Question about router bits...Please help!

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Forum topic by jcalamity posted 07-08-2008 09:50 AM 953 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 3874 days

07-08-2008 09:50 AM

Hi all

I’m new here and new to woodworking…I want to build a table.

I’m looking into router bits right now, and I cam across “ball bearing” and “pilot bearing” router bits. What does this mean? I see it mainly edge router bits. When I asked a friend of mine he said to buy the ball bearing pilot instead of the
“metal bushing”.

None of this makes sense to me at all!! Can anyone help me please?



5 replies so far

View grumpycarp's profile


257 posts in 4010 days

#1 posted 07-08-2008 10:59 AM

A “pilot bearing” bit might be “ball bearing” or “metal bushing”.

With regard to router bits the term to which you inquire generally refers to how the bit itself accommodates the rotation of the cutting edge with regard to a reference surface. It could be a curved or straight edge, like a round or square tabletop. The “bearing” rides along the edge and allows the tool edge to cut its’ profile along same, following any contour or straight it finds. The depth of the cut may be adjusted by various means.

A “bushing bit” is usually smaller in diameter than bearing guided bits and is used in applications where a bearing guided bit will simply not fit due to the inherent size of the pilot bearing.

I think that the confusion you might be experiencing is with the lexicon due to the dual nature of the term “bearing” with regard to your understanding of router bits. It is both expressed (and sized) as a noun but is visualized as verb. The (nominitive) bearing, the part that accommodates the rotation of the bit and allowing it follow a path, is (verb) bearing on the work.

As regards a bearing guided bit, not all are “ball bearing”. Not all are “bushing bearing”. But all “bear” on an edge. A ball bearing bit uses, well, . . ball bearings and a description of this is well within googling reach. Likewise bushing bearings. Bush bearings are very simple and generate a lot of heat and as such have limited application in fine woodworking (some would say the same about routers, but not me).

There is a ton of information and opinion on this site and others regarding this topic. Good luck in your project and welcome to Lumberjocks..

View jcalamity's profile


5 posts in 3874 days

#2 posted 07-08-2008 11:28 AM

Thank you kindly for the explanation!

View Taigert's profile


593 posts in 4105 days

#3 posted 07-08-2008 11:46 AM

Grupy covered in pretty well.
Quick question, I noticed you said you were new to woodworking? At table is a good sized project to start out on. there can be quite a bit involved to it depending on what you have in mind. There is the joinery to start with, and how to accomidate the wood movement. Wood is always in motion, it changes as it’s enviroment change’s. If it’s raining out or if it’s hot dry day, the wood will react. If this is what you have in mind there are a number of books that I would suggest reading first. With the cost of wood it can get expensive to learn by your mistakes. Let me know if I can be of any help.

-- Taigert - Milan, IN

View jcalamity's profile


5 posts in 3874 days

#4 posted 07-08-2008 12:35 PM

Thanks Ed,

The table I want to build is fairly small, I want it for my laptop, when I sit on the couch or work on my bed. Kind of like a a tray table I guess…

What type of wood would you recommend for this?

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4150 days

#5 posted 07-08-2008 03:17 PM

Check this site out for lots of good router information.
I buy most of my bits and have had good service from them (bits and shipping) plus they have free shipping.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

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