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Frequently Asked Questions

Tooling Customizer Options

Flute Style

Finishing flutes are the most common flute style in the wood/panel routing industry, leaving a smooth edge finish.  Roughing flutes are common when aggressive hogging of material is most important; the resulting edge is often then cleaned up by a tool with finishing flutes.  Chipbreaker flutes can help improve edge quality in plywood or veneer core materials.

Tool Rotation

Right hand (RH) is the most common rotation by a wide margin and should be the default.  Left hand (LH) tools are rare and will trigger an automatic internal note to confirm with customer until we are familiar with that customer and their needs.

Carbide Grade

The percentage of cobalt in our carbide blanks determines their hardness, and thus resulting performance.

Typically, 10%Co is considered general purpose and most router tools sold are this grade unless specified as “special”, “extreme”, “max” or some other high performance descriptor.  It provides reasonable hardness and does not exhibit the signs of brittleness that harder grades can show.  It’s also commonly used for tools with small diameters or sharp features, as well as long shank tools, where again the additional brittleness of harder grades of carbide can be problematic.  The downside of the 10%Co grade is the lowest tool life of the three available grades, assuming proper use.

The 6%Co grade is considered to be in the “high performance” range, exhibiting improved hardness over 10%Co, while showing a slight increase in brittleness.  It’s the perfect middle ground for improved performance over commodity tooling when 3%Co may not be an option due to length, diameter, or specific application.

The 3%Co grade is the pinnacle of hardness in carbide tooling and the backbone that we built Frost CNC Tooling on.  Nearly all of our stock tools at ⅜” diameter and above are made with this grade, providing the longest possible tool life on the market.  The additional increase in brittleness is counteracted by keeping tools short, stout, and minimizing impact and abuse with proper part hold-down strategies.  This grade of carbide has limited overall lengths and diameters.

If uncertain about what grade of carbide to choose, please see the current grade of our most similar stock tools by opening them in the tool customizer.  Also, we’re always happy to answer questions by requesting a call back below.

Overall Length

In general, choose the shortest possible length for best performance; unless long reach is what is desired for your application.

Cutting Edge Length

In general, choose a cutting length ⅛” longer than your thickest material you will be processing.

Upcut Length (Compression Only)

Generally you want the upcut length to be just less than the thinnest material thickness (or groove depth if mortising) you will be processing.  Also consider qualified tenons or similar construction methods.

Helix Angle

Generally, industry standard for compressions, downshears, upshears, ballnoses, etc. is 30 degrees unless stated as “low helix” which is generally in the 10 to 15 degree range.  If unsure, use these industry standard practices.


Can I refund custom tools?

Unfortunately not as these are made-to-order and not resellable.  Please confirm all specs before placing your order.

How long does it take to receive custom tooling?

Custom carbide tooling generally ships within 15 business days.

Still Have Questions?