Are there any strong feelings in the group about choice of material for
router guide bushings, other than the obvious: steel can rust but is
stronger; brass looks nicer, and doesn't rust, but is more easily bent?
Are the various offerings of PC-compatible bushings of comparable quality?
While this may not prove out scientifically, the brass guide bushings seem
to slide with less friction when I use them with aluminum straight edges and
corner templates (while doing solid surface materials). I have both steel
and brass guides of the same diameter and prefer the brass. I've not bent
either one, but these are not used in a commercial setting, so perhaps, my
shop is not a typical one.
Got the brass guide at woodcrafter and the steel one part of a Porter Cable
Another thing to consider is the hardness of the material - brass is
softer than steel, so it should do less damage to a bit or blade if one
were to somehow hit the guide. Seems unlikely, but just in case?
Brass, for two reasons--one related to the other.
One, brass will not damage your router bits when (not if) they come in
contact when the nut loosens (as it will if steel--see next);
Two, brass nut will hold its grip when hand tightened. It's a
phenomenon of the material which I have not seen a good explanation
for, although several friends who have metallurgy experience confirm
I bought mine from Jesada, back when Carlo was running it and it was a
reliable company to do business with. Lee Valley has them, I believe.
They're worth looking for, in my opinion.
PC brand steel for this wood/metal worker.
If cut to PC specs, the numbers are a little tighter. Have seen too
many brass out of spec, especially flange O.D.
Do they loosen? Have not had that happen, I use the pliers at the
pix link tho.
Brass, indeed, is more fragile.
I've never bent a brass guide. They slide easier on dovetail and
staircase templates. They polish up like new after a couple of years of
job-site use. My steel guides are somewhere out in the shop with white
and rusty corrosion all over them. I'd give them away if I could find
Most importantly, when you push that 1/4" bit too hard, you will see no
sparks with brass.
Tom in KY, I know exactly where my brass guides are.
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