By Jim Heavey
Find ogee bits in a number of different styles and sizes from Bosch, Freud, Whiteside, and others. I've found that price is generally commensurate with quality.

An interesting edge can be the perfect highlight on a prized project. The problem is, quality router bits can be expensive—as much as $50 apiece. Who wants to spend that much on a one-trick pony? Here's the thing: Most router bits can produce at least a couple of different profiles. In this article, I'll show you how you can use an ogee with a fillet to create six different profiles. The one I own runs about $40. Its durable and extremely sharp carbide cutting surfaces contribute to the cost of this near lifetime-lasting bit.

Start by mounting the bit in your table-mounted router, and set your router's speed according to the bit manufacturer's specifications. (I set my router to 18,000 rpm.) The first three profiles are made with the face of the bit's bearing set flush with the table fence, photo below.

Set the bearing flush with the fence. Using a straightedge against the fence face helps to locate the bearing correctly. The bearing should just "kiss" the straightedge.

By adjusting the bit's depth of cut, you can isolate sections of the bit's profile, photo's below.


Full-profile ogee with a fillet. Raise the bit almost completely above the tabletop. This will create a fillet (step), the ogee shape, and a small bottom reveal. This produces a very ornate profile.
Classic ogee profile. Lowering the bit removes the fillet, resulting in a more classic-looking ogee profile. This second profile has less ornamentation than the first but provides a smooth transition from a flat surface.
A simple cove. Lowering the bit until only the bell of the bit's topmost cutters is exposed produces a subtle decorative cut. The radius of this cove is 1⁄4".

To make the next three profiles, you'll need to slide the router fence forward, photos below.


Break the edge. The round-over softens the sharp edges and corners on projects made with splinter-prone woods such as oak or cedar. The radius of this round-over is 1⁄4".
Round-over with a fillet. Raise the bit to expose the fillet again. This round-over with a fillet provides a decorative "shadow line" that nicely sets off the top edge of a project from its side.
Create a beaded profile. Rout a round-over with a fillet along both edges of your board. Test-cut a piece of scrap, adjusting the bit height until the two round-overs meet at the center, forming a perfectly round bead.

Because my memory occasionally lasts only as long as the exercise, I created a storyboard with each of the profiles on the edge, photo below. Of course, if your shop is anything like mine, finding that storyboard when it's needed may be another story.

To instantly recall how you made a profile, keep a storyboard like this one. Mark the bit type and any pertinent details (cutting depth, bit height, etc.) beside each profile.

How fast should you go? Learn how to adjust router bit speeds for better cut quality.