How to Use Router Bits | Beginners Guide

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  April 6, 2022
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Router bits are one of the most important and effective tools to have. It has a high degree of versatility and power that makes it effective for applying basic and complex edge profiles to boards both at home and even commercially.

If you are an experienced woodworker, you will know quite well the number of users that you can put your router bits into. The arrays of woodworking tasks that router bits like these can perform have made it easy to describe as one of the most essential tools to own.

For beginners, the thought of the router bits can become quite daunting. However, we have compiled a well-detailed and comprehensive guide that will help you get started in your craft. This guide will give you the necessary information to make up for your lack of experience and with time, you can also become an experienced woodworker.


This beginner’s guide will cover everything from definition to the maintenance of router bits to types of router bits profiles. It will also include important questions and answers to know about the router before buying a specific type of router bit.

This is an informative and easy-to-read guide to everything you need to know about router bits.

How to Use Router Bits

The best point to start this guide is to begin at the definition of a router. From experience, we have realized that some beginners are not even quite sure what a router is, despite the fact that they hear about it a lot.

Routers are high-speed woodwork rotary tools that come with a collet on the end of the motor shaft. It is this end that various router bits are then connected to the motor.

Router bits, on the other hand, are parts of a router that create an almost limitless number of profiles to the edge of a wood/board.

Types of Router Bits According to Their Profile

There are several types of router bits when you consider everything from shapes to shank sizes to bearing tips. The profile is the technical term used in the field to refer to the shape of the cutting edges. As pointed out above, there are hundreds of router bits (which will be impossible to mention all in this guide). However, here are the most common types that you are likely to come across as a beginner in woodwork.

Straight Router Bits

Straight router bits are the most common type of bits you will find anywhere. It is easy to find and available everywhere. With these, you can make straight cuts into a wooden material to form a groove or a dado. Some people use them to create shafts for embedding decorative parts into your new parts. This function is usually to make the wood/board as a whole more decorative and appealing.

Attaching straight router bits is quite easy; all you need is a pair of wrenches to install and attach them to the router.

Rabbeting Router Bits

Rabbeting router bits are guided by a spinning pilot bearing and intended for cutting shoulders (rabbet). The shoulders/rabbet are usually used to connect or join wooden parts without the use of screws or nails.

Rabbeting bits come in bearings of different diameters; as a result, you need to know which shaft to use with which bearing. This connection is vital to the success of your work. In order to know what makes for the best option and best suits your needs, you may have to experiment with different bearing.       

Flush Trim Router Bits

If you are looking for the evening the edges of certain materials out, you need a flush trim router bits. These router bits are often guided by a pilot bearing that has the same diameter as the cutter. The position of the bearing may be at the tip of the bit or even at the base.

An example of areas that you need to use a flush trim router bits is when the two parts are to be a form of support for one another. Ensure to lubricate the bearings when using this type of router bits.

Chamfer Router Bits   

Chamfer router bits are used for cutting a bevel of a particular angle of a wood/board to either ease or decorate the edges of the surface. These bits are also used for forming beveled-edges that are required for joining multi-sided wooden constructions.

You can use chamfer router bits to create decorative pieces such as multi-sided boxes, waste-baskets and many more.

Edge Forming Router Bits

This is another type of router bits profile used for decorative purposes. These router bits create small but extremely precise cuts and shafts that gives the decorative essence.

Edge forming router bits require a lot of maintenance and expertise in order to use them effectively and properly. This is not recommended for a beginner to use without supervision.    

Multi-profile Router Bits  

Multi-profile router bits are special tools that perform more decorative purposes than any other type of router bits. The cuts created by these bits are more precise and come in different types than the ones created by edge-forming router bits.

You can also use these router bits when trying to reach areas and spots that are hard to reach by other router bits.

Maintenance of Router Bits

There are two major methods of maintaining your router bits; you can choose to clean yourself and send it to a sharpening service, or you can choose to clean and sharpen with diamond paddles yourself.


Sharpening services, will, of course, come at a cost, but possess equipment such as sharpening jig, precision-measuring tools and more complex tools to help make your router bits as sharp as possible. Professional maintenance is also recommended when your router bits need more than just a simple touch-up honing.

 Diamond paddles are simple maintenance tools that you can use for sharpening your router bits right at home. All you have to do is work on the flat radial face of each flute uniformly to make them sharp again. Diamond paddles come in various options such as fine diamond paddles, medium diamond paddles, extra-fine paddles, etc.

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.