Router (safety) question

I want to cut some zero-clearance inserts for my table saw by using the existing insert plate as a template, screwing some 1/4 inch MDF blanks to it, and trimming it with a flush cutting bit in my router table. However, if I push the shank of the router bit most/all the way into the collet, the roller bearing does not protrude above top of the table. Should I just re-position the shank with more "air" between it and the bottom of the collet? Could I drop a short length of 1/4" dowel down the hole to fill the space or is that either unnecessary or unsafe? Thanks.
Lee
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You want a good 60 to 70% of the collet's length "filled" with bit at a minimum. A dowel should not be required but....You may want to look at how your router is mounted (or the table thickness) or you may want to look at a longer bit (they make them) as a "proper" fix.
Good luck Rob

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You could also get a bit with the bearing on the bottom instead of the top.
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Frank ...
<<You could also get a bit with the bearing on the bottom instead of the top.>>
[Whacking himself on the forehead] I have a laminate trimming bit that would serve this purpose. It took your suggestion to make me realize I could flip the workpiece upside down and keep the template side up and the MDF side against the table. Thanks.
Lee
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Lee,
You do not want to have the bit fully seated in the collet since it may end up with the collet not being able to tighten around the shank properly and the bit can come loose - not fun.
Next time you're at a hardware store, pick up a couple of 1/2" O.D. rubber O rings. Depending on the router collet, place one or two down in the collet. Now when you seat a bit, the shank will bottom out on the O ring.
Take a look at Pat Warner's site www.patwarner.com for some excellent advice on routers and attachments.
Bob S.
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Bob ...
<<Next time you're at a hardware store, pick up a couple of 1/2" O.D. rubber O rings. Depending on the router collet, place one or two down in the collet. Now when you seat a bit, the shank will bottom out on the O ring.>>
Thanks for the tip. This particular set-up is using the 1/4" collet but I'll pick up some O-rings of both sizes.
Lee
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I was gonna mention what Bob said...you shouldn't push the bit all the way into the collet, it's unsafe. The part of the bit where the shank ends and the cutter part begins may be a hair wider than the shank diameter, and the collet may be tightening on that part rather than the shank itself.
Also, if your router has a 1/2" collet, I would invest in some 1/2" bits. I bought a set of Woodline bits with 1/2" shanks, and noticed that the shank is about 1/4" to 1/2" longer than any of my old 1/4" bits. This gives you that much extra length, which works out better in a router table.
Tom
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You are quite correct that the bit shouldn't bottom out but the reason you give is usually not (though it can be) the problem. The collet tightens by being pushed down the taper of the shaft. If the bit is up off the bottom, it travels down too so the collet is effectively only squeezing the shank. If the bit is bottomed out, it has no where to go as the collet slides down forcing the collet to slide along the shank as it tightens. This increases friction greatly giving you the impression that it is tight when it is not.

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Take the router out of the table. You are using up the length of the bit just getting above the top. Or get a bit with a longer shaft.

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