Simple Setups for Raised-Panel Router Bits
Raised-panel router bits help you create raised panels for cabinet and passage doors. But the size of these bits -- up to 3-1/2" in diameter -- makes them dangerous in a hand-held router. For safety, you should put raised-panel bits in a variable-speed router mounted to a router table.
But there is one hitch. Most router-table openings measure under 2" in diameter. What do you do when your bit is bigger than the opening in your table? Here, we offer two solutions.
Metal router tables
Make your cuts above
On a metal router table, you may be able to operate a raised-panel bit above the surface of the table. Drop the bit in from the top and lower it until the bottom of the cutter is 1/16-1/8" above the top of the table. The one qualifier is that no more than 1/2" of the shank should be exposed above the collet. Raising the bit too far out of the collet may cause a big bit to vibrate excessively or bend the collet and lead to a dangerous accident.
To prevent your workpiece from sliding under the bit, make a 1/4"-thick tempered hardboard auxiliary surface for the top of your table. Bore a hole in the auxiliary surface about 1/4" larger than the diameter of your bit, and center the hole over the bit as shown in the drawing, below left. Clamp the auxiliary surface to the router table, and add a fence as shown.
Wooden router tables
Best for plunge routers
With many plunge routers you can't raise the collet high enough to position a raised-panel bit above the table safely. If that's the case with your router, you'll need to use a plywood or particleboard router table with a plastic laminate surface and a router-table plate that sits in a rabbeted opening in the top. These plates allow you to set the bottom of the cutters below the surface of the table, as shown in the drawing, below right.
Some plates have doughnut-shaped inserts that pop in and out to more closely match the diameters of various bits. The plate shown in the photo comes from Rousseau Co., 1718 13th St., Clarkston, WA 99403; call 800/635-3416. You also can buy inserts and router accessories from Woodhaven, to 501 West 1st Ave., Davenport, IA 52747; call 800/344-6657.