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Dave2,

Welcome to the group. With non-backcutter bits either method is okay. For bits with backcutters you are correct that with the BC in place you will remove the material that would be the tongue if you sneak up on the cut by raising the bit. Better to leave the bit at the final height and use the fence to limit the cut.
 

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Dave2,

Freud Raised Panel Bits W/BC don't have a ball bearing but instead have a solid pilot between the cutters (this is a patented design which allows you to cut full 1-1/2" reveal which the competitors' bits can't do). To make arched raised panels with ours in multiple passes we do recommend removing the backcutter and lowering the bit for the first pas(es) then re-installing it for the last pass. For straight runs you can use the fence to limit the cut.
 
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