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View rossn's profile

Which router bits to buy at 1/4" shank?

by rossn
posted 12-20-2018 01:31 AM


15 replies so far

View northy185's profile

northy185

9 posts in 194 days


#1 posted 12-20-2018 02:16 AM

I’m also here for the tips, but I’ll tell you what I did, based on something I read. I bought a cheap set of Ryobi 1/4” bits. As I’m discovering a need for a particular bit, I purchase it in the size that makes sense. For example, I don’t see myself using a flush trim bit in 1/4”, so I purchased that in 1/2”.

Time for me to sit back, eat some popcorn, and wait for the experts to chime in!

View Walker's profile

Walker

159 posts in 866 days


#2 posted 12-20-2018 03:53 AM

I have that 1617 too. I prefer the 1/2” shank bits, however I did buy one 1/4” bit for it. It’s a 1/16” diameter straight bit, which I use for routing out inlay’s. I bought a collet reducer to use with it, before I remembered that somewhere I have the 1/4” collet that came with the router. To be honest, I’ve never changed the collet and the reducer does fine with such a small bit. Even in such a large router, it’s very easy to control the 1/16” bit.

I’d say a small roundover bit would be good to have in 1/4” shank if you’re going to get a trim router. Nice to use on large projects that are already assembled.

-- ~Walker

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

2869 posts in 968 days


#3 posted 12-20-2018 04:05 AM

Yeah. I mostly go 1/2 shank as well. Shear strength is much better, and if you snap off a few 1/4 shanks you’ll see my point. I guess I am heavy handed, because I have snapped off more than a few 1/4” bits.

Generally if I need a bit for my palm router I am forced out of 1/2” shank, but for heavier hand held to anything on a router table I go 1/2”

-- Think safe, be safe

View Rich's profile

Rich

4493 posts in 983 days


#4 posted 12-20-2018 04:52 AM


Yeah. I mostly go 1/2 shank as well. Shear strength is much better, and if you snap off a few 1/4 shanks you ll see my point. I guess I am heavy handed, because I have snapped off more than a few 1/4” bits.

Generally if I need a bit for my palm router I am forced out of 1/2” shank, but for heavier hand held to anything on a router table I go 1/2”

- therealSteveN

Rubbish. I’ve been using 1/4” shank bits for over 50 years and have never had one break. Yes, 1/2” shanks are sturdier and preferred, but if all you can afford is 1/4”, or if you’re using a palm router that only accepts 1/4”, don’t worry one bit (pun intended) about the shank breaking.

-- Knowledge is not skill. Knowledge plus ten thousand times is skill. -- Shinichi Suzuki

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

1379 posts in 1888 days


#5 posted 12-20-2018 05:01 AM

+1 Quarter inch shank bits can be easy to bend or snap off.
Take more than 1/8 deep cut on 3/4 straight bit with 1/4 shaft and will bend or break as soon as it hits sudden grain change or knot. Good thing cheap versions are sold at the BORG. DAMHIK

IMHO – any bit profile with OD larger than 5/8 inch and with profile cutting depth larger than 3/16 inch; should be used on 1/2 shank.

The key to using 1/4 shank bits safely is managing cut depth. Before I knew better, bought some 1-1.5 inch diameter profile (ogee) bits with 1/4 shanks. After damaging a few bits, learned that as long as I make several less than 1/8 deep passes, they work as expected. Take a big bite, and risk bend/break on 1st hidden pin knot. I mainly use hardwoods. If you only use softwood, then you can get away with larger cut dimensions depending on quality of wood.

My Dewalt 611 typically has 1/8 inch round over installed, as I use it most often softening edges. Commonly also use; spiral up cut (circles/dados/mortise), plus 1/2 inch flush trim & template bits. Still have couple surviving 1+ inch OD 1/4 inch shaft bits, but any that I use more than once a year have been replaced with 1/2 shank versions.

YMMV

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View rossn's profile

rossn

29 posts in 187 days


#6 posted 12-20-2018 05:56 AM

Thanks, everyone—some good info. Originally I was thinking 1/2” shank for all, but then thinking there are probably some typical bits used with a trim router, and that those might be reasonable to buy in 1/4”. For instance the 1/8 roundover is one I has been considering in 1/4” (possibly 1/2)?

Asking a different way: What bits would most commonly be used in a palm/trim router?

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

605 posts in 304 days


#7 posted 12-20-2018 09:47 AM

I have 1/4” shank bits up to 3/4” diameter, and 1/2” shank bits 1/2” thru 3 1/2” diameter. The bits 1/2” through 3/4” diameter, the shank I get depends on the purpose of the bit. I have not had a issue with any of the 1/4” shank bits I purchased. Most of my bits are Whiteside or Freud.

View Luthierman's profile

Luthierman

222 posts in 1481 days


#8 posted 12-20-2018 11:45 AM

At work I use several routers, some which never change bit setup. My trim routers always have laminate flush trim bits, micro round-overs, very short top bearing bits for making mortises deeper or to clean a dado, and longer flush trim bits. Everything else I use a bigger router and 1/2 inch shank. I wouldn’t recommend using a 1/4 in shank version of anything if it removes lots of material. They will wander right out of the collet. I speak from experience here. Its just not worth saving a few dollars to potentially ruin your work piece. I like the insurance that 1/2 bits provide.

-- Jesse, West Lafayette, Indiana

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

5414 posts in 2745 days


#9 posted 12-20-2018 02:19 PM

I’d get a 1/8” corner round, 1/4” corner round, chamfer bit, and an 1/4” upcut spiral bit.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Robert's profile

Robert

3403 posts in 1874 days


#10 posted 12-20-2018 03:46 PM

As for breaking off bits, I’m with Rich. I’ve been ww’ing for >30 years and its never happened to me. I have had bits come loose out of the collet though.

That said, abuse a tool or not use it correctly and it will eventually fail. Plus its dangerous.

Generally speaking if a bit comes in a 1/4” shank then its OK. Corner profile bits (chamfer, roundover, etc), flush trim and small dado bits do very well in a compact router. If you’re looking for a compact router, I heartily recommend the DeWalt DWP611.

Heavy duty bits that take off a lot of material or have long cutting edges will in 1/2” shanks.

I think the most important thing about router bits is to buy good ones. The cheap sets will always go dull faster due to cheap carbide and end up being used past their due date to be tossed in the trash. A dull bit is a dangerous bit.

Brands I recommend are CMT, Whiteside, or Amana.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View trhoppe's profile

trhoppe

9 posts in 204 days


#11 posted 12-20-2018 03:51 PM

1) Buy this giant 1/4” set: https://www.amazon.com/Router-Storage-Stalwart-Woodworking-Improvement/dp/B000X47YDE

2) As you use them and they dull, throw the dull one away, and buy a really nice version of the same bit, reuse the case.

This way you have a nice case, a set of random ass bits that you might use once, and then have really nice versions of the ones you use a lot

View SMP's profile

SMP

1058 posts in 299 days


#12 posted 12-20-2018 04:15 PM


Yeah. I mostly go 1/2 shank as well. Shear strength is much better, and if you snap off a few 1/4 shanks you ll see my point. I guess I am heavy handed, because I have snapped off more than a few 1/4” bits.

Generally if I need a bit for my palm router I am forced out of 1/2” shank, but for heavier hand held to anything on a router table I go 1/2”

- therealSteveN

Rubbish. I ve been using 1/4” shank bits for over 50 years and have never had one break. Yes, 1/2” shanks are sturdier and preferred, but if all you can afford is 1/4”, or if you re using a palm router that only accepts 1/4”, don t worry one bit (pun intended) about the shank breaking.

- Rich

Same, have never broken a 1/4” bit in the past 30ish years. And I have bought some dirt cheap ones, like Skil, and whatever brand that Costco had on special. I’ve burnt up numerous cheap bits, and ruined profiles with nails. But nothing to do with shank size.

As for the OP, only thing I can think of without knowing what you plan on doing is to get a couple, straight flush trim bits. Personally I buy them as needed, but I tend to use both top bearing and bottom bearing flush trimmers from time to time.

View rossn's profile

rossn

29 posts in 187 days


#13 posted 12-20-2018 05:39 PM

Thanks, all! Good info…

I am planning on buying any needed bits in 1/2”, except those that I think are safe and likely to be used in a smaller router. My initial purchase was going to be a small set of ‘foundation’ bits:
1/8 & 1/4 roundover
45deg chamfer
flush trim
straight (open to ideas on most commonly used sizes, but thinking 1/4)
spiral (upcut and/or downcut in 3/8” or 1/2”)
multi-rabbet

I was thinking I’d get the 1/8 (and maybe the 1/4) roundover, possibly the flush trim, and maybe a small straight bit in 1/4” shank, and the rest in 1/2”.

Sounds like the chamfer may also be recommended in the 1/4” shaft for future use in a palm router.

thoughts were the 1/8” and possibly the 1/4” roundover bits that I was going to order, along with maybe a straight bit or two and

View WoodenDreams's profile

WoodenDreams

605 posts in 304 days


#14 posted 12-21-2018 04:54 AM

The bits I use primarily but not in order is: 1/4” straight, 3/4” straight, 1/4” cove w/bearing, 3/8” flush, 5/32” ogee fillet, Multi rabbit set- Whiteside #1955 w/ 1/2 shank, oval bull nose w/ 3/4” bead opening, 3/4” locking miter, 3/4” classical round bottom, large raised panel bit, stile & rail bits. The rest of my bits I either used once or twice, or not at all. I have 100 bits, some are doubles of what I use most.

View rossn's profile

rossn

29 posts in 187 days


#15 posted 01-01-2019 01:47 PM

Thanks, WoodenDreams

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