1/4" Router Bit Curiosity

I've been using 1/2" carbide tipped flush trim router bits, 1/4" shank, on 1/2" plywood, for some years. They do what I need, no prob.
But lately, needs changed a bit, and like to get added detail smaller bits would give, in tight spots. The 1/2" works fine, but 1/4", or 3/8", would give a bit more detail. I rough cut with a sabre saw, so less to rout, and where there's extra, I go slower, maybe several smaller cuts. No prob at all, with this technique.
So, before I spring for a 1/4" bit, any bad points to using one?
A 1/8" would work even better. I haven't double-checked, but think I saw one awhile back, with the bearing. But, not sure about using a bit that little. I'd be leery about too much pressure, and breaking it, in use. Thoughts on using one? Umm, just from people that've actually used one. I could make another router table, use the 1/2" bit in this one, finish with the 1/8" in the second. Don't know if it's worth the effort.
If you didn't get it yet, I don't have a 1/2" router, and don't intend to get one, while my 1/4" ones still work.
And, if the smaller bits aren't suitable, I can live with the 1/2", no prob.
I ask, because, while the price of one isn't a huge amount, it's still a respectable amount, for me. Won't spend it, without reasonable justication.
JOAT I will feel equality has arrived when we can elect to office women who are as unqualified as some of the men who are already there. - Maureen Reagan
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i use 1/4 in my pin router on 3/4 wood with no problems. bob
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<snip>

<snip>
Hi -
1/4" diameter straight bits are inherently weak - especially double flute ones.... By the time you mill the recesses for the carbide inserts, there just isn't that much metal left, and what is left, is quite weak in one orientation, and can fatigue quickly...
Good rules for small bits :
- use single flute wherever possible - use short cut length bits - use solid carbide if you can - slow down your feed rate - use appropriate speed - limit cut depth - operate as if you "expect" them to break
Not exactly a rule - but buy two (they're not that expensive) - if you have two, the first one won't break...if you only have one, it will break inversely proportionally to the time it will take to get another one... :)
Cheers -
Rob
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Thu, Apr 15, 2004, 9:11am snipped-for-privacy@leevalley.com (RobinLee) says: Hi - <snip>
Hi Rob. Some interesting points I hadn't thought of. I'll mull this over, but I'm thinking I'll probably go ahead with the 1/4". I think I'll forget about 1/8", unless I get into modeling. Then have to consider making another router table, for the 1/4" bit, and make first passes with the 1/2" bit, in the other table. Hmm, does Lee Valley carry router bits? LMAO Thanks.
JOAT I will feel equality has arrived when we can elect to office women who are as unqualified as some of the men who are already there. - Maureen Reagan
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On Thu, 15 Apr 2004 02:58:03 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

the disadvantages: they don't take as much material (duh) so the cut takes longer. they break more easily. it's harder to get a smooth flat bottom with a small bit. they heat up more and wear out more quickly. they cut slowly.
advantages: they get closer to an inside corner.
the part where the advantages outweigh the disadvantages is a small part of the routing but comes up frequently for inside cuts. it's likely that you will want to have a router with a small bit in it and another with a larger bit and just grab the appropriate router rather than be changing bits back and forth.     Bridger
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I've used 3/16" 1/4" shanks without any problem, never broke one, though I'm sure it's easy to do. I just make sure my arms are in shape and steady before I start <g>. I do however use it in my smaller (1 HP) router - take it slow & steady, no feed problems. It might chatter easier than the others when conditions are just right - not as much mass there to keep it on the straight & narrow so to speak, pun intended. Be sure to go carbide or better though; learned the hard way steel ain't worth u-no-watt.
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