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Hi,

Newbie here. What is the main use of a straight vs. trimmer guide? I've been using my router for awhile with the straight guide, but I'm not sure when I'd use the trimmer guide (Makita M3600 Router).

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1. straight guide
2. straight guide with trimmer guide attached
 

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In my personal experience, I find the bearing guide to be quite a questionable guide. I tried it once and found that when using it... if the router was not held absolutely at a right angle to what it was guided from, it would over cut and ruin the object I was routing. I kept it but never used it again. I think a two point bearing guide would be better, but have not seen them available. I think your question is valid and would like to hear other opinions.

Bob, have you ever used one?
 

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Welcome to the forum Michael. I can say I haven't seen such an attachment before but can see that as a single guide point it would allow for pattern guiding on different shapes. That said I think this would be far easier when done using a router table that has a pivot point and a cutter with a guide bearing. In that operation you'd be moving the wood, in the proper direction of course, while the router is stable.
 

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Hi Michael,
I have a couple of those bearing guides that came with various routers, but like Gary, have found them less than useful.
Not because they don't work, but because they have been largely superseded in usefulness.

What the manual does not tell you, is that the diameter of the router bit, must be smaller than the outer diameter of the bearing, otherwise what Gary experienced, will happen.
Also, the adjustment is critical. Viewed from below, the outer edge of the bearing must almost completely cover the router bit, except for the millimeter or so that you will be cutting (I will call it the width of the cut, to distinguish from the vertical depth of cut - which you may also be doing in steps). If you have to make a cut in several passes, this means quite a lot of fiddling.

Generally, the functionality has been taken over by bits with top or bottom bearings, that can follow the non-profiled part of a board edge. The only situation I can think of where such a guide might still be useful, is to cut a rebate (rabbet) all along the length of a curved board, with a straight bit. Even then, a rabbeting bit would be easier to use. [MENTION=20395]gmercer-48083,
Interestingly, I have such a two-point adapter as you suggest, on an old flea-powered B&D router. It is a piece of plastic that bolts on to the router base (same thermoplastic), and provides two points of contact with the board edge, one on either side of the bit. Have never used it either.
 

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Sorry, Gary, either I only get the gem after the @, or nothing at all. Tried three times to edit.
 

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Biagio, You are right about the bit, it must be smaller than the bearing. We typed our answers at the same time.
 

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In my personal experience, I find the bearing guide to be quite a questionable guide. I tried it once and found that when using it... if the router was not held absolutely at a right angle to what it was guided from, it would over cut and ruin the object I was routing. I kept it but never used it again. I think a two point bearing guide would be better, but have not seen them available. I think your question is valid and would like to hear other opinions.

Bob, have you ever used one?
https://www.infinitytools.com/mini-...tent=&_rmId=VVOLZDbZM5ildwJzkJx8FW6b6w36n0U0p

These are awesome with top and bottom bearings.
 

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The straight edge guide is used to cut a groove or dado, or even a rabbet using a hand held router. It runs against the edge of the board you're working on. Many of these operations are better done on a table mounted router. Just FYI, bearings are either top or bottom mounted, rarely both. Top and bottom refer to the position of the bearing relative to the cutters, based the router being hand held. In the table the terms are the same, always relative to the router. So the Top is nearest the shank, the bottom is at the tip, just past the cutters. Kind of counter intuitive.

Trim routers don't have the hp to be used in the table. Don't know if you have a router table, but I rarely do routing freehand because it is so much safer to use the table.
 

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@Ed3443,
Those bits certainly look appetising. Have you used them?
@DesertRatTom,
Everything you said, but a table top might have to be done freehand for handling reasons. The problem with the straight edge guide, is that it does not negotiate curves - convex or concave. Hence the Japanese manufacturers (and the Chinese cloners) provide that separate bracket with the ball bearing. But the idea is now obsolete. I am not sure that there is a single use case left.
 

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@Ed3443,
Those bits certainly look appetising. Have you used them?
@DesertRatTom,
Everything you said, but a table top might have to be done freehand for handling reasons. The problem with the straight edge guide, is that it does not negotiate curves - convex or concave. Hence the Japanese manufacturers (and the Chinese cloners) provide that separate bracket with the ball bearing. But the idea is now obsolete. I am not sure that there is a single use case left.
I have used the larger version the "MEGA FLUSH TRIM ROUTER BITS" https://www.infinitytools.com/mega-flush-trim-router-bits and they are amazing. Super smooth cuts. Able to take out bigger chunks per pass. No vibration. Little if any issues with change in grain. Sharp and remain sharp. They are great. Infinity Tool is my go to for all router bits. The one thing against them is their shipping rates are high and shipping is slow.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Thank you all for the advice and the warm welcomes!

Much of your advice confirmed my suspicion that I should be focusing on building a router table first and foremost. I'll put the trimmer guide away for now and get a trim router for those types of projects.
 

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The small device is a laminate trimmer used with a special bit as shown. As for the edge guide, as already stated it can be used for grooves and slots and not much else in my humble opinion, having only used it two or three times for the above in the 46 years that I have been using routers but the Makita ones at least can be useful for other uses as shown. The photos are not in any particular order and are taken from old projects.
 

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In my personal experience, I find the bearing guide to be quite a questionable guide. I tried it once and found that when using it... if the router was not held absolutely at a right angle to what it was guided from, it would over cut and ruin the object I was routing. I kept it but never used it again. I think a two point bearing guide would be better, but have not seen them available. I think your question is valid and would like to hear other opinions.

Bob, have you ever used one?
You're spot on regarding keeping the router at right angles to the edge. I had to be very careful when routing the grooves on this clock.
 

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