Edge Profiling With Bearing Guided Bits

bearing guided router bitsThis style of router bits are the work horse of the machine. Each bit has a cutting edge and a bearing to guide the cutter along the edge of your work piece making them extremely easy and safe to use.

The pattern you create is controlled by of course the pattern of the cutter but also the size of the bearing and the depth of cut but at the end of the day , they all do the same job.. they create a pattern of some sort along the edge of your work piece.

If you're a beginner and just learning how to use a router, this is a great place to start. Cut out plaques for garden signs and wall clocks and play with various profiled bearing guided bits until you feel pretty comfortable with the concept.

flush trimming with a bearing router bitEdge Trimming: with Flush Bearing Bits:

router bits: flush trimmingTechnically this is really just a specialized form of a bearing bit, but because it is used so extensively in the industry I'll give it, its own space.

Why? In cabinet making, one of the first things that gets taught in learning how to use a wood router is how to add solid wood edging to the front of the interior shelves. You start by gluing thin strips of solid wood to the edge of a plywood shelf, then use this bit to trim the wood edging flush with the face of the plywood.

The same technique is used for making your own countertops with melamine or formica.

It is also used in the pattern making industry. Say you want to make 50 wooden plaques all the same size and all the same shape. You'd start by making a "master" template, then attach it to the back of your "blanks". Use a flush trimming bits with its bearing following along the edge of the "master template" to reproduce and endless number of duplicates.

rabbeting with a router bit Edge Grooves for Joinery (Rabbeting)

rabbeting router bitsAgain this is just another form of bearing guided router bit, with a very special application used extensively in cabinet and drawer making... or basic joinery for small boxes.

The cutter is offset from the bearing guide allowing you to cut further into your edge to create a groove. Changing the bearing size, changes the size of the groove.

In learning how to use your router for basic joinery, this is a great technique to learn as it produces very reliable and reproducible results. Once the bit depth and bearing size is chosen every "rabbets" produced with that set up will be exactly the same size.


Well you get the idea. Bearing guided router bits are really that simple and when you are first learning how to use a router, simple is good. It gives you time to get the feel of your machine and its power without having to worry too much about controlling its direction of travel :)

Now lets look at a few other tasks that require a little more set up to use when the router bit doesn't have a bearing..

Dadoes & Dovetails >>