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Thread: What size rabbet bit do you use most??

  1. #1

    What size rabbet bit do you use most??

    I bought a rabbeting bit on a whim today at Sears while shopping for a washing machine. Its not a huge purchase but on a tight budget I'm trying to make every purchase count. They had 3/8 and 1/2 to choose from. I didn't know what one to get and since I was on a limited budget (hadn't planned on even buying anything when I went in) I only got one. I took the 3/8 but now I'm wondering if I should have bought the 1/2 instead. What would you use the 3/8 rabbet for?? Any specific projects?? Is one more useful than the other??

  2. #2
    Are you saying the depth of cut from the bearing to the outer edge is 3/8" or that the shaft is 3/8"? A 3/8" rabbet goes half the thickness of a 3/4" board edge so I think you did good. Many people only rabbet 1/3 of the board width/thickness so in that case it would actually be a bit deep.
    Happy family, pale applause, each to his revolving doors.

  3. #3
    It's 3/8 from the bearing to the blade tips. When I bought it I was thinking about edge routing on 3/4 thick boards also but that means routing the wood upon its edge instead of lying flat, right?? If I routed it flat then all I'd be doing is rabbeting the board in along the flat side. I was thinking at the time that the bit would be useful for making furniture backing from lauan plywood and rabbeting out the edge for it to sit on. Doing this on the broad side of the board will make the rabbet too deep. Upright on the edge seems like it would be wobbly and best done on the table with a straight bit instead of freehand, so I might have bought a bit I don't really need. Is it really that bad if I routed a 3/8 rabbet for 1/4 inch lauan ply to go into?? I want to say no so I can just use the bit for this and life is easy, but there's part of me that thinks that's the easy way out and not the level of quality I want in my work (although I'm nowhere near that level yet in reality). A 1/4 inch rabbet bit would be ideal but they didn't have that.
    Last edited by Duane Bledsoe; 10-15-2012 at 1:05 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Camas, Wa
    I don't use a rabbit bit with bearing for the very reason you state. To use that 3/8 like you intend, you have to route on edge. I use a 3/4" straight bit and a edge guide. I lay the board flat. Set the bit 3/8 deep. Set the fence for the thickness of the plywood back. Plywood is metric or slightly undersized so a 1/4 or 1/2" rabbit bit would not be perfect either.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Not sure if I'm following you right, but sounds to me like what you really need is an edge guide or better yet....a router table! I use rabbeting bits that come with a full set of bearings so that I can adjust the depth of cut to whatever I need. If I can't get it exact with the bearings I run it on a router table or with an edge guide, or depending on the circumstance with just a straight edge clamped to the piece. Always more than one way to skin a cat!

    good luck,

  6. #6
    I use a 1/2" rabbet the majority of the time. This is usually to create rabbets for 1/2" backs. Using a 1/2" allows me to use nails or even screws if necessary to hold my backs in place. It also leaves less meat to sand flush after I'm done. My advice would be to return the set and wait until you feel comfortable buying a rabbeting set with multiple bearings. I believe my set allows for six different widths.

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