Depth of Cut vs. Cutter Height

Using a 1/4" shanked 1/4" bit (like a long 201) with a 1" cutter height - cutting a profile (cutout) of a piece of Maple where the entire bit is contained within the stock. How thick a piece of maple can I reasonably and safely cut? For example, is it reasonable to expect to be able to cut out a piece from a 1.5" thick piece of stock - assuming at least 1.5" of the bit is outside of the collet (and enough is inside the collet to be secure)? Or, are we limited by the cutter height of the bit?

Handheld, I would be able to go down past the CH, but I wonder about the CNC?

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Don’t tell anyone, but I do it when I don’t have a choice (i.e. a more appropriate cutter available), and get away with it. The shank may rub a little on the walls, you will cringe when it does, you should stay near the machine blablabla, but basically it works.


No worries…your secret is safe with me (and the other couple of hundred members).

It’s kind of what I figured. I had a negative experience cutting a heart-shaped pocket out of Walnut where, as my bit was lifted to return to the center to start another pass (below the CH), the bit stuck on the sidewall during withdrawal and then plunged too deeply into the pocket on its way down again. I’m guessing two things:

  1. An outside contour isn’t going to have the same problem, since it’s just plunging deeper on each iteration. No withdrawal, no sticking?
  2. Now that I have an HDZ, the odds of sticking on withdrawal will be reduced? I wouldn’t think the HDZ would allow a bit to force me to skip - or is that asking too much?
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The HDZ should mitigate the problem indeed, with the screw helping to put more oompf on the Z moves. I never really investigated the matter though…

One issue you can run into with a bit that has a 1 inch cut capacity and eventually plunging to 1.5 inches is the shank of the bit can burn the top rim of your pocket. Not all bits will burn but because there are no flutes and the bit is running at 18000 or so RPM it can burn especially in Maple because maple burns so easily. Also Cherry will burn very easily because of all the resin in Cherry.