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"Frequently Asked Technical Questions"


If your technical question isn't answered here, feel free to e-mail us at sawdust@mlcswoodworking.com or call us toll-free at 1-800-533-9298.

Also see the MLCS Tech Manual for specific router bit instructions.

Router Bit Sharpening

Q: Can my carbide-tipped router bits and saw blades be sharpened? Where and how?

A: Most carbide-tipped router bits and saw blades can be sharpened to extend their life. Since carbide is being removed, this will slightly change the router bit profile, but the effect will be negligible if done properly. Light touch-ups of simple router bit profiles can be performed with a Diamond Hone. For more complex profiles and more serious sharpening, locate a qualified carbide-sharpening service in your local Yellow Pages or online.

MLCS is now pleased to offer a carbide-sharpening service to our customers. Please fill out the PDF form and send the bits/blades to the address listed on the form. Form includes pricing and other important details. NOTE: The address on the form is for bit sharpening services ONLY. Please do NOT send any other MLCS correspondence, orders, or return merchandise to this address.

The Protective Wax Coating On Router Bits

Q: What is that clear coating / protective coating on my bits and how do I remove it?

A: Most MLCS bits are coated with a protective wax coating to defend against chipping and moisture. This coating should be removed prior to use. The coating can be removed by peeling it away with your fingernail or a razor blade. If using a blade, please be careful, both for your own safety and to avoid damaging the carbide.

Router & Forstner Bit Speed (RPM)

Q: What is the recommended RPM (revolutions per minute) for MLCS and Katana® Router Bits?

 

ROUTER BITS
Large Diameter Sizes Maximum Recommended RPM
1/4" to 2" 18,000
2-1/8" to 2-1/2" 16,000
2-5/8" to 3-1/2" 12,000
Please note that for router bits with a carbide height greater than 1-1/2", the bits should be run at 16,000 RPM or less, and the cut should be made in several passes. To reduce Router speed, use a variable speed router or a Speed Control device.

 

FORSTNER BITS
Maximum Recommended RPM
Sizes Soft Woods Hard Woods
1/4" to 3/8" 2400 700
1/2" to 5/8" 2400 500
3/4" to 1" 1500 500
1-1/8" to 1-1/4" 1000 250
1-3/8" to 2" 500 250
2-1/8" + 250 250

Router Bit Maintenance and Storage

Q: Before and after using my router bits, is there anything that I can do to insure a long-lasting bit?

A: Our woodworkers recommend the following to ensure maximum bit life:

  1. Keep bearings lubricated using our Router Bit Bearing Lube.
  2. Clean bits off after each use and spray a blade lubricant on them, if it is available.
  3. Store in a low humidity, room temperature environment.
  4. Touch up dull bits with a 4 Grit Diamond Bar Hone Knife.
  5. Store bits with silica gel packets to absorb moisture and prevent rust formation.

Router Bit Safety

Q: What are the basic guidelines for using Router Bits?

A: SAFETY

  1. Read instructions prior to using router.
  2. Always wear eye protection which complies with current ANSI standard 787-1; goggles, face shield, etc.
  3. Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry which may become entangled in the tool.
  4. Make sure your work piece and bit are secure, before starting any cutting operation.
  5. Keep rotating cutters away from body and face during use and coast down period of router.
  6. Always unplug your router when changing cutters and/or making adjustments.

    WARNING

  • Router bits are for use with router machines only. Before using any router bit, read router machine operation manual as well as the owner's manual for any router machine accessory intended for use.
  • Prior to use, remove protective coating from each bit and always examine router bit for damage (cracks, breakage). Don't use the bit if any damage is suspected.
  • Be sure ball bearing is securely held on edge cutting bits by checking allen screw or hex nut before use.
  • Failure to follow all safety instructions and warnings, can result in serious bodily injury.
  • We shall in no event be liable for death, injuries to persons or property arising from use of our products.
  • Defects from misuse, abuse, negligence or alterations are not covered by the warranty. Our liability is limited to replacement or refund of the product.

Router Plate Mounting Holes

Q: Does your Router Plate come pre-drilled for my router?

A: No, you must drill appropriate holes to match the configuration of your router. This is true for our All-in- One Router Plate Kits, Aluminum Router Plate Kits, Super Tuff Router Mounts, and the router plates included in our selection of Router Tables.

Katana® vs. MLCS Router Bits

Q: What is the difference between MLCS and KATANA® Bits?

A: Our KATANA® line of router bits are our premium line of router bits, which we guaranteed to meet or exceed any brand on the market. MLCS bits are excellent bits for the price, a fine match between quality and value. However, the Katana® bits will stay sharper longer and leave a smoother finish, especially for production work. For a full list of added features of our Katana® bits, please visit www.katanabits.com

Drill Bit Size / Screw Size Equivalency

Q: What diameter tapered drill bit should be used to pre-drill a hole for my wood screw?

 

Screw Size Tapered Drill Bit Size
5 1/8"
6 9/64"
7 5/32"
8 11/64"
9 3/16"
10 13/64"
12 7/32"

 

Q: Which flash bit size should be used for my wood screw?

 

Screw Size Flash Bit Size
2, 3, 4 5/64" (MLCS #9370)
5, 6 7/64" (MLCS #9371)
8, 9, 10 9/64" (MLCS #9372)
12 11/64" (MLCS #9389)
14 13/64" (MLCS #9388)