Router Bits, how many ? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-01-2020, 11:24 PM Thread Starter
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Default Router Bits, how many ?

Happy New Year to all,

I am in the process of building the New Yankee Workshop Deluxe Router Station and I discovered a situation that I need to correct the plans to suit my needs.

The plans call for 6 bit storage drawers; 4 for 1/2'' bits and 2 for 1/4''. Now after laying out the marks to drill these holes I realized that they will total over 200 bits !!!!

Now I am not an avid router user but I plan on using them more and more. My current collection is only about 60 bits and most of those are 1/4''. I plan on acquiring several more bits and they will probably be 1/2''. So I need your opinions, do I follow the plans or modify to hold +/- 100 bits and use the other drawers for storage of whatever ?

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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-01-2020, 11:59 PM
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change the drawer arrangement to suit bit count and the accessories for all of your router needs...
adapt the top to do more..
remake the drawers for simplicity, better space utilization and for less material usage...

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-02-2020, 01:43 AM
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Yep, what Stick said. Way I figure, if you are making it, you can change it anyway you want. That way you make what you want/need, and not what someone else thinks you want/need. For what it's worth, I have 5 or 7 bits, can't recall for sure, and several are duplicates. Works for me.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-02-2020, 07:33 AM
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Not sure how many bits I have since I have never counted them. I did build the same cabinet with slight modifications. See photo below. I have both 1/4" and 1/2" bits. I started with the 1/4", but started buying 1/2" bits as needed for a project. You can get a lot of 1/4" bits into the storage drawers, but you will have a problems when you start using larger 1/2" bits. Some of these bits such as rail and style and raised panel bits are larger diameters. These will cover more than one hole and cannot be place in the hole on the edge of the drawer because it will prevent the drawer from closing. I changed some of the flat bit drawers to drawers that will hold wrenches, large bits that need to be stored laying down, bearings, Philips screw driver, brass gauges and other items needed at the router station. I also, changed the doors at the bottom and added a drawer for additional routers and accessories. It took me several years, but I finally added the Plexiglas sheet in the front for dust collection. It really works well. You can see from the picture that I have vacuum in the box and at the top.

When I go to the garage this afternoon, I will take some pictures of the drawers and post them. Hopefully this will give you some more options on how to design your cabinet.

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-02-2020, 08:40 AM
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Dan I hardly ever follow plans 100% but rather make adjustments for my own needs. Sometimes it's a change in dimensions, sometimes something a bit more major but the original design is adapted. For me the drawers were small enough that it didn't make a big difference.

But keep in mind that you will likely at some point to get bits that will be larger than just a normal router bit like rail & stile, raised panel, maybe a 2" planer bit, and so on. These will take a fair more amount of room so the number of shank holes maybe won't really reflect the number of bits. The 2" planer bit covers 3-4, I haven't really looked but I don't want them touching either so maybe another few at that. I also from the start have bought 1/2" shank bits so I don't have to change the collet and get a sturdier bit.

Of course the bit is weakest at its thinnest point like a 1/4" straight bit with a 1/2" shank. All of my 1/4" shank bits are from the old days or ones that are used in the trim router. My router table gets 99.9% of the routing use. Very little trim routing for me, at least at this point in time.

I do like the idea of using closed cell foam to hold the bits. I expect if you can get 3/4-1" thick it would accommodate either sized shank just fine. I'll likely make my drawers over as I haven't been happy with that part due to my rush to finish and choice of materials. The closed cell foam is on my radar now.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-02-2020, 08:55 AM
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My workshop is primarily car-centric, mostly restoration and car stereo installation focused, with some woodworking and construction thrown in for good measure. Tons of tools, storage and supplies, very little space, since it's a low ceiling 13x20 ft car and a half garage. As a result, my OCD has found another hobby - as my brother says - "Ultra High Density Storage", which is really under valued in this day and age, with all the silly "modern" things like staging your house, de-cluttering and "professional" organizing; none of which speak to anyone with a functioning workshop.

Obviously, having the most commonly needed items a hand reach away is one of the cornerstones of making your shop yours.

Having recently joined this forum and embracing the woodworking world, along with it's friendly and nice citizenry (thats' all you guys and girls on here!) please allow me to throw in my perspective on your situation.

I started off my router setup by exhuming two routers and 10 bits I have owned since the 90s. I then added 3 more routers and about 20 more bits as well as a table and a bunch of the ancillary items that will be needed to produce some decent "woodworking" for several upcoming high end car stereo installations, including a highly hot rodded 56 Mercury that is destined for SEMA 2020.

Storing router bits effectively was accomplished using the Rockler multi bit storage inserts, mostly when they went on sale, lol. Obviously your scenario will incorporate large panel style bits which I don't own (yet?), meaning larger spacing is required. Here is a little holder I built that stores the bits easily, and they don't fall out when being moved. I have no space for a router table with integrated drawers, so these live in various spots for now.

These little inserts offer 1/4 and 1/2" bit storage, and can also be used for driver/drill bits etc. Flexible and they hold the items tightly in place without being awkward to remove. I would do a scale sketch of your drawer(s) and lay out 2 (or 3?) identically sized plates per drawer, offering 2 or 3 different holder spacings with the same footprint. These can then be rotated and moved around in the drawers, depending on your project that day while always being organized, neat tidy and most space efficient.

This is similar to a lot of mechanics tool chest socket drawer layouts, since multiple sockets often need to accompany the tech to the car he/she is working on.

Some pics (incl a pair of Dynaudio speaker pods currently under construction) to make this lengthy diatribe more legitimate and hopefully entertaining/interesting, lol.

Happy New Year Everyone!
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-02-2020, 09:02 AM
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In fact I've just ordered a sheet to see how this will pan out for the new drawers. I ordered this and hope it will be sufficient.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-02-2020, 09:31 AM
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My own plans are to keep those bits at the ready that I will use most often...maybe 10-15 1/4" shaft...

Then about the same in 1/2" shaft...these 1/4's and 1/2's will go in one drawer in the table...

Then ready space for the specialty bits in a second drawer...panel raising, slot cutting, rail/stile, chair rail, crown, etc...these are bigger bits requiring a different storage setup for ready use...

The rest will go in "suitable storage container" on a shelf...this way I can get to them but won't tie up valuable at-the-ready space...

I too made the mistake of buying "sets" with too many bits...

If you have 100 or so bits, do a mockup of your favorite bits, put them into a suitable layout that will fit in your drawer the same with the 1/2's and call it a day...
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-02-2020, 09:59 AM
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It's always nice to have a spot for wrenches, spare bearings, starting pin, etc.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-02-2020, 10:04 AM
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All of the above suggestions are great. My problem with bits is that I can't always figure out what the profile will look like. So consider cutting out the profile illustration that comes with many bits and gluing then onto the storage shelf next to the bit's location. Bit sets (door sets for example, need to be stored together and many of these bits will cover more than one hole. So you might consider NOT drilling holes in a regular pattern, but leave some blank areas where you can drill uniquely spaced holes for sets. I'd also make sure to write the bit brand and product number in small type on bits you use all the time. It will make it easier to replace them in the future, and labeling is one way to cover bits and other gear if you need to make an insurance claim.
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