What are the different types

of raised panel router cutter?

         
         
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There are two main types of raised panel router cutter:

 
 

Horizontal raised panel cutters

 
  Examples of different types of horizontal raised panel cutter  

Horizontal raised panel cutters are the most common type. All but one of the CraftPro panel raisers is a horizontal cutter.

 

To use them, you position the panel face down on the router table and use either the cutter's bearing guide or the table fence to control the width of the cut.

 
         
  Horizontal raised panel router cutter profiles, some with guides  

These cutters are available with or without bearing guides, and in a number of different profiles including bevel, ogee, radius, and classic.

 

Professional TCT horizontal raised panel cutters are split across three categories - Flat Roman ogee cutters, raised panel cutters, and raised bearing guided cutters.

 
         
  A horizontal raised panel router cutter with a back cutter  

Horizontal raised panel cutters with back cut

These are horizontal raised panel cutters with an additional set of cutters located beneath the first. While the first set of cutters rout the face of the panel, this second set routs a rebate on the back. 

 
         
  Profile created by a horizontal raised panel router cutter  

This ensures that the finished edge of the panel (also known as the tongue) will be of a specified thickness, and so provided your rail and stile grooves have been cut to accept this, your panel will fit perfectly into them. 

 

Without the back cut feature, you would have to adjust the router cutter's height in the table so that the finished edge matches the rail and stile grooves. 

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  An example of a bevel raised panel router cutter and the shape of cut it makes  

Bevel panel raisers and bevel raise panel cutters

 
         
  An example of a modern panel raiser router cutter and the shape of cut it makes  

Modern panel raiser

 
         
  An example of an ogee panel raiser router cutter and the shape of cut it makes  

Ogee panel raisers and ogee raised panel cutters

 
         
  An example of a radiused panel raiser cutter and the shape of cut it makes  

Radius panel raisers and  radius raised panel cutters

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Vertical raised panel cutters

 
  Examples of different types of vertical raised panel cutter  

Like horizontal ones, vertical raised panel cutters are also used to cut away and mould the panel edge. The  CraftPro range includes one vertical panel raiser and the Professional TCT range includes four vertical raised panel cutters.

 

However, to use them, you are required to stand the panel up on its edge and pass it against the cutter, this can make them more difficult to use than horizontal panel cutters. 

 
         
  Supporting a workpiece against a false face on the back fence of a router table while using a vertical raised panel router cutter  

It may also be necessary to fit an extended height false face to the back fence of the router table, to support the workpiece more securely vertically. 

 

A deep horizontal front pressure guard or vertical support will help ensure safety and accuracy by keeping the bottom edge of the workpiece flat against the fence face

 
         
  An example of a bevel vertical panel raiser router cutter and the shape of cut it makes  

Bevel vertical panel raiser

 
         
  A classic vertical panel raiser router cutter and an example of the shape of cut it makes  

Classic vertical panel raiser

 
         
  An example of an ogee vertical raised panel router cutter and the shape of cut it makes  

Ogee vertical panel raiser

 
         
  An example of a radius vertical panel raiser router cutter and the shape of cut it makes  

CraftPro radius vertical panel raiser  and  Professional TCT vertical panel radius cutter

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Which type of raised panel cutter should you choose?

 
  DIYer using an extended height fence to support a panel being cut on a router table by a vertical raised panel router cutter  

Vertical raised panel cutters

As explained above, when using vertical cutters, you are likely to need a taller fence and additional support for the workpiece on the table. These accessories can be an inconvenience to purchase and set up if you don't already have them to hand.

 
         
  Image to illustrate that horizontal raised panel router cutters are not easy to use if you are new to using routers  

Horizontal raised panel cutters

Horizontal raised panel router cutters are much wider than vertical ones, and so less experienced router users may be less inclined to use them. However, with horizontal cutters it's easier to get a smoother finish due to their shearing action, in comparison to the chipping action of a vertical cutter.

 
         

What raised panel router cutter sizes are available?

         
 

Raised panel router cutters are most often sized according to the following dimensions:

 
         
 

Shank diameter of raised panel router cutters

 
  Diagram showing how to measure the diameter of the shank of a raised panel router cutter  

The shank diameter is measured across the centre of the shank from any point on its circumference.

 

Raised panel cutters are available with ¼" (6.35mm), 8mm (5/16"), 12mm (½" approx.) and ½" (12.7mm) shank diameters.

 
         
 

Diameter of raised panel router cutters

 
  Diagram showing how to measure the diameter of a raised panel router cutter  

The diameter is the maximum width of the router cutter, and is measured from the outermost point of the cutting edges through the centre of the bit. 

 

Raised panel router cutters have diameters ranging from 28mm (1⅛") to 88.9mm (3½"). 

 
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Cutting edges of raised panel router cutters

 
  Diagram showing how to measure the cutting edge length of a raised panel router cutter  

Length

This is the maximum length of the full cutting edge of the router cutter. It is measured from the top of the cutting edge to the bottom.

 

Raised panel router cutting edge lengths range from 6.5mm (¼") to 38mm (1½")

 
         
  Diagram showing how to measure the angle of the cutting edge on a raised panel router cutter  

Angle

Some raised panel cutters have angled edges. 

 

The angle given is in relation to the horizontal plane and ranges from 3 to 85 degrees. Horizontal cutters have angles between 3 and 45 degress. Vertical cutters have angles from 45 to 85 degrees.

 
         
  Diagram showing how to measure the radius of the cutting edge on a raised panel router cutter  

Radius

Many raised panel router cutters have concave or convex cutting edges designed to rout curves in the face of the panel. 

 
         
  Diagram showing that a raised panel router cutter can have multiple radii  

Some cutters have two or more different radii ground into their cutting edges, in order to produce convex and concave curves, often of different sizes.

 

Raised panel cutter radii range from 3mm (⅛) to 40mm (1 9/16")

 
         
 

Back cutters of raised panel router cutters

 
  Diagram showing the location of the back cutter on a raised panel router cutter  

Some horizontal raised panel cutters come with a set of back cutters located beneath the first. The back cutter length and diameter, and the tongue they produce, will usually be listed.  

 
         
  Diagram showing how to measure the length of the back cutter on a raised panel router cutter  

Back cutter length

The back cutter length is measured from the top of the cutting edge to the bottom and is typically 7.9mm (5/16"). 

 
         
  Diagram showing how to measure the diameter of the back cutter on a raised panel router cutter  

Back cutter diameter

The back cutter diameter is measured from the outermost point of the cutting edges through the centre of the bit, and is typically 54mm (2⅛"). 

 
         
  Diagram showing how to measure the thickness of the tongue that a raised panel router cutter will create  

Tongue thickness

Trend raised panel cutters with back cut produce a tongue that is 6.3mm (¼") thick.

 

For raised panel cutters without back cutters, the tongue thickness is determined by adjusting the cutter's height in relation to the panel. 

 
         
 

Guide diameter of raised panel router cutters

 
  Diagram showing the location of the guide on a raised panel router cutter  

Some router cutters are supplied with a ball bearing guide located beneath their cutting edges.

 

Horizontal raised panel router cutters with back cut have a bearing guide between the top and bottom set of cutters. 

 
         
  Diagram showing that the diameter of the guide on a raised panel router cutter will affect its maximum cutting depth  

Bearings on raised panel cutters range from 12.7mm (½") to 21.8mm (⅞") in diameter. 

 

The distance between the outside edge of the guide and tip of the cutting edge will determine the maximum cutting depth/width of that particular cutter.

 
         
  Diagram showing how adjusting the fence can affect the cutting depth of a raised panel router cutter  

On some models, the bearing can be removed and replaced with a larger or smaller one in order to alter the cutting depth. 

 

Alternatively, as with non-guided cutters, you can alter the position of the router table fence in relation to the cutter in order to adjust the cutting depth. 

 
         
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