It comes down to the size of the rabbet slot , the carb.spiral bit is a great router bits it can do many,many jobs, but the straight bit is not made to clean out the botton of the slot so to speak like a rabbit bit or a spiral bit most straight bits are not made to plunge in,they do make straight bits with carb.tips on the end of the router bit that will let you use it as a plunge bit and will give you a nice clean pass.
That all said, it's best to use the right bit for the right job . but any port will do when your in ruff seas or you have a dull rabbet bit.
Just a side note *** I don't like to use the rabbet bit because they like to rip the stock out when the come out of the cut/pass. (unless you use a zero fence/chip breaker type)
I use alot of plywood like many of the wood workers now days and because the plywood is a lower in price than solid wood but the real draw back with plywood is that it's in layers, in gross grain layers that's to say when you router them you are cutting with the grain and across the grain at the same time and when the rabbet bits runs by the one that is end grain it likes to rip out the stock, not cut it clean ,I have tried many rabbet bits set and most are sharp when you use them for the 1st. time but the glue and junk in the plywood will dull most rabbet bits real quick and you end up with a dull bit.
If you get some time take some plywood and split it open and pull some of the glue out and then hit it with a hammer , it's just like rock or yellow hard glass.
It's hell on cutting tools. like carb.tipped router bits.
Quality rabbet bits have down shear angles to reduce splintering of the surface and are larger in diameter than spirals and most straight bits for a smoother cut. That said, you can certainly use the straight or spiral for straight rabbets when using on the router table or hand held with an edge guide.
Bruce, While a straight or spiral bit will do a fine job making a rabbet, the advantage of a rabbeting bit is in having a bearing guided cutter designed to clean cut both edges in a single pass. You can purchase a single rabbeting cutter with interchangeable bearings and it will make all your rabbet cuts quickly and cleanly. In a production environment you will often find sets of rabbeting bits of different sizes. The advantage is in not having to spend the time changing the bearings. Time is money, so this is a decision you can make on how much time you wish to save on doing set ups.
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