No woodworker who loves engraving can imagine their workstation without a trusty router. These machines allow us to create beautiful and smooth hollows in our workpieces, enabling us to create unique pieces.
Whether you’re looking to create solid lettering or intricate signage on a workpiece, a router can help you with that. However, for that to happen, you need to use the right router bits.
If you’re new to making signs, it can be difficult to figure out the best router bits for sign making.
Well, it all depends on the intended use and just what kind of project you’re undertaking. With that in mind, we’ve created a buying guide and reviewed 7 bits for your consideration. Let’s go!
Top Router Bits for Sign Making Comparison Chart
Amana Tool AMS-177-K 8-Pc CNC Router Bit
Freud 8 Piece CNC Router Bit Signmaking Set
Carbide and Chromium
Rockler 3-Pc Signmaking Router Bit Set
SILIVN Engraving CNC Wood Carving Router Bit
Whiteside Router Bits 401 Basic Router Bit
7 Best Router Bits for Sign Making Reviews
After considerable research, analysis, and discussion, we have selected the seven following router bits for you based on performance, durability, and compatibility with different types of routers and projects.
1. Amana Tool AMS-177-K 8-Pc CNC Router Bit – Best Pick
Today’s first pick is a wildly popular offering from Amana Tools, a brand that has rightly earned its high reputation in nearly a century of successful operation. This 8-piece CNC router bit set is well suited to the needs of the beginner, novice, or expert.
Furnished with a beautiful multi-colored Spektra coating, this collection is one of the most durable we’ve found, thanks to high-quality carbide tips. Spektra is an ultra-light ceramic coating that facilitates the bits in maintaining their sharpness and smoothness.
What’s more, the Spektra coating also works against oxidization and high heat production, which, as you may already know, affects the bits’ cutting quality.
This set comes with every kind of bit you might need for your sign making purposes, with each bit having a quarter-inch diameter.
You can use these bits on a wide variety of work materials, from plastic, fiberglass, graphite, and wood to even Plexiglas and PVC, among others. So, no matter the style and intensity of your project, these bits won’t let you down.
Although the beautiful Spektra coating will lose its vivid coloring over time, it will still retain its protective quality, so don’t worry. With such high-quality construction and unique geometric design, these are easily some of the absolute best bits you can find to use with your CNC router.
- Extra strong construction with highly durable Carbide tips
- Ultra-thin Spektra ceramic coating enhances performance and longevity
- The set includes 8 bits for all kinds of sign-making applications
- Unique geometric design contributes to super smooth and clean cuts
- The Spektra coating will lose its color with time
2. Freud 87-108 8-Piece CNC Router Bit Signmaking Set – Best for the Money
With about half a century operating in the woodworking industry, Freud has a name that is ubiquitously known amongst DIYers of all kinds. The brand is recognized for producing high-quality tools, and this router bit set is no exception.
Boasting 8 of the most wanted router bits, this set is one of the strongest we have come across. Constructed from super-density carbide and plated with chromium, these bits have been designed to last twice as long as others on the market.
No matter the quality and efficiency of your particular CNC machine, these bits promise to provide a long cutting life and smooth finishes every time.
Part of this owes itself to the V-groove design of these bits, manifested in a steep taper that will help you produce deep, sharp grooves. For deep grooves with softly rounded bottoms, the ball-nose bits are ideal, while the up-and-down spiral bits are ideal for making clean, swift cuts.
What truly makes a router bit set great is its compatibility with different materials. Well, on that front, Freud surely does not disappoint. Designed for smooth and reliable usage, these bits can be used on wood composite, wood, aluminum, and plastic, among other materials.
- Versatile bits can be used on a number of different materials
- Constructed from enhanced TiCo super-density carbide and plated with chromium for enhanced durability
- Comes with V-groove, spiral, and ball-nose bits
- Allows you to produce lettering, signs, and engravings with ease and efficiency
- Some inexperienced users might experience tearing
3. Rockler 3-Pc Signmaking Router Bit Set – Best Budget Router Bit
If you’re just starting out with sign-making and lettering, buying a large set might not seem like a good idea. If you agree, then you’ll certainly appreciate this 3-piece set from Rockler. Here’s what we like about it.
Constructed from high-quality K10 and K20 grade carbide, these bits stand out for their durability and smooth cutting ability. Not only can you expect clean cuts, but you won’t have to worry about finding replacements any time soon if you get this set.
What’s more, these bits have been sharpened using diamond wheels of 600 to 800 grit. Not only does this enhance the life of the bits, but it ensures a consistently clean cut every time.
So what’s in the box? Rockler has made sure to include three of the most frequently sought router bits for the purposes of sign making and lettering. This set includes a 60-degree V-groove bit of 19/32″ diameter shank, a 90-degree V-groove bit with a 1.2-inch diameter shank, and finally, a high-core box bit.
Each of these bits comes with a durable and sharp carbide tip, and we dare say they’re all you need to get started on sign-making!
- K10 and K20-grade carbide construction for cleaner cuts and higher durability
- Each of the bits has a 1/4 inch shank diameter for precise lettering
- 600-800 diamond grit wheel sharpened for easy and smooth sharpening
- Carbide tips for better performance and longer life
- Set includes three of the most wanted sign-making basic bits
- Routing process might be slower due to plastic stencils
4. SILIVN 1/4 Inch Shank Engraving CNC Wood Carving Router Bit
Are you a seasoned woodworker with existing experience in lettering and sign making? Also, are you looking for a replacement bit for your CNC router? This offering from Silivn might be the one you need. Here’s why we think so.
Constructed from robust and long-enduring tungsten steel, this router bit is ideal for making precise and intricate routing cuts. Whether you’re making 2D or 3D carvings and engravings, this sharp-pointed, deep-angled bit is versatile enough to handle both.
What kind of material do you like to make your signs on? It doesn’t matter what the answer is because this bit is compatible with nearly all of them, including wood, plastic, and metals such as aluminum and stainless steel.
Plus, with a shank diameter of 1/4″ inches, this router bit is capable of making precise cuts every single time. Furthermore, its flat-bottomed design guards against annoying burrs, while the mirror-surface grinding technology further enhances precision.
Although durability seems to be a concern for some users of this bit, it seems that it mainly depends on the type of material and configuration of the routing machine in question. Given that this bit is quite expensive, this can be a dealbreaker, but you won’t know until you try!
- Constructed from tungsten steel for sharper and smoother cuts
- 1/4″ inch shank diameter allows you to make more precise cuts
- Flat-bottomed design of the bit prevents burring
- Unique mirror-surface grinding technology enhances precision
- Available in 20-degree and 60-degree variations
- Might be prone to breaking when used in high-speed routing applications
5. Whiteside Router Bits 401 Basic Router Bit
This highly rated 6-piece basic router bit set from Whiteside is next on our list with a wide array of impressive features. It’s also relatively cheaper than the other sets we have found for you today, so if you’re on a budget, this one will appeal to you.
Boasting a strong and durable carbide construction, each of the bits in this set comes with a half-inch shank diameter, making it perfect for sign-making, particularly lettering. And Whiteside has made it a point to include all of the basics in router bits that you could possibly want.
That’s right. This set comes with the following: a 3/8″ round-over bit; 3/8″ cove bit; rabbiting bit; 45-degree chamfer bit; 1/2″ flush trim (with a 1″ cutting length); 1/2″ straight double flute bit, and a 1/4″ straight bit. Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, you’ll find everything you need in this set!
- High-quality carbide construction for performance and longevity
- A Half-inch shank diameter is ideal for lettering purposes
- Precision ground construction for enhanced balance at a high RPM
- Suitable for use in professional and industrial applications
- Comes with 6 of the most highly sought basic lettering and sign-making router bits
- A few of the bits in the set might be prone to burn
6. FOOS – Engraving CNC Wood Carving Router Bit Set
If you’re looking for a reliable and high-performing router bit set on a budget, it can seem difficult to find one. And indeed, as far as router bits go, the higher the price, the higher the quality usually is. However, that’s not the rule of law, and this set from FOOS is here to prove that.
Made from robust, long-lasting solid carbide, the bits in this set come with 1/4″ inch shank diameters for ultimate precision in lettering and sign-making. Like working with a variety of materials? Don’t worry, this set is compatible with almost all kinds, even metals such as stainless steel.
Something we love about this set is how, even at a low price, it offers all the basic bits you could possibly need to produce a beautiful sign.
No matter what your lettering needs are, we believe this set will serve you well: it comes with two V-groove bits (60 degrees and 90 degrees), a 15-degree detail carving liner, and a 20-degree flat-tipped profile bit.
Although this is one of the best bit sets you will find at such a low price, it’s worth noting that you might face some issues with durability over continued use. However, you can always re-grind and re-sharpen them and avoid having to spend on a whole new set of bits.
- Offers smooth and efficient cuts thanks to 1/4″ inch shank diameter
- Constructed from solid carbide for reliable sharpness and smooth cutting
- Includes 4 of the most commonly used bits for efficient lettering
- Ideal for lettering and sign-making on a variety of work materials
- There are some concerns about durability
7. Yakamoz 6Pcs 1/4″ Shank Carbide Router Bit Set
While we’re on the topic of high-performing budget router bits, it would be a shame to leave out this absolutely stunning set from Yakamoz. Containing six router bits for all your sign-making needs, this set is one of the best you will find at such an unbelievably low price.
Equipped with both V-groove and round-groove bits, this set will allow you to carry out a number of sign-making and lettering applications. Plus, thanks to their 1/4″ inch shank diameter, these bits will allow you to enjoy an efficient, smooth, and fast cutting experience.
What truly makes this set stand out, though, is its sturdy construction: these bits are made from high-quality C3 micro-grain tungsten carbide, promising a long life and reliably sharp cutting edges for all your projects. Given the price of the set, high-quality construction is doubly impressive.
Moreover, the bits in this set can take on various materials, from softwoods and plywood to MDF and PVC. Although you won’t be able to use these bits on metal workpieces satisfactorily, that seems to be a pretty fair trade-off given the low price of the set.
- High-quality tungsten carbide construction for longevity and consistent sharpness
- Anti-kickback design prevents burrs and tears in your workpiece
- Comes with 6 pieces of the most popular routing bits of both V-groove and round-nose configurations
- Works well with most table-mounted and CNC routers
- Compatible with a wide variety of work materials
- Not suitable for use with metalwork materials
What to Look for Before Buying A Router Bit for Sign Making?
Lettering and routing is one of the most intricate types of woodworking to exist. So before you choose the right bit, remember to keep the following factors in mind.
The performance of a router bit depends greatly on its construction and strength. We would recommend selecting a bit that comes with a carbide tip because this construction material allows the user to make smooth and precise cuts.
What’s more, carbide-tipped bits are more durable than those that aren’t. The more longevity a bit’s tip boasts, the less frequently you will have to re-grind or replace it.
Although this goes without saying, it’s good to have a reminder: your chosen router bits must obviously be compatible with your particular router. How can you ensure that? Check the shank of the bit – the solid cylindrical part of it. This shank must be compatible with your router’s collet for good performance.
Do you have a router with interchangeable collets? Even better! A half- or quarter-inch shank works best in this case, especially if you’ll be doing freehand lettering. That’s because shanks of this diameter offer lower vibration and, consequently, higher stability. You can expect a smoother cut from such bits.
Not all projects are the same; each one requires a different sort of router bit. You know your project best, but remember to keep in mind what material you’ll be working with. Not every bit is compatible with every kind of woodworking need, so look carefully into the manufacturer’s instructions before buying.
Router Bit Set
Are you a beginner in routing? Or don’t have a particular project in mind? Then you might be better off buying a set of bits rather than an individual type. This will allow you to experiment and find the right bit for your needs.
That being said, watch out for sets that are cheap; the bits in these tend to be more fragile to keep the price low. However, if you’re only experimenting at this stage, that shouldn’t be too much of an issue if you can afford to replace them frequently.
Kickback is one of the worst nightmares of any DIYer, especially when it comes to lettering and sign-making. Keeping that in mind, it’s always a good idea to buy bits that are advertised as having an anti-kickback design, as these have higher girth and don’t bite too deeply into your workpiece.
Methods to Make Sign
Although today we’re discussing bits for machine-based sign-making, you can also opt to make signs and lettering with your bare hands.: called freehand routing. It might seem unnecessary, especially if you’re a beginner.
However, many experienced woodworkers prefer the manual method if they want to feel closer to the process of sign- or letter-making.
Particularly if you’ll be creating intricate shapes and designs, or small letters, the manual method will suit your needs well. That’s because you’ll be allowed to enjoy a certain level of precision not found in machine-assisted methods.
If you’re used to doing CNC (Computer Numeric Control) routing, you’ll be glad to hear that you can use it to make signs and lettering. Not only is it faster thanks to being automated, but it also offers higher precision. However, the quality of the work also depends on your level of expertise.
One great advantage of CNC routing is that it allows you to work with a number of different materials, be it plastic, aluminum, steel, composite, or even glass. That being said, if you’re interested in CNC routing, be prepared to shell out a good amount of money!
Frequently Asked Questions
What router bit do I need for sign making?
The answer to this question depends on your needs and what kind of project you’re undertaking. That being said, the majority of professionals like to use V-groove and carving bits or those with round noses.
What is the point of a V-groove on a router bit?
What makes V-groove bits special is their ability to produce square corners. That makes them ideal for creating signs and lettering.
Can CNC bits be used in a router?
Yes. CNC bits are best used in high-load routing situations thanks to their ability to remove material at a high rate. However, it does require some practice, so we would not recommend it for beginners.
Should I buy a straight bit or a spiral bit?
We would suggest going for a spiral bit if you’re working with hardwoods or smooth surfaces. Straight bits are better suited to working with stock.
When it comes to choosing the best router bits for sign making, much depends upon your intended use, the quality of your router, and the work material you will be working with.
That being said, although we don’t like to pick favorites, this 8-piece set from Amana is a clear winner for all kinds of lettering and sign-making applications. It’s built for long life, smooth performance, and versatility.
On a budget? Not to worry! This 4-piece offering from FOOS offers impressive performance and durability at a nearly unbelievable price, and it’s even compatible with various work materials.
Good luck, and happy routing!
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