Efficient method for setting the depth for a roundover bit?

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Forum topic by DrPuk2U posted 05-07-2012 05:14 PM 4040 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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56 posts in 2316 days

05-07-2012 05:14 PM

Topic tags/keywords: routing roundover

I may be missing something or perhaps there is no “easy” way. The problem is that when I am using a roundover bit I find I have to take a piece of scrap and somewhat tediously make a series of trial and error adjustments to get the bit set to the right depth. Perhaps there is no “easy” way and I will get better at homing in on the right depth with time. In the meantime, I have a bunch of scrap with rounded edges. But perhaps there is some nifty way to do it that I simply don’t see.

TIA, Ric

-- Ric, Northern Illinois, "Design thrice, measure twice, cut once... slap forehead, start over"

7 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4242 days

#1 posted 05-07-2012 05:30 PM

There are any number of inexpensive bit depth gauges you can buy. You could create yourself a set of reference scraps so you would know what look results from what depth settings.

Personally, the trial-and-error method works fine for me.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2708 days

#2 posted 05-07-2012 05:38 PM

what’s the big deal? and why test pieces? I start with minimal on the piece I’m working and drop down slowly until I get the profile I’m looking for. Much nicer cut taking small bites and easier on the cutters. I do strictly overhand work so it doesn’t take much time to drop a 1/16 or 1/8 and re-run it.

View BobLang's profile


155 posts in 3424 days

#3 posted 05-07-2012 08:08 PM

Turn the router upside down and place a straightedge across the base, over the opening. Adjust the depth so the the corner of the roundover bit is ever so slightly below the straightedge. When you turn it over to rout for real, that corner will be a hair above the surface of the wood.

-- Bob Lang,

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3092 days

#4 posted 05-07-2012 09:25 PM

I just eyeball down the router plate and make sure that the edge of the bit is just below the surface. A quick pass on a piece of acrap for any needed tweaks (seldom needed) and I’m good to go.

Why do you think that they call it scrap? – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View Loren's profile (online now)


10476 posts in 3671 days

#5 posted 05-07-2012 10:17 PM

You’ll get more consistent roundovers using a small-based router
like a laminate trimmer.

The way most roundover bits are made you can set them so
the corner doesn’t bite and make a shoulder… the corner is
sometimes a little bit obtuse to make this sneaking-up easier. Even
if you do cut a tiny bit too much and make a small shoulder,
it can be whisked off with a plane or a scraper.

View DrPuk2U's profile


56 posts in 2316 days

#6 posted 05-08-2012 01:54 PM

Thanks guys. Great feedback for the newbie. I’ll try it out on some more scrap later this week. And I have a clamp rack on my list, perhaps this weekend though its Mother’s Day….

-- Ric, Northern Illinois, "Design thrice, measure twice, cut once... slap forehead, start over"

View MrRon's profile


4793 posts in 3267 days

#7 posted 05-08-2012 03:56 PM

Trial and error is the best way. I use it all the time whether it is the router or table saw.

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