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Basic Router Bit information:

When should I choose a single flute vs. a double flute bit?

Like a rip blade on a table saw that has fewer teeth, less friction and a faster cut, a single flute bit will do the same.  It cuts faster, has less friction, but leaves a rougher cut.  A double flute bit produces a cleaner finished cut, but creates more friction and subsequently needs a slower feed rate.  If you are rough cutting, like when you mount a sink and want to remove the plug knowing you will go over and profile that edge, a single flute bit is the best because of speed. It also produces less drag and stress on the router.  If the cut is a finish cut, then you will want the double flute and take a little more time to do it right.


How do I know what router bit to use?

The basic rule of thumb is the draft of the router bit should be 4 to 5 degrees more than the draft of the bowl. Certainly 3 degrees is a minimum, but may leave a little glue behind depending upon the quality of the bowl being used and how it was sanded at the factory.


Why can’t I use a 20 degree bit on everything?

It seems to work.  Well, it does work, however, if you are concerned with aesthetics, then it does not work well without a lot of sanding.  The over-cut of the 20 degree bit, on say, a 10 degree drafted bowl, will create a “beak” which should be removed for a decent look.  Otherwise, light catches the area and it does not look right.


What is the appropriate speed for running my sink profiling router bit?  

The life of the bit can be extended by running it at a proper speed. One common mistake is that large cutter bits (usually with an overall diameter of 2-1/8 in.) are run too fast. With a high horse power variable speed router, the bit needs to slow down. Bits of this size should be run at 16,000 RPM. Faster is not better and will generate too much heat. When running on wood too fast, the routers will actually burn the wood. Similarly, running too fast on solid surface can create more sanding, dull the bits too quickly and even shorten the life of the bit and router.


How will I save money using bits?  

That is an easy question to answer.  Most of the bits in the market have been using bearings with the wrong draft compared to the cutter. bits have been specially designed for maximum results.  Working with various sink manufacturers and having run a shop myself routing about 50 bowls a day, I realized very fast that when the bearing was right and the cutter was right, that I could save about 15-20 minutes of sanding PER BOWL!  If I routed 50 bowls x 15 minutes, that is the equivalent of 750 minutes/day, or 12.5 hours, or 1 ½ employees!  At $10/hour, that is $125 PER DAY and one of the fastest paybacks you will see. Efficient routing is critical for an efficient and quality process.


How should I take care of my bits and bearings?

I recommend an oil like Penetro 90 by Schaffer that is penetrating oil, but NOT a solvent based oil that resists speed and friction.  A penetrating oil will help protect the bearings while also keeping the bit clean.  Some people use a 3 in 1 oil, but because solid surface dust is so fine, it will not work as well.  Before each daily use, the bits should be double checked for sharpness, tightness of the bearing screw, bearings that spin freely, and cleanliness.  A quick check daily can save a lot of time and money in damaged products!   Do not neglect care of your router bits!


How many times can I sharpen my bits?  

I usually got three good uses out of a bit.  Remember that because bits are face sharpened, the overall diameter of the bit is reduced by .015”.  After the third sharpening, the bearing will not fit as well slowing down sanding and the carbide will get too thin.


Do you have a sharpening service?  

Yes.  Send them back to me and I will have the factory sharpen the bit for you!  The cost is $20 per bit including the freight back. I do not recommend self-sharpening the bits.  Leave that to a professional.


What is the best way to determine when to sharpen my bit?  

Always run sharp bits.  Dull bits are dangerous to you and your work.  The best way is to use the face of your fingernail.  If it shaves it easily, it is sharp.  Another way is to listen to your cutter when it runs.  If it is loud, it is dull.  Sharp bits are easy on your ears.  Sharp bits also take little effort to use.  Dull bits are very bad on your router.  If it is dull, stop using it, replace or have it sharpened.