George Vondriska

Roundover Bit or Beading Bit?

George Vondriska
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Duration:   4  mins

Sometimes, if I’m in a hurry when I reach for a roundover bit, I end up with a beading bit in my hand instead. I’ve also had this happen in classes because students are confused by the differences between the two profiles. They’re similar, but not identical.

The beading bit

Beading bits, like the ¼” beading bit used in the video, have a detail that roundover bits don’t have. A beading bit adds a shoulder on the vertical surface, typically the edge of the board. Unlike a roundover bit, the cutting edge of a beading bit projects slightly past the ball bearing. That projection produces the shoulder.

A roundover bit

Roundover bits, like the ¼” roundover used, don’t project past the ball bearing. When properly set up the cut will smoothly flow into the vertical and the horizontal surfaces, with no steps.

Take a step

We know the beading bit produces a step adjacent to the ball bearing every time you use it. You can achieve the full beading profile by setting the depth of cut of the bit so you get the same step on the horizontal surface. This gives you a two-step profile.

Router roundover bits can also create a step, but only on the horizontal surface. This is done by setting the depth of cut so the top corner of the bit contacts the surface.

Lots of choices

The beauty of mastering the router is the huge array of cuts you can use it for, from edge profiles to joinery. There’s a dizzying array of router bits available. Narrow down your choices with our selection of seven must-have bits.

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4 Responses to “Roundover Bit or Beading Bit?”

  1. Marguerite White

    It would be so helpful and simple if bit manufacturers would simply label their bits. Even the really expensive brands don’t do this. It’s soooo frustrating!!

  2. vinson1022

    This would have been more helpful if you explained how to tell them apart so you pick the right one!

  3. Jeff Smoot

    It would have been nice to see the bits compared side by side out of the routers for comparison.

  4. Marguerite White

    My frustration is that the bits are not labeled. Such an easy solution to a frustrating problem, especially for those of us new to the craft! So many bits look similar!

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