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I currently own 3 routers. My first puchase was a Porter-Cable 890, followed by a Porter-Cable 7518, then I was given a Bosch router by a family friend (along with a collection of old wood planes that were owned by his German immigrant grandfather!). I had already owned some router bits, but did not have a raised panel set. So, I set out to make a purchase and found a set at a low-end tool store which shall remained unnamed. Got the set home and used it on cabinets for our laundry room with some pretty good results.

 

Well, I may have come across an article on router rpm's, I don't remember, but a light bulb went off in my head. I checked and had to really look hard to find the maximum rpm's for this set of router bits.....8,000 rpm's! OK, so I check my PC router to find that the minimum rpm is 10,000 rpm's! I got a little nervous at that point. I mean, the cutting head on that raised panel bit must weigh between 2 and 3 lbs if not more. Well, I know that when you apply rpm's to something that has mass to it, it creates something called centrifugal or g-force. The weight of that object increases relative to the speed at which it is turning. I began to imagine that cutting head (made in China) coming apart and potentially doing some serious damage....to my hands, fingers, etc. Now understand that I am a serious guitarist. I probably shouldn't even be doing woodworking. But, I take precautions (I now own a Saw Stop tablesaw), if you get my drift.

 

Ok, here's the bottom line:

If you have a router that turns only a single speed....it's probably 30,000 rpm! Do Not use it....at that speed. Either purchase an attenuator to control the speed or get rid of it completely and purchase a router that has variable speed control.

 

Amana Tools has posted on their website a rule of thumb guide for maximum speeds for their bits:

Router Bit Dimensions Max RPM
2" (Less than 50) 28,000
2" - 2-3/8" (50-60mm) 22,000
2-3/8" - 2-3/4" (60-70mm) 19,000
2-3/4" - 3-1/4" (70-80mm) 16,000
3-1/4" - 3-5/8" (80-90mm) 15,000
3-5/8" < (90-100mm) 13,000

 

Now, other manufacturers may have different requirements.

 

I have a crew of carpenters that work for me. Recently, I discovered that the one router they use turns 1 speed....30,000 rpm. In doing some research to address this safety issue, I looked at the website of the low-end tool store which shall remained unnamed, and found that, Lo & Behold, that panel cutting set speed has sped up to 10,000 rpm's! Still, I'm not taking any chances with this stuff.

 

Please be aware that the maximum rpm for individual bits may not be easy to find, but the guide above should be helpful.

 

One final thing: there is a guard on the market that should add some safety to your routing> Bench Dog's Panel Loc.

 

Ted Broussard

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Ted, thanks for the information. I came across a similar problem a few years ago when I was also in an 'unnamed' low end tool store. I happened by a cheap dado set for the table saw only to get home and take a gander at the speed limits for the blades. It was of course lower than my single-speed table saw (buzzkill), so I took them back the next day. I am not a serious musician, but I am kind of partial to my body parts, and those of anyone else who happens to be anywhere near me at the time.

Take care.
Notice that all of the charts show that maximum rpm's should not exceed 24,000 rpm. A quick look at several manufacturer's indicates that several of them make and sell fixed speed routers. Some of them have routers with minimum rpm of 12,000...which may be faster than some router bit requirements. Most of these routers are low-end machines. Bottom line: spend a little more to get the safety factor.

KregRep said:
I just purchased the Freud raised panel door router bit set and they specified to run the rail & stile bits at 17500 rpm. The raised panel bit was 12000 rpm. I'd used the Porter Cable variable speed router on the Kreg table and got excellent results.

I figured that if that I'm going to all the trouble to make a beautiful cabinet, I want to use a good quality router bits as well. Safety has always been my first priority and there's no way I want to get hurt working on a project. Freud provided an instructional DVD that was very thorough.
Hey Phil,

Just curious, what do you clean you router bits with?

John
Hi Phil,

I take it that you do the same with your saw blades as well? Someone had once told me that he used oven cleaner on his saw blades. I wonder what other home remedies people have tried. I'll look for that soap. Thanks.

John

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