Router Bit Depth Gauge


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Editor’s note: Here is one of the coolest Tricks of the Trade from our December 2006 issue from reader Rick Wilson of Houston, Texas.

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Setting the projection of a router bit using a ruler can be problematic, and not terrifically accurate, especially if your eyes aren’t what they used to be. To solve the problem, I made this simple but very accurate router bit depth gauge from a scrap of wood and an inexpensive dial indicator ($15.50 from Lee Valley, 800-871-8158). It measures bit projection in thousandths of an inch up to 7/8″, which is enough for most of my grooving and slotting tasks.

The dial indicator shaft fits snugly into a hole drilled in the top of the inverted U-shaped gauge block. A slot extending out from the hole is pinched together with a machine screw to lock the indicator in place. After  unscrewing the stock tip, a small hardwood block is friction fit onto the end of the plunge rod to serve as a plunger pad.

To use the gauge, first zero it out with the plunge-rod block pressed against the router base or router tabletop. Then center the block over the bit, and raise the bit until the desired projection is reached.

6 thoughts on “Router Bit Depth Gauge

  1. Marilyn Hauth

    Why don’t you have a printer friendly version that can be printed off? I could not print the whole thing and lost some of the pictures.

  2. Frank Thornal

    Hold down left mouse key and highlight the pictures and text. Then "right" click and copy. Open your word processor and "Right" click and "Left"click click "Paste" and save.

  3. Virgil Landers

    Some depth gauges come with a wide foot so you would not have to gum up the threads on the indicater with a wood block.

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