CMT - Raised-Panel Router Bits 800.518A small raised-panel router bit with matching stile-and-rail cutters for shaping small-scale stiles and rails.
Two companies, CMT and Jesada Tools, have recently introduced sets of small, raised-panel router bits with matching stile-and-rail cutters. These sets are a real breakthrough for boxmakers and others who need to make small raised panels and appropriately scaled stiles and rails.
While both sets rely on the ogee for the basic shape of the cutters, the CMT set (part No. 800.518) has a more gradual, elongated ogee than the Jesada set (part No. 600-820), which has a tighter ogee with a pronounced fillet. The CMT panel-raiser also produces a wider shoulder and has a back cutter to allow the use of thicker stock.
I really appreciate the back cutter on the CMT raised-panel bit. It creates a panel that is flush on the inside of the stiles and rails of a frame, along with a nice reveal around the back side.
Jesada claims that its bits work with stock ranging in thickness from 3/8 in. to 3/4 in., while CMT says its bits work on thicknesses of 7/16 in. to 1-1/16 in. The CMT panel-raiser works on a panel that is as small as 2-3/4 in. square, while the Jesada works on a 2-in.-square panel.
Both sets did an admirable job. I did, however, have trouble with the Jesada to get the stile and rail to match up, I had to move the shims around and add an extra shim to the end profile cutter. A second set I looked at worked better. The CMT set produced parts that fit perfectly without any fussing with the bits.
Because all of these bits are used to cut mostly small workpieces on a router table, it’s important to pay special attention to safety. Before starting, I made several push sticks and hold-downs specifically for holding small panels and short stiles and rails. Also, to provide maximum support for small workpieces, I adjusted the opening in the router-table fence so that it would be as narrow as possible.