Over the years I have read and heard about so many frankly scary methods of cutting the groove in the frame of the landing net, that I decided to share with other net builders the same style of custom router bit that I use.
Originally I had the wing cutters custom made by a local firm serving the furniture industry here in Grand Rapids. When I tried to re-ordered the firm had been sold to a large national firm and they were no longer interested in this small volume work. Luckily I have a fishing friend in the auto supply industry and I was able to find a Korean manufacturer who was able to supply a wing cutter of similar quality. Both wing cutters are made in Korea. The arbor and bearings are made in China.
This router bit consists of a custom wing slot cutter about 1.075 inches in diameter and two 7/8 inch ball bearings on an extended router arbor. It cuts a groove that is approximately 80/1000 of an inch wide and 100/1000 of an inch deep. ( 1/8 inch is about 0.125 inch or 125/1000th)
I recommend the 1/2 inch shaft as it will have less flex and vibration. This router bit is for use on a router table.
The High Speed Steel Wing Cutter is $45, this cutter has only a small amount of set to the teeth, this may cause burning with a heavy cut or in some woods. First I find if there is pitch/resin/crud on the bit it will burn. Clean it with something like Simple green or Zep. You can also decrease the burn by adjusting the feed rate or router speed.
I have had 2 customers report bearing problems, these are a standard bearing and there isn't a way I can test them to avoid failure. I haven't seen the problem in my shop. I don't tend to push very hard into the bit and my router has a maximum speed of 21,000 rpm. If a bearing is starting to make noise or burn, stop, it shouldn't. A replacement bearing should be about $5 or less.
The Carbide Wing Cutter is $75, this cutter is best for those who are making multiple nets.
They are selected under options with your choice of 1/4 or 1/2 inch arbors. The router bit is complete with the selected wing cutter, arbor and the two ball bearings.