I wonder if the person who invented the first working wood router, really knew what kind of a versatile tool he was opening up the world to? There have been so many different add-ons, attachments, jigs and bits, not to mention the variety of routers, their features and how they work, the whole thing can be quite daunting for newcomers to woodworking. What's nice about wood routers is you can make things as simple or as complicated as you want to get but everything still comes back to basics which includes the most used router bits.

Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/WLpd3YebeLw

My first router was single speed, half horsepower with a fixed base and took only 1/4" router bits. I still have some of those bit and they were very rudimentary but even then I thought this was an amazing tool and the reason I purchased it was because I could use a round over bit in it and save myself some time while making a better job ... 

Today I don't use that old round over bit but I have 5 or 6 even better quality ones that have replaced it and to this day, that is still probably my most used task with any wood router ... rounding over sharp edges. 

On Selecting Bits
When asked what bits I recommend my answer has always been the same, purchase bits as you need them. That way you will bet the best value for your money and not end up with a glut of bits that you never use. Router bit manufacturers will often package sets of bits together in sets of ... from 5 bits up to 80 bits in a set. Many of the bit sets are very attractively priced but don't be fooled on price/verses quality. When you look closely at the sets of bits you will find very few bits of the kind you would use a lot and many, many bits that you will probably never use.  The ones you will use a lot will wear out quickly or chip and break and you will need to replace them with a better quality bit and the rest of the unused ones will just sit there.  If you visit my Amazon Page, Router Bit Section you will see I do not list ANY router bit sets.
Spend your tool money wisely and buy what you need as you need it.

**** MAKE SURE - if you order bit by mail order, that you select the correct shank size that you need, otherwise it can cost you extra money mailing bits back for exchange.

Roundover Bits
The smallest round over bit has a radius of 1/16" and the largest that I know of has a 1-1/2" radius and in between there is almost any radius you can imagine and in about 1/16" increments. I tend to use the smaller ones most and some of these I have in both 1/2" and 1/4" shank sizes. The 1/8th radius is one of my most used round over bits. 

Roundover Bits

Sometimes called Roman Ogee as this was a favored shape of the Romans as they build their structures, many of which still stand today. The Ogee bit is used as a decorative bit in such things as picture frames, decorative moldings and other edging components used to add a pleasing detail architecture, furniture, boxes and more. Ogee bits come in a variety of decorative patterns and are available in 1/2" and 1/4" shank sizes.

Ogee Bits

Trim bits also come in a variety of sizes and configurations and even some different names but essentially they are all used for trimming. Trim bits will come in both 1/2" and 1/4" shank sizes and will have varying overall diameters from about 1/2" up to about 2".Flush trim bits will also have at least one bearing, either at the tip of the bit or just below the shank and in some cases they will have 2 bears, one in each location. Router bits with the bearing just below the shank are often referred to as "Top Bearing" or "Template" bits to help differentiate them from the lower bearing bits. The idea behind every trim bit is that the bearing is used to ride along a "known" edge while the cutting surface of the bit cuts away any material directly above or below the bearing thus mimicking that "known" edge.  

Rabbeting Bit

Adjustable Rabbeting Bit
Many woodworkers and carpenters prefer using wood router bits for dado and rabbets because they often cut the wood cleaner, with less wood tear-out and finer edges. The adjustable rabbeting bits allow different depths of cut by adjusting the height of the bit in relation to the router base, and by changing the size of the bearing. The smaller bearing will give deeper cuts while larger bearings will give shallower cuts.  Rabbeting bits are available in both 1/4" and 1/2" size shank size. 

Adjustable Rabbeting Bit

Pure Carbide Straight Bits, including Spiral Up and Spiral  Down Bits
There is a wide variety of straight bits available in both 1/4" and 1/2" shank sizes, and with a variety of cutting surface modifications. Straight bits have cutting surfaces that are vertical for things like cutting dado and slots, while spiral bits have curved cutting surfaces that spiral up or down as they are plunged into the wood the difference is in how to affect the wood as they enter and exit. For example, if you were just making holes in wood with a spiral bit you might select a spiral down bit which leaves a clean surface as it enters the wood and a spiral up bit, though it will help lift he wood chips up, will also leave a more ragged hole edge. 

The image shown is of a 1/4" Spiral Up Solid Carbide Bit

Spiral Up and Spiral  Down Bits

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 Copyright Colin Knecht
woodworkweb.com

Spiral Up and Spiral  Down Bits

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