What are trimming and profiling

router cutters?

         
         
  buy router cutters for trimming  
         
         
  A selection of TREND trimming and profiling router cutters  

Trimming and profiling router cutters are essentially straight cutters with a guide pin or bearing fitted. 

 
         
  Image to illustrate the process of trimming the top layer of a material to create a flush edge  

They are commonly used to perform two functions:

 

1. Trim the top layer of material (often veneer or laminate) flush with the edge of a base material.

 
         
  Image to illustrate trimming the lower level of a piece of material to create a flush edge  

2. Trim a workpiece flush with the edge of a top layer (usually a pre-cut template)

 
         
 

Design

 
  Trimming and profiling router cutters with different numbers of flutes  

Flutes

Trimming and profiling cutters can have one, two or three flutes. The more flutes a cutter has, the cleaner the cut will be, but the slower it will cut and remove material. 

 

For more information, see:  What are the parts of a Trend router cutter?  

 
         
  Advice for users to suggest the use of two different trimming and profiling cutters during a project - one for roughing out and one for tidying up  

Please note: due to the abrasive nature of the materials trimming and profiling cutters are commonly used on, it's common for two of these cutters to be used during a single project: a single or two flute cutter to remove the bulk of the material and then a three-flute cutter to finish up, providing an extremely neat edge. 

 
         
  Diagram showing the shape of a bottom cut TREND trimming and profiling router cutter  

Bottom cut

Some trimming and profiling cutters such as pierce and trim or combination cutters, have an additional cutting edge located across their bottom, which allows them to plunge into the surface of materials from above. Cutters with guides mounted at the bottom can not plunge cut.

 
         
  Image showing the location of the ball bearing guides on a trimming and profiling router cutter  

Guides

Most trimming and profiling cutters come with a pin or ball bearing guide, which may be fitted to the cutter shank above the cutting edges, or on a spigot machined on the end of the cutter. 

 

Some trimming cutters have two guides, but the majority of them just have one. 

 
         
  An example of a trimming and profiling router cutter with a smaller ball bearing guide  

For most applications, the guide bearing you use will be almost exactly the same width as the cutter; however, much larger or smaller bearings can be fitted to alter the cutting depth. 

 
         
 

Applicationsbuy router cutters for trimming

 
  An example of wood veneer  

Trimming face sheet materials

Most of the furniture that we come into contact with today, in the home or at work, is made of faced sheet materials - that is, a veneer or facing of real wood, plastic, metal foil, or resin-impregnated paper glued to a base or core of something like MDF, plywood, chipboard, or other stable material. 

 
         
  Trimming veneer flush with the edge of a workpiece using a trimming and profiling cutter  

Whichever facing or laminate is used, it will usually need to be trimmed flush with the edges of the base material.

 

Trimming and profiling cutters are ideal for this purpose and are commonly used to trim this top layer flush with the base. 

 
         
  Using a trimming and profiling cutter to make the base of a workpiece flush with the top layer  

Pattern work

Just as trimming and profiling cutters can be used to trim the top layer of materials, they can also be used to trim the base material so that it's flush with the top.

 

The most common example of this is where a pre-cut pattern is temporarily fixed to the material, then a trimming cutter is used to cut away the material underneath in order to replicate the pattern.

 
         
  Using a straight router cutter with a guide bush  

In place of guide bushes

Trimming and profiling cutters are also more beneficial than guide bushes when it comes to making and using templates. A guide bush and straight cutter will always cut a piece of material larger or smaller than the template. This often requires you to work out the offset in order to make the original template the correct size.

 
         
  Image showing users that trimming and profiling cutters can be used with a guide bush without having to calculate the offset that a straight router cutter would create  

A profiling cutter can cut a workpiece to the exact size of a template, without the need for additional calculations. This is usually easier for beginners to work with.

 
         
 

Which trimming and profiling router cutter should you choose?

 
         
 

Using a hand-held router

 
  Trimming router cutters from Wonkee Donkee Trend  

Cutting the top layer

Using a hand-held router to trim the top layer should be done using a trimming cutter with a bottom-mounted guide. The non-cutting guide rides along the bottom layer while the cutting edges trim any material from the top layer, which protrudes past it. This is commonly done when trimming back the top layer of a laminated surface.

 
         
  Trimming router cutters from Wonkee Donkee Trend  

Cutting the bottom layer

Using a hand-held router to trim the bottom layer requires a trimming cutter with a shank-mounted guide. The non-cutting guide rides along the top layer, while the cutting edges trim any material from the bottom layer, which protrudes past it. This is commonly done when trimming material to match a template.

 
         
 

Using a router table

 
  Shank mounted trimming bit for routers  

Cutting the top layer

Using a router in a router table, such as a table or bench top router, to trim the top layer should be done using a trimming cutter with a shank-mounted guide. The non-cutting guide rides along the bottom layer while the cutting edges trim any material from the top layer, which protrudes past it. 

 
         
  Bottom mounted trimming router bit from Wonkee Donkee Trend  

Cutting the bottom layer

Using a router in a router table to trim the bottom layer requires a trimming bit with a bottom-mounted guide. The non-cutting guide rides along the top layer, while the cutting edges trim any material from the bottom layer, which protrudes past it. In a stationary router, a trimming bit with a shank-mounted guide can also be used like a regular straight bit, to cut grooves and rebates in materials. A straight bit with a bottom-mounted guide would not be able to do this, as the guide is non-cutting and, in this position, would prevent the bit from entering the material.

 
         
    

Ranges

buy router cutters for trimming

Trimming and profiling router cutters are available in the following Trend ranges:

 
   
         
  The TREND professional TCT router cutter range    
         
  The TREND Professional HSS router cutter range    
         
  The TREND Trade router cutter range    
         
  The TREND Craft Pro router cutter range    
         
  The TREND Replacement Tip router cutter range    
         
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