Machinery,  Workshop

Experimenting with router bits

Freud straight bit 1/8 inch
Freud straight bit 1/8 inch

While making my sliding garage screen door I got the idea for making use of some scrollsaw patterns I own. Maybe I could decor the door, you know, dress it up a bit. And it starts with router bits, what to use based on what’s available.




I don’t use my routers much, whether it be freehand or on the quick and dirty table I made some time ago. So that means I don’t have much of a selection in bits, and the bits I do have, well they are years and years old with many miles on them. So for this latest experiment in plywoodworking I decided a quick stop by the local Central Home Improvement store was overdue. I picked up 2 new bits, Freud brand, a 1/8 inch straight bit and a  3/8 inch spiral bit. I’ve never used a spiral bit before so I was interested to see what it could do.

I had already pulled two pieces of plywood from the wood pile, a 1/8 inch mahogany veneered panel and a 1/4 inch construction grade plywood. I figure if I can do well with the el-cheapo wood material, getting my hands on some “good stuff” would be wonderful.


Now for some test cuts.

First up is the 1/8 inch straight, double flute bit (Fig 1). I’ve used this type before so I already had some expectations. I ran the bit through both types of plywood to see:

  • how easy it was to control
  • how much fuzziness would be left (clean cutting)
Freud straight bit 1/8 inch
Fig 1: Freud straight bit 1/8 inch

Cutting through the 1/8 inch luan was easy. Surprisingly the cut out was cleaner underneath. I did have the luan overhanging the benchtop (no flat surface underneath). Now I don’t know if the type and/or orientation of the veneer had anything to do with that.

Fig 2. 1/8" luan top side
Fig 2. 1/8″ luan top side
Fig 3. 1/8" luan underneath
Fig 3. 1/8″ luan underneath

Fig 4 and 5 show the results of cutting through 1/4 inch plywood. Obviously there was a little more resistance in guiding the router as there was twice as much material to cut through. The plywood underside was actually a little cleaner cutting.

Fig 4. 1/4 inch plywood with 1/8" bit
Fig 4. 1/4 inch plywood with 1/8″ bit
Fig 5. underside of 1/4 inch plywood with 1/8" bit
Fig 5. underside of 1/4 inch plywood with 1/8″ bit

Next we move on to the 3/8 inch spiral bit, using the same materials and same methods. For the luan top side (Fig 6) and underside (Fig 7), it appears the underside was very clean.

Fig 6
Fig 6
Fig 7
Fig 7

And the same results for the 1/4 inch plywood (Fig 8 and 9), the underside was cleaner. Surprised to see the top side was very fuzzy. That translates to lots of hand sanding to clean up.

Fig 8 - top side of 1/4" plywood
Fig 8 – top side of 1/4″ plywood
Fig 9 - bottom side of 1/4" plywood
Fig 9 – bottom side of 1/4″ plywood

For this latest experiment in enlarged scrollsaw pattern  making, I chose a fish jumping out of the water and a beaver cutting down a tree. The next post will provide more details on that.

A Newfoundland born Canadian with a life long interest in woodworking, baking and anything else that peaks my curiosity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *