Routing with a flip

A bit with a better bite

By Steve Maxwell


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Pattern routing (also called template routing) is a powerful method for duplicating wooden parts quickly and precisely on any router table. But before the appearance of a new design of router bit, there’s been one annoying problem with this otherwise awesome technique-the headache that often shows up when routing curved parts.

For years, regular flush-trim bits had just one bearing. This bearing was designed to follow the outline of a pattern fastened to an oversized workpiece and used to mill the piece to the same shape as the pattern. The single-bearing arrangement sometimes requires you to rout against wood grain when working with curved parts. This practice decreases both the safety of the operation and the smoothness of the results. Until recently, the best you could do was to rout with shallow, slow passes across troublesome areas in an effort to prevent tearout. However, a new double-bearing router bit sidesteps the problem completely.

With one bearing on the shaft and another bearing on the tip, you can flip over parts whenever you encounter contrary wood grain. This action changes the direction of router bit rotation relative to the wood, solving the problem of tearout easily and elegantly. As far as I know, Freud was the first to market with this kind of double-bearing flush-trim bit, but other manufacturers are sure to follow.

This bit promises to revolutionize a novel technique, making it faster, safer and more effective.

For more information, visit or call 800-263-7016.

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