I have a router… now what?

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Forum topic by hjt posted 02-27-2013 03:58 AM 1588 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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880 posts in 3194 days

02-27-2013 03:58 AM

Topic tags/keywords: rabbet rabbit routers dado

I recently bought a Bosch router, together with Ryobi’s 20 piece bits set and the Bosch table insert. So my first project is to build a simple router table.

Attached is a sketch of the table top. I’ve cut my 7 X 9 3/8 opening and was about to cut my one inch rabbet to which I would rest and secure the insert. Then, as always, comes my “dear in the headlight” part of the project. (Projects always seem to go so smoothly in my mind… “I know how to do this.” Then poof, reality – “no I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.”)

The set of router bits came with two of rabbet bits. One is 1/4 inch and the other is 3/8 inch. Both have a bearing giving a max cut of 3/8. I played with both bits today on scrap wood. Both cut in the same 3/8 and I could get both to cut down into the wood as far as I wished.
So my first question is, if both bits cut 3/8 in and down as far as I might need… why would I use one bit over the other?

Second question, as you can see in the sketch, I wish to have the rabbet provide a one inch lip for the insert to rest upon. Since the rabbet bits have a limiting bearing, allowing for a max cut of 3/8, how would I get the inch I wish. I’m thinking that I might start the cut with the rabbet bit and finish with a dado bit (have 3 of those up to 1/2 inch) or perhaps do the entire cut from start to finish with the dado.

-- Harold

10 replies so far

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3214 days

#1 posted 02-27-2013 04:09 AM

Harold…use a straight cutting bit with a bearing. The rabbeting bits aren’t intended for wider rabbets.

With the straight bit, set up boards clamped around the perimeter of the 1” rabbet all the way around…or use one board at a time and then set the bit to the right depth. The bearing will run against the boards and the cutter will cut the deepest part of the rabbet.

Alternatively, you can cut out an opening of the exact size on a piece of 1/2” plywood, clamp it to the actual router table, and use it to cut your opening. In fact, many companies actually sell templates for typical plate sizes for people to cut their own lips. One from Rockler is here:

-- jay,

View ~Julie~'s profile


607 posts in 3090 days

#2 posted 02-27-2013 04:14 AM

Routers are the best!
Do you need a full 1” for the opening?
I’m not sure what a dado bit is, I’ll have to look into that.
Use the straight bit with the bearing against boards as Jay (above) suggests.
With a router, you don’t take off too much at once, take a few steps to get the full amount routed out.

-- ~Julie~

View jeff's profile


1083 posts in 3521 days

#3 posted 02-27-2013 04:18 AM

Another on my to do list but there are some videos out there like You Tube ect…

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View hjt's profile


880 posts in 3194 days

#4 posted 02-27-2013 04:28 AM

Jay – thank you. Silly me, I thought the rabbet bit would be used for rabbet cuts! (Refer back to make 2nd paragraph)

Julie – the Ryobi set calls the bit a dado, but I’m beginning to learn it’s also known as a straight bit.

Jeff – I been watching several videos tonight. Two in particular were very interesting. Workshop Addict: is giving aways tools when you view his website. And Greg Paolina is just a great teacher:

-- Harold

View kdc68's profile


2677 posts in 2332 days

#5 posted 02-27-2013 04:47 AM

Julie – hjt – there is such a thing as a dado bit. They call them dado cleanout bits. Work great for flattening a dado in cases where the bottoms aren’t flat or quite deep enough. Here’s a link. But hjt a rabbet bit is not the same as a dado bit. You could use cosmic’s advice and use a bit with a top mounted bearing and a template. Be sure the length of the cutter and the thickness of the template corresponds with the depth of the rabbet you wish to cut. In other words, be sure the bearing will ride along the template at the depth you wish the rabbet to be…...Good luck

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View pintodeluxe's profile


5726 posts in 2869 days

#6 posted 02-27-2013 05:13 AM

I wrap strips of mdf around my router plate to make a rectangle. Screw them together with pocket screws. Make two sides of the rectangle extra long to allow for clamping. Then you can rout the ledge. Finally remove the center portion with the router or jigsaw.

I place two layers of masking tape around the router plate before building the mdf template. That way the recess won’t be too tight.

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

View runswithscissors's profile


2782 posts in 2081 days

#7 posted 02-27-2013 05:19 AM

Rabbet bits can cut wider rabbets than 3/8” by putting on different size bearings. But I don’t think you really need a 1” ledge. 1/2” should be plenty.

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

View hjt's profile


880 posts in 3194 days

#8 posted 02-27-2013 05:37 AM

KDC – Thanks for the info and the web site. Nice looking stuff.

Willie – not sure I follow what you are saying in your first paragraph. But I did pick up on the idea of wrapping the insert with duct tape to prevent if from being too tight and hard to install and remove. Good idea.

-- Harold

View RogerInColorado's profile


321 posts in 2010 days

#9 posted 02-28-2013 12:31 AM

Here’s how I did mine. I centered the router plate on a piece of 1/2 inch (you can use 1/4, but I like the security of the extra rigidity) MDF that is at least six inches bigger in each direction than your plate, to make sure you ultimately have support for your router to ride on the template. I cut four piece of 1/2 inch MDF that were about 3 inches wide and about three inches longer than the router plate. I used the first of the four pieces as a guide along one edge of the plate (being longer than the side, it provides a stop to mount the adjacent piece. Then I used double sided tape to attach one piece of the 3” MDF to the MDF base so that it was against the router plate AND the temporary guide. The I repeated the process around the plate and then lifted the plate out of what I will call the pre-template. It will look weird, with the ends sticking out the way they do, but it works. (This approach eliminates the need to cut the four pieces to the precise length of the router plate). Then I used the pattern bit (top bearing) to route the actual template in the original 1/2 inch MDF using the pre-template as the bearing surface. This eliminates the possibility that something will go wrong and ruin your nice laminate top. It’s good practice and relieves stress).

When that’s done, remove the four pre-template pieces. Drop your router plate into the new template. Your plate radius and the template radius won’t match, but otherwise the plate should be a perfect fit. If it is too tight, it is because you applied too much pressure to the 3” pieces when you pressed them against your router plate. You can sand and file till the fit is satisfactory. Part two is making the radius match the plate. The magic is Bondo. It is a two part automotive body filler but you can get it at your HD and Lowes. Put your template on a sheet of waxed paper. (Bondo does not discriminate what it sticks to) Mix up a batch and press into the corners of your template (without your plate in it). You can save yourself a lot of work if you mark the points at which the router plate and the template mate so that you only apply Bondo where you need it. It’s ok to be messy and use too much, you are going to file and sand away most of it anyway. In an hour or so you can begin to file and sand the patch until you get a perfect match of that radius to your plate radius. Sandpaper wrapped around a dowel helps with keeping a smooth radius.

If you just aren’t satisfied with your new template because the plate is too loose in it, you can apply masking tape to the edge(s) giving you problems and use this template to make a new one. The great thing about this is that MDF is cheap and you can really make sure your have what you want before you use it to cut into your laminate.

Then you use your new template to route the opening for your plate edge into your new table top. This is, of course just for the support edge, you can cut the smaller (all the way through) opening with a jigsaw, it doesn’t have to be pretty. No one will ever see it unless you take the plate out.

View hjt's profile


880 posts in 3194 days

#10 posted 02-28-2013 03:26 AM

Roger thanks – do you hae any photos of your process. A photo is with 1000 words.

-- Harold

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