Project Shop Project

Router Bit Storage

While cleaning up the shop, I realized that all of my router bits are in these big bulky cases and containers. That’s great for keeping them from bouncing into each other and getting dull, but it’s not great from an organizational/space saving points of view. I’ve had an entry on my to-do list for a long time to make a rolling stand specifically for my router table that would have dedicated bit storage, but I haven’t gotten to that item yet, and it doesn’t seem like I’m likely to get to it anytime in the near future.

So I decided to just throw something together that was good enough. As Voltaire said, “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” I was first exposed to this idea as part of the Unix philosophy. There are a lot of software tools that aim to be perfect, the ultimate flexible processing tool that can handle every kind of data and apply every kind of transformation. Tools like awk and perl come to mind from that time. But sometimes a simple cut or grep will get the job done, and their is elegance in their simplicity. The bottom line is, a project that’s not perfect but effective and done beats the project that will be perfect but never materializes.

A collection of quarter and half inch shank router bits, slotted into matching sized holes in a piece of scrap plywood.
Ugly, but functional!

This is just some glued up scraps of plywood with holes drilled in it. I figured with 1/4″ and 1/2″ shank bits, I’d just use those size drill bits to make the holes. It turns out that that produces more of a press fit than a slip fit, and I couldn’t easily insert and retrieve the bits. For the 1/4″ shanks I ended up using a 7mm drill bit to enlarge the holes. The 1/2″ shanks were more of a challenge; I didn’t have a 13mm bit to use and my 5/8″ bit made holes too large. In the end, I took the 1/2″ bit and rocked it around a bit to enlarge the top of the holes, and then chucked a 1/2″ straight cutting router bit in the drill to enlarge the bottom. This turned out to be a little scary, and I don’t think I would do it again in the future, but it was certainly effective. A little sanding to take off the fuzz and sharp edges, and it was ready for bit.

This is certainly not the most beautiful project to come out of my shop, but it gets the job done. Minimal time investment and made from scraps. And sometimes, good wins over perfect.