Eagle America Keepsake Box Router Bit
Tool: Eagle America Keepsake Box Router Bit Set 175-1405
Tool Rating: Box Router Bit 10, Instructions 2, Foot Bit 1
Review: I recently bought the Eagle America Keepsake Box Router bit set 175-1405. The set is a molding bit and bit to make feet for the box. The moulding bit worked great but I did not like the foot bit. The molding bit is also used for mitered cabinet door frames. I have an Incra positioner which made cutting the profile easy. The foot bit routed just fine but I just did not like the look.
The kit came in with a project plan but it is not much of a plan. I found videos on the internet which were much more helpful for making the box.
Basically you need to have a piece of 4 quarter stock (1") and it must be around 2.5" wide. You could probably get away with 3/4" stock but the 4/4 stock makes a more substantial box. The profile of the bit is about 2" but after you start to nibble off the face of the boards the board is not supportable after the first pass. By having the profile with about 1/4" to 1/8" above and below the profile you can support the board while making several passes to get the stock removed. I would not recommend trying to remove all of the stock in one pass. The Incra positioner makes the operation a snap by zeroing against the bearing on the router bit and then moving back 1/4" negative and moving up 1/16" at a time making a smooth surface. If the surface is not smooth it would be very hard to sand due to the many facets in the wood. After the last pass you can take the stock to the table saw and trim off the top and bottom and size your stock to the final dimensions.
The video and instructions had you miter the corners and glue. Since end grain is so lousy for gluing I added 1/4" x1/2"x2" splines. I think this is necessary to strengthen the box. If it were ever dropped the box would fly apart without the reinforcement at the 45 degree miters.
Additionally the video suggests that you grove the box at the bottom for a plywood bottom. Since the box is only 2" tall and you take out a 1/4" then 1/4" plywood you loose 1/2" inch. I use a rabbeting bit and make a 1/2" inch wide by 1/4" deep rabbet at the bottom and then screw the plywood bottom on. Additionally I can apply the PSA velvet to the bottom before screwing it on and eliminate the awkward dance of trying to stick down the PSA velvet with the bottom already installed.
As I mentioned above the router bit for the feet just was not appealing to me. Someone else might like the look but I thought the box looked better sitting flat on the table. With the feet on it just looked stilted but that is just me. You can look at the pictures on the Eagle America web site. [url] https://www.eagleamerica.com/product/v175-1405/molding-router-bits[ You can just buy the molding but and not buy the foot bit. There is another style which reminds me of a Bombay style box. I did not get that one because I just liked the look of the multifaceted bit.
All in all it is a quick way to make a great looking box. FYI Eagle America is part of MCLS. There are cheaper versions of the MCLS brand bits which are identical in shape to the Eagle America bits. If you are only going to make a few of these boxes the MCLS version might be a better value. MCLS bits are made in Asia vs the Eagle America bits which are made in the USA. I bought the Eagle America brand because I will keep this bit a long time and will make a lot of them.