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View Jeff's profile

What's your 2 bits on router bits?

by Jeff
posted 2710 days ago


44 replies so far

View Drew1House's profile

Drew1House

425 posts in 2713 days


#1 posted 2709 days ago

I think if I am going to spend th money I am going to go with Amana and Freud…. (Interesting you have those first… I am just really experimenting with my Router and bought a set of 60 for about $30 on eBay… they are junk but it is giving me an opportunity to try out many different bits that I would never have sprung for at $20 ish plus each…

Drew

-- Drew, Pleasant Grove, Utah

View Bill Cowan's profile

Bill Cowan

110 posts in 2732 days


#2 posted 2709 days ago

All I can say is, I’ve had very good results with CMT. Now the bits area normally 50 each that I use, and my only PIA is that I usually cut my darn finger taken the stupid thing from its holder.

Keep’em clean and they tend to cut well and last. I make a lot of boxes, where they come in handy.

-- ICN, Bill, (http://www.coachbillcowan.com)

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2786 days


#3 posted 2709 days ago

that’s a really good idea Drew.
The bits can break while you are checking them out and that’s ok.. all you really want to know is if you’ll use it on a regular basis—then you can buy the “real” one.
Good idea

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View cabinetman's profile

cabinetman

144 posts in 2769 days


#4 posted 2709 days ago

Here’s my .02. I will not buy a HSS (steel) bits, only carbide tipped. I’ve found the solid carbide bits are brittle and tend to break. As for buying sets of bits, I still have brand new bits that came in sets I bought 30 years ago, and have never used. I would rather spend the money on what I’ll use. As for brands, I have no real preference except for a sale item from a top brand that is appreciably less than another top brand.

DEBBIE - Don’t think it’s OK for a bit to break. It’s not pretty what pieces of steel traveling 10,000 – 25,000 RPM’s can do, or go through.

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2786 days


#5 posted 2709 days ago

good point re: breaking.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2800 days


#6 posted 2709 days ago

I have a nice set of Freud bits I bought when I picked up my first router. Love them and wouldn’t give them up for anything.

I also have a ton of the WoodCraft anti-kickback bits, and they’re just as good, as far as my experience goes. I once read somewhere that most anti-kickback bits on the market (Woodcraft, Rockler, Dewalt, etc.) are all from the same manufacturer, just colored and labeled for the different brands. I don’t find that difficult to believe… And if you do believe that, just wait until WoodCraft has their $5 router bit sale and pick up 20 better-than-average bits for $100.

Oh, and try to buy 1/2” bits when possible – smoother cuts and safer to use. Well… stick with the 1/2” bits to some extent. If you have a palm router, you need to have some 1/4” bits if you want to use it! I made that mistake, buying 1/2” bits for the first two years, and then picked up a Bosch palm router for $40 when a woodworker was shutting down shop, and quickly realized I could only use the two carbide bits he’d thrown in with it because the rest of my bits were 1/2”.

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2925 days


#7 posted 2709 days ago

I’m like cabinetman, I have a 30 piece set, & have only used about half of them, but when you first start out, you really don’t know what you’ll be using.
I have the same experience with my carving chisels, some I hardly ever use.
I have full sets of both 1/4” & 1/2”, but rarelly use my 1/4” anymore. I have not broken an 1/2” bit yet.
I’ve been buying my bits from MLCS, for years now, & have gotten good service out of them. One nice thing about them is the free shipping.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View BassBully's profile

BassBully

259 posts in 2723 days


#8 posted 2709 days ago

Caliper,

I heard a seminar person state that the there’s not much difference between the higher end bits because everything is made to such high standards these days that it’s really difficult to tell them apart. That’s why there’s strong competition. These larger companies pay high dollar for quality manufacturing machines to stay competitive. Most carbide materials are made the same and most of the steel is made the same. I would suggest using the different manufacturers to find your preference.

I’ve use Freud bits and haven’t had a problem. I’ve used cheap champion carbide bits and haven’t had a problem.

The thing I consider when looking at bits are the number of blades (the more the merrier) and whether I want a straight cut or a shear cut and the direction of the shear cut. Also, flute cut and direction of the flute. Direction is important depending on whether the router is mounted in the table or hand held during operation.

-- There are three types of people in the world, those who can count and those who can't!

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2863 days


#9 posted 2709 days ago

Well I have four different sets from CMT and the carbide tips somehow broke off of my Stile/Rail bit set and now is no good at all. I’m not happy because as a set, this is the most important set i have because if one dosen’t work then the “matched” part is no good either.

View Bill Cowan's profile

Bill Cowan

110 posts in 2732 days


#10 posted 2709 days ago

Obi, ,my abreviation was an expletive everytime I cut myself from trying to pull one of those CMT’s out of it’s holder. Although, I’ll keep the cut there evertime, then when using the router.. ;-)

-- ICN, Bill, (http://www.coachbillcowan.com)

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12260 posts in 2723 days


#11 posted 2709 days ago

Obi are you able to get a single bit to replace the broken one?

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2719 days


#12 posted 2709 days ago

All, thanks for your feedback. It’s quite helpful.

Sorry I have appeared to be absent from the conversation. The day job is keeping me a little busy (I monitor the emails at work but didn’t have the time to add any replies…)

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View tooljunky's profile

tooljunky

34 posts in 2736 days


#13 posted 2707 days ago

If you get a chance try these bits, I have owned and still use most of the bits you have listed above. But these Magenate bits seem to stay sharpe longer and are made of better carbide. www.magnate.net. I started using them about 4 years ago, but they are worth the extra $

-- vlee2@ford.com

View JJackson's profile

JJackson

104 posts in 2708 days


#14 posted 2707 days ago

Morning guys,
When it comes to your basic bits, I try to buy the Woodcraft bits when they are on sale. When it come to specialized bits, I want to buy them only once, so I buy Whiteside. Although when it comes to Whiteside, CMT, Freud and other top brands, I don’t believe it really matters.

-- Jeff, Indiana

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2787 days


#15 posted 2706 days ago

I have bought Woodcraft and MCLS bits, both of which seem fine. Like Ethan said, I try to buy most of my bits with the 1/2” shank, which provides a more stable bit.

One of the woodworking magazines had an article recently on router bits. They tested both expensive and inexpensive router bits. They noted a few items to look for on the more expensive bits. They concluded the inexpensive bits do have their place. While they may keep sharp as long as the other bits, the use you get from them may justify the cost. If you use a bit just a few times, the inexpensive one may be the way to go. If it is a constant use, the expensive will win out.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2719 days


#16 posted 2703 days ago

Thanks for the addtional comments since my last comment on 3/22. :-)

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View JackH's profile

JackH

7 posts in 2701 days


#17 posted 2700 days ago

I would suggest Holbren here: https://holbren.com/index.php
He sells his own brand for us weekend warriors at very reasonable prices with free shipping, and Whiteside for those who wish to go up-market a bit. There’s nobody better for customer service, bar none.

-- JackH

View oscorner's profile

oscorner

4564 posts in 2936 days


#18 posted 2699 days ago

I got a set from HomeDepot and they have worked fine. They cost me around forty bucks. I probably use 1/3 of them. I aslo bought a 1/4” spiral upcut bit from Lowes, I think.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12260 posts in 2723 days


#19 posted 2699 days ago

Woodcraft has Whiteside on sale this month – 20% off.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2719 days


#20 posted 2699 days ago

Thanks for these new posts everyone.

Thanks for the head’s up Wayne. I’ve misplaced my sale flyer and had forgotten about that. I’m going to check out the Holbren brand too. I think it’s a good idea to have some ‘worker’ bits and then have some ‘good’ bits for when you need a really sharp bit to use on tricky grain or a piece that you have to get ‘right the first time’.

Thoughts on that anyone? Overkill?

Does anyone have experiences to share regarding sharpening their router bits?

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12260 posts in 2723 days


#21 posted 2699 days ago

I was thinking along the lines of good for bits I used all the time. It would probably be difficult to anticipate a special need and would probably resort to buying one if I were really concerned. Fortunately, there is a woodworking tools shop within a mile that has CMT, Amana, Freud, etc. and WoodCraft is about 20 minutes away. I will have to check out Holbren as the prices are normally better online. I’m also tossing around the idea of buying the big MLCS Set just to have pretty much everything I need on hand.

I’ve avoided sharpening and probably should just get over it.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2787 days


#22 posted 2694 days ago

It looks like Woodcraft has some bits for $5 again, so it might be time to stock up.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12260 posts in 2723 days


#23 posted 2694 days ago

I’ll have to add some of those to my shopping list when I head over there tomorrow.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Drew1House's profile

Drew1House

425 posts in 2713 days


#24 posted 2694 days ago

My buddy at timberline let me know he was getting rid of his porter cable in stock bits… Got Huge ones for $20 each for any bit 1/2 inch and $10 each for every 1/4th inch one.

Drew

He still has some left… he is just gonna carry cmt, freud, amana and I think Whitesides….

Drew

-- Drew, Pleasant Grove, Utah

View coloradoclimber's profile

coloradoclimber

548 posts in 2693 days


#25 posted 2693 days ago

I just got a PC dovetail jig. Got it setup and was playing with it, trying a few different dovetail bits. I tried a no name 1/4 shaft 3/8 DT bit, a Grizzly 1/2 inch shaft 7/16 DT (carbide made in china) and a Whiteside 1/2 inch shaft 1/2” DT. I can tell you flat out the Whiteside cut much faster and easier than either of the other two. Now the whiteside bit alone cost as much as the set of 5 bits from Grizzly (Leigh 5 bit DT set). But there was a noticeable difference in the way the Whiteside cut compared to the others. In the past I’ve always used cheapo bits, whatever was on sale or in a set at HD. I dont think I’ll do that anymore, at least not for bits and cuts I care about. I was really impressed w/ the whiteside. I dont know how the other high end bits would compare but I could tell the difference between the whiteside and the cheaper bits.

View Drew1House's profile

Drew1House

425 posts in 2713 days


#26 posted 2693 days ago

Boy… I could too… I have not had a shop for years and last Saturday I built a bunch of shelves and I had been using a chamfer bit from my afore mentioned cheap Chinese set from ebay… it is carbide and everything… But with the Ipe I was using which is about 4 times as hard as oak I basically burned that chamfer bit up (well it got noticeably duller). THen I got a new one that is the Porter Cable I mentioned yesterday…. LOL… There is a difference… It was a definate change even from when the other $2 bit was first used…

Drew

-- Drew, Pleasant Grove, Utah

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2719 days


#27 posted 2693 days ago

Thanks for the note on the sale at Woodcraft, Bill. Also, Rocker is having a buy-one/get-one-half-off sale too. I think the coupon is in the flier and it’s in-store only. Maybe not though.

ColoradoClimber, good info on the Whitesides… I bought some at Woodcraft over the winter but have not cut with them yet. Everything I read or hear about them is extremely positive.

Drew, I’ll check out Timberline too.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12260 posts in 2723 days


#28 posted 2693 days ago

I guess the woodcraft sale on bits is on-line only. They were not on Sale at my local store when I dropped by this morning.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View bkhop's profile

bkhop

68 posts in 2693 days


#29 posted 2693 days ago

If I may chime in (without saying a whole lot new…) my bid right now goes for Whiteside. I’ve got several CMT and they are very good, but I’m just as pleased with the Whiteside.

hops

-- † Hops †

View Drew1House's profile

Drew1House

425 posts in 2713 days


#30 posted 2693 days ago

His other website is Routerbitworld.com… I would call and ask them to tell you what is available in the PorterCable bits still… Or better yet.. what are you looking for.. I could check. I have been stopping into his shop every other day for the last month.

Drew

-- Drew, Pleasant Grove, Utah

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2940 days


#31 posted 2693 days ago

The bits have never been a big deal, but a few years ago I had real problems with bits I got at the big orange store. Cheap bearings…pissed me off. I had more than one fail.

View Drew1House's profile

Drew1House

425 posts in 2713 days


#32 posted 2692 days ago

Lets not be coy… I think the 2 brands the Orange place carries are Ryobi and porter cable… Dennis… I am guessing that the bad ones are blue not red… correct?I have very little experience with the new Porter Cable ones I purchased but they experience that I did have was (has been) good… Ryobi made y first one… which was great for the money… However it was not very good overall…

Drew

-- Drew, Pleasant Grove, Utah

View coloradoclimber's profile

coloradoclimber

548 posts in 2693 days


#33 posted 2692 days ago

I spent a couple more hours today playing with the PC dovetail jig. One of the reason I got it was to make 1/4 inch spaced finger joints for small decorative boxes. The jig does not come with the 1/4 straight bit required but I figured that shouldn’t be a problem, in the myriad of bit sets I’ve picked up over the years there will be a 1/4 straight bit in there somewhere. And indeed I turned up 4 different ones.

I’m just learning how to use the jig so I started with some cheap pine, resawn to about 3/8, jointed and planed down to around 1/4 thick.

I started with a brand new el-cheapo carbide bit from a box manufactured by Champion (made in china). 1/4 shaft, 1/4 straight. I fought with that bit for a couple hours and a dozen attempts. The tear out was horrible. I tried backing the board being cut, that helped a little on the backside tear out. I tried scribing a line on the front, that helped a little (not much) on the front side tear out. I finally tried using masking tape, that actually helped a lot but I was still getting too much tear out.

I began to wonder if the bit was not “sharp enough” so I decided to try a different bit.

I switched to another brand new cheap carbide bit from a set labeled Workforce, bought from Sam’s Club. 1/4 shaft, 1/4 straight. It cut better, less tear out but still not a very clean cut. But I figured I was on the right track. Just switching the bit helped quite a bit.

So I thought ah hah. I have an Amana (a good name) 1/2 shaft, 1/4 straight, 2 flute HSS bit. It has an unknown history, picked it up from a guy as part of a used router kit. It looked clean, nearly new, and felt sharp. I was surprised. It didn’t do much better than the Workforce carbide cutter. The cut was better but still too much tear out for me to sacrifice good wood on.

So by now I was wondering if this thing was ever going to work. I was getting better results but not great. Finally I decided to try a 1/4 shaft 1/4 up cut spiral bit, 2 flute HSS. BANG!! this thing worked great. The cuts where clean, no tape, no backing board, no scribing, seriously, just clamp the board and cut away. I tried it a couple times to make sure it was not a fluke. Consistent clean cuts, tight fitting finger joints. Unfortunately I don’t know the history of this bit either. It also came as part of the router bundle.

I’m gonna get my hands on a new high end straight bit, probably a whiteside, and a new spiral cutter. That way I can know the history. We’ll see if the manufacturer makes a difference of it it’s just the cutter type.

So what has a couple days grinding up wood taught me? The cheaper the bit the junkier the cut. Also that for the straight bit it’s not just the manufacturers name, the style of bit matters too.

I have a few sets of bits, mostly cheapo random assortments of HSS and carbide. I’ve used them in the past for edge molding and I’ve been very happy. I’ve never tried using a router for joinery, dovetails and finger joints, until today.

A days time in the garage making pine into chips and dust has taught me that for hogging off edges, chamfering and round overs, any old cheap bit works fine and leaves an ok edge. For joinery, cuts that need to fit together, and cuts that I really want to be crisp and clean, get a better bit. And for straights, try a spiral, you never know.

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2719 days


#34 posted 2691 days ago

Thanks for this posting, CC. I’ve been toying with getting a 4212 but decided to wait until I had real demand. Now I may go the 4216 route since I like finger joints so much, LOL.

I wonder if the 1/2 shaft vs the 1/4 shaft made the difference. Maybe you just had too much chatter going on with the 1/4… Have you ever had trouble with bits slipping in your 1/4 collet?

Here is a link to ColoradoClimber’s topic on the Porter Cable 4216 Dovetail Jig.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View coloradoclimber's profile

coloradoclimber

548 posts in 2693 days


#35 posted 2691 days ago

The 4216 adds the 1/4 inch spacing template. The 4212 has the 1/2 inch spacing template. You can make half blind, through, and sliding dovetail and 1/2 inch spaced finger joints with the 4212. The 4216 adds the 4215 kit, which is the ¼ spacing template, a couple bits, and a couple template guides.

The bits tried include:

1/4 inch shaft, 1/4 inch cutter non shear straight bit, brand new out of the box carbide tipped made in china, labeled Champion. Extremely bad tear out.

1/4 inch shaft, 1/4 inch cutter non shear straight bit, brand new out of the box carbide tipped made in china, labeled Workforce. Bad tear out, not as bad as the first bit but still bad.

1/2 inch shaft, 1/4 inch cutter non shear straight bit, unknown history, looked clean and sharp, 2 flute HSS, Amana brand. Still pretty bad tear out, not as bad as the two carbides, but not good enough.

1/4 inch shaft, 1/4 inch cutter up cut spiral bit, unknown history, looked a little used but not burnt, 2 flute HSS, couldn’t make out the name on the shaft. Worked GREAT. Clean cuts, almost zero tear out.

This was all cutting pine using the 1/4 inch spacing finger joint template.

Odd that you asked but yes, at one point the second bit, the carbide Workforce, did slip in the collet. I noticed it was slipping because it rode up into the collet and the depth of cut was getting progressively smaller. I took it out, cleaned it up, re-chucked it, and tried again. The tear out with and without slippage seemed similar, as in very bad. Maybe it was chatter but I don’t think so. I tried changing the feed rate, that didn’t seem to help.

I’ll be trying this same set of experiments on some hardwood, probably walnut, to see how much the wood makes a difference.

For now I’m going with a new up cut spiral as my recommend for cutting these 1/4 spaced fingers.

All in all I’m pretty happy w/ the PC jig. For a weekend dovetailer I was able to turn out a handful of pretty decent, tight fitting dovetails in pretty short order.

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3962 posts in 2689 days


#36 posted 2669 days ago

I have to throw in two cents toward Eagle America bits. Fine Woodworking just (June 2007 issue) did a roadtest on a bunch of bits, and Eagle and Whiteside Mfg came out smelling like roses. I like the fact that both brands don’t coat their bits. You can be sure the brazing of carbide to tool steel is flawless.

As a small boxmaker I appreciate Eagle’s minature frame and panel sets.

Random side note
I find it somewhat sad that it became the first of May three and a half hours ago and I have already sucked the life out of the June edition of my woodworking mag.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View USCJeff's profile

USCJeff

1044 posts in 2694 days


#37 posted 2669 days ago

Fine Woodworking test 18 profile bits in its latest issue. The top 5 results from best to worst according to them are:

Whiteside (best value too)
Eagle
Lee Valley
Southeast
Woodte

I was shocked when CMT, Amana, Frued,and Porter Cable scored MUCH lower than the above.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View Greg3G's profile

Greg3G

815 posts in 2711 days


#38 posted 2663 days ago

Has anyone used Woodline bits for any length of time….I recently purchased a rail/stile and panel set from them. I will probably use theme to make a hope chest very soon.

-- Greg - Charles Town, WV

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2787 days


#39 posted 2661 days ago

Let us know how that goes. I am looking for a rail and stile set as well. My first inclination is to MLCS, but would be open to other bits as well.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View WaywardHoosier's profile

WaywardHoosier

80 posts in 2661 days


#40 posted 2631 days ago

From the previous posts, what is “The Big Orange Store”?

-- WaywardHoosier - Behind schedule and over budget, but who's counting? Well of course she is!

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12260 posts in 2723 days


#41 posted 2631 days ago

Home Depot

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2647 days


#42 posted 2631 days ago

I notice that all these products pretty much have to adhere to close tolerances regarding the basic shape of the blanks.
It seems the the angle of attack (rake) and the density of the carbide make a huge difference in how well they cut.
The less expensive cutters generally use a lower grade carbide that has inclusion bodies in the material. They create stress cracks if they are near the cutting edges.
High end cutters usually boast ”micro grain Carbide” You will notice that the thickness of the carbide is heavier with more expensive cutters too.
If the dual or triple cut blades are not perfectly aligned there can be pronounced flutter
(AKA run out) this generally results in burning and a dull tool.

Also, if the shafts are not carefully ground they can contribute to run out as well.

If the carbide is under stress and “fluttering” you can expect a dull cutter in seconds.

Recently I experienced a burned carbide cutter and found to my amazement that the manufacturer had provided a down cut spiral cutter for an operation where the debris could not exit the cut. The result was quick and disastrous.
I have since switched to and up cut bur with better cutting and no significant tear out on the surface.
now, to speak to the question of what bit to buy:
I buy high end bits for high end projects. I started with an MLCS large kit and replaced my most used with either Lee Valley or House of Tools replacements.
I have just ordered some spiral cutters from Blades n Bits and have yet to test them in my shop.
I’ll keep you all posted.

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2719 days


#43 posted 2631 days ago

Thanks for the addition of your comments, Bob. Especially the info on the grain of carbide.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2647 days


#44 posted 2627 days ago

As promised, I recieved my new bits today and took a pic of the old (about 10 minutes cutting time)
along side the new solid carbide cutters I am replacing it with.
The darker bit is the older one and a down cut style with crudely defined cutters and quite obviousl blackening from the wood dust than could not escape the blind slots I was cutting.
The top bit (an up cutting style)s brand new and not tested yet but shows very definite cutting edges on the tip and a good solid ciutting rake on the shaft to move the debris out of the cut.
the older one is Highspeed steel and came with the inlay kit for $29.95. (Me stupid)

For what it’s worth the new bit was solid Tungsten Carbide and ran me $7.95 Cdn. ($7.50 US)

Here's the picture

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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