Best way to cut a deep pocket?

I want to try making a box by cutting a deep pocket with a lip around the edge for a matching lid. I’d like the box to be a fairly good size, something in the ballpark of 2’ stock with a 1.5’ deep pocket. I’ve seen a few longer cutters on amazon but from what i understand longer cutters are prone to problems no matter the brand. Is there a better way to go about this, or just pick up a longer cutter and say a little prayer when I hit start?

I have been using the Melin 808-e bit with a 1.5" cutting length and 4" oal. I do have to seat it almost all the way up in the router. You never want to push a router bit all the way up in the router. That can lead to an out of round bit rotating. I have cut a lot of deep pockets with that bit including 1.5" treated pine and it is still cutting like new. I have 3 of these total expecting the first one to wear out. I dont think you will find much longer cutting length.

With such a long bit be sure to set your retract height high enough to clear any clamps. I use painters tape and super glue so I dont have to worry about retract height because I have no clamps to avoid during rapid moved. Just dont set your retract height higher than your Z can go up so you dont skip steps.

I have cut deep pockets on Mahogany and use a 1/4" D x 3" OL with a 1.250 CL. this was an Amana bit. In some cases the extra deep cuts past the flutes may burn if pushed too much using this bit. If you don’t need squared sides and bottoms you can try a long bowl bit. this will not burn in the extra deep cuts but will leave a radius bottom and sides.

Other options are finding a longer overall length bit with the cutting depth you need and cut the shaft length to a length that will work for your project. As long as you don’t overheat the bit when cutting, dont have flutes in the chucking area and remove any burs you will be good to go. Don’t push the bit in any case for deep cuts .


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Thanks for the advice. I almost exclusively use the tape and glue method now. Quick to set up with no worry of running into clamps.

I didnt think of using a bowl bit mainly because i dont have any experince with them. I’ll definitely look into that, might not be a bad way to go.

The only issue with bowl bits is the over all length to cut a 2" pocket. You can get bowl bits in 1/4" shank but get the longest ones you can find.

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