Clearance for Router Bushings?

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Floyd Hall

New User
Floyd
Hi all,

I'm settling in to build some router jigs, mostly for mortising and whatnot. Anyway, I trying to match bits up with two Whiteside bushing guides I bought awhile back. They both have pins to line them up properly and they're much better than the Porter Cable bushing guides I bought way back when.

Anyway, I have to decide which bits to use the the bushing guides.

I'm probably going to start with two Whiteside carbide up-cut bits to use with them. The interior diameter on the 1/4i bushing is 9/32i (1/32 above) and on the 1/2i bushing it's 17/32i (again, 1/32 above). I'm thinking I should have at least 1/16i clearance on the smaller bushing, so I should get the 3/16i Whiteside bit (which would actually give me 3/32i clearance). For the bigger bushing guide, I could either get a 3/8i bit (and give myself 5/32i clearance) or a 7/16i bit (which would give me 3/32i clearance).

Suggestions?

Floyd
 

Raymond

Raymond
Staff member
Corporate Member
Just remember that the inside diameter of the bushings normally surround the shank of the router bit and not the cutting portion of the bit.
 

Floyd Hall

New User
Floyd
Just remember that the inside diameter of the bushings normally surround the shank of the router bit and not the cutting portion of the bit.

I'll be using these with a plunge router. A 1/32 seems to be a little tight. I'm also worried about chip clearance.
 

Floyd Hall

New User
Floyd
You should have at least 1/16" clearance between the router bit side and the interior diameter of the guide bushing for proper chip clearance (a little bit more clearance is ok).

http://www.leevalley.com/us/newsletters/Woodworking/1/4/article3-2.htm

These are from the current Whiteside catalog and they don't match your dimensions for inside diameter or outside diameter.

https://www.whitesiderouterbits.com/collections/template-guide-bushings

Sorry, I was only talking about the inside diameter. I have the 'quarter-inch' (9/32 ID) and 'half-inch' (17/32 ID).
 

Floyd Hall

New User
Floyd
Guess that means I'm looking at a 3/16 and a 7/16. I'm going to start with carbide bits. Does anyone have any preference for high speed steel (HSS)?

Floyd
 

Joe Scharle

Joe
Corporate Member
If I'm looking for absolutely crisp cuts, I use HSS, otherwise I'll use carbide. I'm a big fan of MLCS HSS bits. I punched over 200 3/4" holes in a workbench with a single MLCE HSS 3/4" upcut spiral bit ($13.00). And it still is sharp!
FWIW, I've built many jigs over the years and have found not to rely on close tolerances that I have no control over. i.e., if I can make the jig work using the router base, I will. If I have to use the bit, then I'll make the jig based upon a standard, like a bearing.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
The best reason to buy brass bushings, instead of steel, is the steel will kill a bit if it comes in contact with the bushing. I recommend you find a copy of Bill Hyton's book "Router Magic."
 

ehpoole

Administrator
Ethan
The best reason to buy brass bushings, instead of steel, is the steel will kill a bit if it comes in contact with the bushing. I recommend you find a copy of Bill Hyton's book "Router Magic."

Great, why couldn't you have told me this 20 years ago? Could have saved me some trouble, though I do not recall the steel bushing fairing much better than the bit did (neither was usable afterwards). Live and learn!

But brass, aluminum (if you should find such), and plastic make the safest bushings as they will all be cut by most router bits should the bit contact the bushing...and bushings are usually much cheaper than a good router bit (particularly if solid carbide).
 

Floyd Hall

New User
Floyd
Great, why couldn't you have told me this 20 years ago? Could have saved me some trouble, though I do not recall the steel bushing fairing much better than the bit did (neither was usable afterwards). Live and learn!

But brass, aluminum (if you should find such), and plastic make the safest bushings as they will all be cut by most router bits should the bit contact the bushing...and bushings are usually much cheaper than a good router bit (particularly if solid carbide).

I'm finding there is a distinct difference between the bushing guides I bought from Porter Cable and Whiteside. The two Whiteside bushings fit very cleanly around the centering pins that come with them. But with the Porter Cable, not only are the bushings too deep for 1/2i MDF, meaning they will have to be ground down, but one centering pin from the Whiteside kit fits and one really does not. I haven't been happy with my PC 7529 plunge router either. It's got a triangular ('ninja star') insert base that moves around (hence my need for the Whiteside bushing guides just so I can set the base insert properly) and the trigger and locking mechanisms all slip and slide.

Floyd
 

Boomer76

New User
Boomer
The first mortises I made were using a drill press and chisel work. Using this guide made my second mortise project much easier.
 

tdukes

New User
Eddie
I cannot stress enough that the bushings need to locked down tight, maybe with channel lock pliers!!!!!

Had a bushing come loose on me using a mortise pal, the 1/2" 4 flute carbide end mill I was using destroyed the bushing and the mortise pal. Scared the you know what out of me!
 

Floyd Hall

New User
Floyd
I cannot stress enough that the bushings need to locked down tight, maybe with channel lock pliers!!!!!

Had a bushing come loose on me using a mortise pal, the 1/2" 4 flute carbide end mill I was using destroyed the bushing and the mortise pal. Scared the you know what out of me!

These are Whiteside brass bushings with a centering pin (made right here in North Carolina). I think they'll be okay. I've had a set of Porter Cable bushings for years and have been afraid to use them. Just didn't trust them. These I've used and they work great.

Floyd
 

tdukes

New User
Eddie
These are Whiteside brass bushings with a centering pin (made right here in North Carolina). I think they'll be okay. I've had a set of Porter Cable bushings for years and have been afraid to use them. Just didn't trust them. These I've used and they work great.

Floyd

It was a whiteside bushing and centering pin. You just can't get them hand tight enough.
 

Jeff

New User
Jeff
The brass bushings and collars are a lot better and hand tight is just fine. You don't need a gorilla wrench. Steel bushings and collars need that additional persuasion to keep them tight because the steel is harder and more prone to loosen with vibration.
 
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