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Woodwork 

Winter 2013-2014

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Q & A: Anti-Kickback Router Bits

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Q & A: Anti-Kickback Router Bits


Q:

I’ve noticed some router bits are available with an “anti-kickback” feature. If this works, this seems like a great thing. Does it? What’s the downside?



A:

Yes, anti-kickback router bits are safer, and they don’t cost more.

We talked to Jim Brewer,Vice President of operations for Freud,one company that makes anti-kickback router bits.He described the principle: “Basically, the amount of bite that each flute can take is limited to 1.1 millimeter. This prohibits the operator from overfeeding the material (or ‘hogging the cut’), which in turn reduces the risk of kickback.”The anti-kickback design “doesn’t impose any access problems during the sharpening process. It also doesn’t impair the cutting ability of the bit, and it doesn’t raise the cost of the bit. There’s no reason not to use these bits.”

We use anti-kickback bits routinely in our shop.However, an anti-kickback bit alone can’t produce a safe cut.Here are some safety rules that help:

Avoid heavy cuts. Make multiple passes instead.

Don’t rout small pieces. Either make the cut on a larger piece and cut it down to size, or attach the small piece to a larger piece of wood for routing.

Use featherboards. On a router table, they make it harder for the wood to be kicked back. (They save fingers, too!)

Feed AGAINST the rotation! This is most important. If you’re feeding the wood so it’s going with the rotation of the bit,watch out; the router can snatch the wood out of your hands to create a dangerous kickback. Feeding wood in this direction is called climb-cutting. Once in a while it is the only way to get a clean cut, but do it with featherboards, push blocks and extra care.




This story originally appeared in American Woodworker Tool Buyer's Guide 2002.

Tool Buyer's Guide 2002

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