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12 Essential Router Bit Profiles Every Woodworker Should Know

12 Essential Router Bit Profiles Every Woodworker Should Know

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Router bits are indispensable components that attach to a router tool, primarily used for cutting and shaping wood. Router bits come in a multitude of sizes and profiles that allow woodworkers to create a wide range of complex patterns and functional cuts. The router, a pivotal power tool for woodworkers, excels in shaping wood for home decor and furniture. These tools also referred to as router bits or cutters, are available in many types, including round over, round nose, rabbeting, dovetail, tongue and groove, bead, flush trim, raised panel, rail and stile, lock miter, chamfer, keyhole, straight, etc.

The profile of a router bit often appears to be the inverse of the cut it leaves behind, making it essential to carefully select the right bit for your desired shape. Understanding these essential profiles can significantly enhance your woodworking projects, providing both decorative and structural benefits. In this article, we will delve into the 12 essential router bit profiles, explaining their specific uses, benefits, and the unique cuts they produce.

Router Bit Profiles

Router Bits for Decorative Profiles

Ogee router bit


The Ogee router bit is one of the most common and versatile tools to create decorative edges in woodworking. This profile features a concave arc at the top and a convex arc at the bottom, forming a leaning S-shaped profile. There are a few variations of it, with points in the middle or shoulders on the edge. Some variations of the Ogee profile may contain additional details such as fillets or beads, further enhancing the decorative effect. The Ogee profile is often used to add decorative touches to woodworking projects, such as table edges, door edges, picture frame edges, tabletops, crown molding, and legs, giving furniture pieces a refined and classic appearance.

Round nose router bit

round nose

A round nose bit, also known as a core box bit, is a specialized cutting tool used in woodworking to create a rounded, semi-circular cutting edge in various materials. The unique U-shaped profile it creates can enhance the decorative purpose and functionality of furniture. The round nose bit is commonly used for decorative details on furniture, cabinetry, molding, trim, or other woodworking projects.

Corner round router bit (Round over router bit)


A roundover bit, also known as a corner round bit or quarter-round bit, is an essential edge-forming tool in woodworking. This bit is designed to round an edge to a given radius, creating a smooth, convex profile. When a smaller pilot bearing is used, the bit can create a secondary shoulder that adds a small lip to the radius ends like a beading bit.  

Chamfer router bit


The chamfer router bit is designed to cut a beveled or chamfered edge on the square edge of a workpiece, typically at a 45-degree angle. While the terms 'bevel' and 'chamfer' are often used interchangeably, they are different. A bevel refers to a slanted edge that runs the full length of the workpiece, while a chamfer is a beveled edge that only affects a portion of the edge.

Cove router bit


The cove router bit, as the name suggests, is designed to create a concave, curved profile on the edge of your workpiece. A cove router bit's profile is characterized by one or more concave radii that combine to create a unique fluted edge. Unlike a roundover bit that produces a convex profile, a cove bit carves out a concave shape, resulting in a smooth, inward curve.

Beading router bit


A beading bit is a type of specialty router bit used to give wooden pieces a decorative edge profile. The profile of a beading router bit features one or more convex, rounded beads combined with square shoulders. It resembles a roundover bit, which has a rounded edge as well. However, the main distinction is that a beading bit additionally cuts a small, square shoulder on the top and bottom of the rounded component. This produces a profile that is more intricate and visually appealing than the continuous, smooth curve that a roundover bit produces.

Router bits for joinery

Straight (dado) router bit


A straight router bit has a straightforward profile, it consists of a cylindrical body with parallel cutting edges. This design allows the bit to create flat-bottomed, square-sided grooves, dadoes, and rabbets with clean, squared edges. A dado is a square channel cut into the middle of a piece of stock. Dadoes can be cut using specialized saw blades on a table saw, but a router fitted with a straight-cutting bit is a more flexible alternative. The cutting edges of the bit are typically made from carbide or high-speed steel (HSS), providing the sharpness and durability necessary for precise cuts.

Dovetail router bit


Dovetail bits are crucial in woodworking for crafting the interlocking joints that are used extensively in cabinetry, drawer construction, and fine furniture. The profile of a dovetail bit features a flat bottom with angled sides that widen at the base, creating a trapezoidal shape. Because of the distinctive design, dovetail joints may be made because the angled sides precisely fit with matching tails to create a strong mechanical bond.

Lock miter bit

45 degree lock miter

The lock miter bit profile is designed to create interlocking joints at right angles, consisting of a series of interlocking angles and notches. Its interlocking profile ensures that workpieces fit together perfectly at right angles, providing ample glue surface for a remarkably strong joint. This complex, multi-angled cutting profile gives the lock miter bit the ability to carve out a miter joint with both a 45-degree miter and an integrated tongue-and-groove connection. Lock miter joints can be used for both inside and outside corners of boxes, cabinets, picture frames, and furniture.

Router Bits for Grooving & Engraving

V-groove router bit

120 degree V-groove

A V-groove bit is a crucial router bit designed to cut V-shaped, precise grooves into a variety of materials, most commonly wood. This type of bit is indispensable for adding decorative elements, making it ideal for creating intricate lettering on signs, performing miter folds, and other ornamental woodworking. V-groove bits are available with different cutter angles, such as 45, 60, 90, and 120 degrees. This variety allows for flexibility in the design and appearance of the grooves.

Router Bits for Door Making

Raised panel bit

raised panel

Raised panel bits are used primarily in cabinetmaking and furniture construction to create decorative and functional panels for doors and other applications. They are used with the stile and rail bits to produce a profiled edge on the door panels that fit into the stiles and rails of a frame. Raised panel bits are available in a variety of profiles, including round over, Ogee, bevel, cove, and more, each profile gives a distinct decorative edge to the panel. They come in two main configurations: horizontal and vertical. Horizontal raised panel bits create a raised profile running along the long edge of a panel, such as in a cabinet door. Vertical raised panel bits cut the raised profile along the short edges, as would be used in a drawer front.

Router Bits for Other Work

Rabbeting router bit


A rabbeting bit is a specialized type of router bit designed specifically for cutting a rectangular rabbet (a stepped recess) along the edge of a piece of stock. Unlike other methods, such as using a table saw with a dado blade or a straight-cutting router bit, rabbeting bits are uniquely equipped to follow the edge of the material accurately. The ability to adjust the depth of the rabbet with interchangeable bearings ensures precise and clean cuts, resulting in stronger and tight-fitting joints.

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