posters’ comments. Horizontal is safer and, in my experience, easier. Slow is good and I use multiple passes for cleaner cuts.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Kjuly's profile


308 posts in 3285 days

#6 posted 10-24-2011 12:50 PM

Hello Neville,
The vertical bits are limited to square panels. If you want to make a arched,cathedral or crowned panel, you would use the horizontal bit because it has a bearing to follow the shape of the panel.

-- Keith, Charlotte, MI

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3744 days

#7 posted 10-24-2011 01:31 PM

The vertical bits are best used in a horizontal router. I don’t ever make raised panels, until recently, when commissioned to do a kitchen remodel. I bought a Freud quad cutter bit and they are awesome. A little pricey, but I found that Amazon has good deals on them. I always make multiple passes with large router bits, and this bit was used to cut ash panels. The results were great. No tear out and a very smooth finish cut.

View knotscott's profile


8015 posts in 3375 days

#8 posted 10-24-2011 01:56 PM

The vertical bits are best used in a horizontal router.

That’s an excellent tip Tim.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View mcase's profile


446 posts in 3129 days

#9 posted 10-24-2011 02:28 PM

TIM AND SCOTT + 1. May I add on a very well-made and stable horizontal mounting.

View Neville's profile


29 posts in 2474 days

#10 posted 10-27-2011 04:30 AM

Thanks for all the responses folks – for now I will go with the horizontal bits as the experience here and logic seem to agree. Keith – you have a very good point on the curved panels though – these panels will be square, but I can already see the problem with curved panels.

The design (I will post pictures later) has a curved headboard and footboard with a bead on the edge. I have made the bead with a hand beading tool from Lee Valley, and along the straighter parts it works great but I get a lot of tearout around curves. This is mainly because I am using el cheapo spruce from HD (because it is my first project) – I expect better results when I go to a hardwood. More on that later as well!

Again thanks for all the replies – pictures soon.

-- Neville, Calgary AB

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 3753 days

#11 posted 10-27-2011 05:43 AM

Neville, I have both a horizontal, and a verical table, I prefer to make them on the Horizontal table as the bits are smaller, cheaper, and safer to use.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10401 posts in 3647 days

#12 posted 10-27-2011 03:11 PM

I’ve used both. The verticals are cheaper to be sure. I used them on
a horizontal (actually tilting) router table. Running them on edge with a
fence and featherboards and all that makes them less convenient.
A horizontal router table is well worth owning however. The vertical
bits work well and the small radius makes for a clean cut and ability
to run the router at higher speeds.

The horizontal bits are more costly, can be run in a shaper if you
upgrade, and can do tombstone and other single-plane curved doors.

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