Storage Solutions for Router Bits

StorageI’m working on an upcoming article for Popular Woodworking Magazine that includes router-bit storage. There are scads of ways to store router bits; some are worthy of discussion and keep the bits out of harm’s way while other solutions are simply a jumbled mess.

But before we get into how bits are stored, I’d like to find out how many router bits our blog readers actually own. Do you have less than 10? More than 10? More than 20? Or do you walk into a woodworking store and as the staff yells your name, the cashier guides you to the wall-size, overly stuffed router bit case as your body begins to quiver? I fit somewhere between the last two categories. (I find that many of the bits I buy are for a particular project and are used only one or two times. I also have a select few router bits that I use a lot of the time; plus a couple that seem to make it into most of my project.) In the comment section below, let me know where you fit along this informal scale. And if you’re just beginning to enjoy the feel of a router in your hands or are looking at what can be done with routers, grab a copy of “Getting Started with Routers,” and “Router Joinery & Techniques.” These DVDs will have you in the woodworking store or searching the Internet before the day’s over.

IMG_1766Now on to storage. Years ago I found the holders shown in the opening photo – a quick Internet search tells me these are not available anymore, so I’m glad I inherited my Dad’s holders when we cleared his shop. I also have a select few bits stored in those fancy anti-theft plastic boxes that come with purchase. And yes, I have router bits stored in the low-budget, plastic pouches straight from the store. I also – and I’m weary to let this be known – have a box full of older bits sitting in a closet clanking together as their carbide edges dull (head down in shame).

What I find even more amazing are the dream-like storage solutions designed by my fellow woodworkers. Some folks store their bits in compartments that are way upscale – their router bits appear as mini works of art, showcased on elevated platforms for all the world to see. How do you store your router bits? You can give us an insight into your router-bit world along with your comment on the number of bits, or if you want to drop me a photo (send it to glen.huey@fwmedia.com), I’ll gather and share images in a future post. (This is your chance to show off your storage ideas, or to simply purge your shame.)

— Glen D. Huey

 

29 thoughts on “Storage Solutions for Router Bits

  1. billhirtle

    I have had a number of shops over the years, from garage to 1000 sf professional. I am a nomad now and everything has to be portable. My router table is a 4 ft formica laminate from the big box store, which is flat and slippery. I put my effort into the fence which mounts with two clamps. Since I don’t mind fiddling with settings, it works fine. The collection of bits was a different matter. Since I like to make boxes, I purchased a block of foam from Rockler and fitted a box around it. Works like a champ and nothing rattles around. I packet of silica gel keeps the rust away here in Hawaii.

  2. Grampa

    I started building a portable router table a while back and had planned on including the two drawers (or, possibly 4 drawers ;-) for storing my router bits. However, I wound up upgrading my Shopsmith to a Mark 7, which has a motor capable of 10,000rpm and can have the motor above or below the table in one configuration, so I abandoned the portable router table project. Since I am also in the process of building a U-shaped workbench in an alcove in my shop and I had already purchased the router table top for the abandoned project, I am planning on incorporating that top into one section of the work bench and I will be also incorporating a set of drawers for the router bits very near the work bench router table. (I expect to be using the work bench table at least as much as the Shopsmith set up but the Shopsmith set up will allow me to work with larger boards than the workbench table will.)

    I currently have at least 25 router bits (including a set for making tambour doors that don’t require wires, cords, or any backing). I’ve gotten several of them as Christmas/Birthday/”Non-Birthday” presents as well as having inherited several from my dad’s shop when he moved to an independent living situation. I am looking forward to when I can actually _use_ some of them . . . right now, though, I am working through a LARGE “Honey Do List” that keeps interrupting my work bench project. ;-)

  3. blidston

    In 1999 when I retired from full time work I made a router table very similar to Bill Hylton’s Floor Standing version. There are 2 drawers which have multiple angled bit holders – one for 1/4′ and the other 1/2 inch. These have been the perfect storage solution – compact, easy to access and no dinging of the carbide surfaces.

    1. Glen D. Huey Post author

      I have to agree with you. For a long time, the PWM shop used a cabinet setup for our router table. Having the drawers below made it handy to access the bits and other router accessories. We have since changed tables and relocated the router table. That’s what prompted the desire for a new place for bits storage.

  4. professorss

    I use this method of storing and recycling router bits.

    I took a couple of pieces of maple scrap. Took them to the drill press fitted with drill bit diameter same as bits. Drilled one hole, dropped a bit in and using the next bit profile spotted the next hole, etc, etc, etc. put bit filled boxes on shelf. Keep those bought for a special project in the original box. Sell these on eBay as near mint. Pulled out my Stanley 55 ( you can use the Sargent, Record, etc equivalent. Took the proper profile cutter, lapped the back mounted in the frame and proceeded to do the job.

    A Q&A like this belongs in Popular Mechanics, Woodsmith Shopnotes, or the new addition to the PW family, American Woodworker, not in a magazine for more advanced woodworker.

    Related to one of the comments: any reference to Norm Abrams should be excised from Popular Woodworking.

    1. Glen D. Huey Post author

      I appreciate your input and ideas. I am, however, sorry you feel the way you do about this topic and Mr. Abram. Popular Woodworking Magazine is a valuable resource for woodworkers of all abilities from the seasoned professional to the beginning woodworker who just purchased his first tool. And Norm Abram has introduced woodworking to so many people throughout his career that we should all be thankful. His efforts have made woodworking better for all of us. Of course, that’s my opinion.

  5. iamawoodworker

    Eons ago I built my own router table which included 3 drawers on one side and cupboard space below. Two of the drawers have trays made with 1/4″ bits in one, and 1/2″ bits in the other. I also put it on wheels to move around easily.

  6. amvolk

    When I first built my shop, I built the “deluxe” router table from the New Yankee Workshop. There are six pull out drawers with an array of holes for 1/4 and 1/2 shank bits. This has served me well for 10 years.

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