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This was a great investment and produces finely machined doors with minimal setup effort.
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Raised Panel Door Router Bit Set

Jesada Tools - #600-560 Standard Kitchen Set)

Text & photos by Tom Hintz

Update: Jesada has gone through some changes since this set was purchased. We do not have specific information about the company, their condition or bits that may be produced currently.   

This is a perfect case to illustrate the point of buying quality tools to produce quality results.
   I already had a cheaper rail and stile set that included a single mandrel and cutters that had to be changed to make the different cuts. While this set worked, the quality of the cuts was lacking. Also, the amount of setup was enormous compared to my new Jesada set.
   Included in the Jesada Standard Kitchen Set is a panel raising, rail, stile, glue joint and locking drawer joint bits. I still make sample pieces when changing bits, but the adjustments needed are small and accomplished quickly.
   The glue joint bit is great for making panels as it forces the edges of the boards into alignment along the entire joint. The joint also has a tremendous amount of gluing surface so even without biscuits, this is a very tough joint. You also do not have to worry about exposing the end of a slightly misplaced biscuit when raising the panel. The same bit and setting is used for both sides of the joint by running one side through face up and the other face down.
   All of the bits in this set are 1/2-inch shank, and have a substantial amount of metal surrounding the cutting edges. This additional weight acts like a flywheel and really smooths the cuts by resisting speed variations and chattering during operation.
   Though the rail and stile bits are adjustable with shims to tighten of loosen the final joint fit, I have not made any adjustments to either of them.
   So far, I have used all ¾-inch stock and the joint fit and finished look have both been first rate.
   After making some "test" shop doors (raised panels and all), it appears the only problem this bit set has produced is a desire by my wife to have all new kitchen cabinets--all with raised panel white oak doors naturally.

UPDATE: I was a little worried that the money for this bit set could have been better spent. After having and using it extensively, I know I made the right decision. The results large-diameter bits like this produce make the cost worthwhile.
   I use a lot of oak and pine in my cabinets and these bits machine both easily and cleanly. There may be other alternatives, but if you have a heavy duty router, you should consider a good set of these bits for your shop.

See our Tips & Tricks article on using a rail & stile bit set.

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