How to Use a Bowl & Tray Router Bit


Bowl and tray router bits allow you to use a router to make bowls and trays from a pattern. These bits have several other applications. They can be used for cutting boards, raised sign lettering, unique boxes and many other specialty or craft items. The setup for most of these applications will be the same.

Step 1

Put on safety glasses and hearing protection.

Step 2

Install bowl and tray router bit into router and tighten in place. Make sure the proper collar is used for the bowl and tray bits diameter.

Step 3

Attach the bowl and tray pattern that came with your router bits to the wood of your project using double sided tape. Or you can make your own pattern. This need to be made from at least 1/2-inch material.

Step 4

Drill a series of holes a little larger in diameter than the bowl and tray bit. They should be drilled to approximately 3/8-inch less than the thickness of your projects material. Any drill will do, but a drill press will be the easiest to use. The size of the bit should be at least 1/4-inch larger than the diameter of the bowl and tray router bit used.

Step 5

Router out the remaining material inside the pattern area a little at a time. The router will follow the pattern along the outside edges. Continue to free hand router out the remaining interior material.

Step 6

Lower the bit approximately 1/4-inch and repeat the last step until the bowl's depth is achieved.

Step 7

Lower the bit approximately 1/16th of a inch for the last pass to remove any burn marks or bit chatter. This will make the sanding process a lot easier.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not try to plunge cut the bowl and tray router bit.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety glasses
  • Hearing protection
  • Bowl and tray router bits
  • Router
  • Bowl and tray pattern
  • Double-sided tape
  • Wood (thickness limited by the maximum depth of your bowl and tray router bit)
  • Drill
  • Drill bit (at least 1/4-inch larger than the diameter of the bowl and tray router bit)


  • CMT Orange Tools: Bowl & tray system set instructions
  • "Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to Routers;" Lonnie Bird; 2006
  • "Woodworking with the Router; " Bill Hylton; 2009
Keywords: bowl and tray, freehand router, router pattern

About this Author

Jim Wildman served in the United States Marine Corps as a Communication Chief for 10 years. After his tour of duty in Desert Storm he attended Oklahoma State University receiving his Bachelor of Architecture. He worked as an architect for 10 years before starting his own design/build company. He began writing in 2009 for Demand Studios and published on eHow.

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