Storing Router Bits

Decided to keep tackling the router bit storage issue, and altugh it is rough and ready, the functionality is already showing that I’m on the right path.

Firstly I ran some lengths of Tassie Oak through the thicknesser to get each of the pieces a uniform thickness, then through the tablesaw to get each piece sized to match the existing holders that were part of the original Triton display cabinet (these used to be displayed in various retail outlets). (A slot was also cut along each length using the tablesaw which will engage the lip of each shelf in tha cabinet).

Next a 13mm hole was drilled at one end (partial thickness), using the drillpress fence and flip-stops to get consistent hole placement.  I took a countersink to take the edge off the hole, then started mixing and matching the router bits to get similar types together.  The original ideal of one bit per holder quickly went out the window as there would be no possible way of fitting all the bits in otherwise.  Still plan (at some stage) to tidy the holders up, but it will likely be one of those things that fall in the “functional is good enough” brackets.  I am definitely happy that the CMT router bit storage is getting retired.  It was very frustrating because the bits were way too hard to get in and out.  Either the holder would pop out with the router bit, or you ran the danger of slipping when pulling the bit up and having it slide the length of a finger.  I didn’t sustain any serious cuts over the time I had it, but only because I was particularly wary of it.  It was said to be a 100 bit storage tray, but that only counts if every bit is a simple straight cutter.

Router Bit Cabinet

This isn’t my full collection of router bits, but what I have left out are specific sets of bits – Whiteside Dovetail Set for Incra, Hingecrafter set, a Rabbeting bit w bearing set, and some spare Triton bits.

Sum total: 118 bits (to date).  88 bits in the cabinet (I think) – a couple are slightly hidden, and after finishing, I found one more still mounted in the router! Doh!

The original cabinet could only fit 55, so grouping bits together made a lot of sense.

The lowest 2 rows are the original Triton display blocks – the yellow labels described the bit specifications.  They may get retired as the cabinet capacity continues to need increasing.

Irrespective of the nostalgic reasons behind this cabinet, I’m also finding it to be quite an interesting way to store/display router bits.  The original perspex front isn’t practical as it was designed (given the original cabinet is storage only, not for ready-access), so that will be one of the things I will investigate next – using the front as a shield for the bits, without loosing the access.  Not sure if some of the bits in the cabinet are not too high either (being somewhat bigger than anything Triton originally had on offer!)

It is one of my fundamental concepts for the shed, and many have heard it before.  The real tool is the router bit – the router is only there to turn the bit/present the bit to the timber.  When looking at investing in the router as a tool, the amount of money spent on the router will, over time, be significantly outweighed by the amount spent on router bits, so investing in a decent router is only a small part of the cost.  At the end of the day, a router bit is only a high-speed chisel/plane blade after all.

Of course, you can get cheap bits, but cheap bits give a cheap result, and don’t last to boot.  I do have some somewhere – didn’t even remember to count them in my earlier tally (not that they count anyway!)  They get used occasionally – when I want to rout aluminium.  Can’t be bothered wasting a good bit on that job.

In the collection above are bits from Carbatec (1), Triton (these two are probably the cheapest bits I now have – comparatively), Linbide, Carb-i-tool, CMT, Whiteside.  Most are Tungsten Carbide tipped (TCT), a few are solid carbide.  The cheapest bit is around $35, the most expensive over $500. You can buy an entire set of router bits for $35.  You get what you pay for.

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