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Router Bit Question

by gfadvm
posted 05-16-2013 01:56 AM

24 replies so far

View Straightbowed's profile


717 posts in 2319 days

#1 posted 05-16-2013 02:04 AM

big difference to me, more balanced smoother cut, but I like Grizzly router bits, but I love Whiteside

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

View Straightbowed's profile


717 posts in 2319 days

#2 posted 05-16-2013 02:06 AM

Whiteside bits are the smoothest cuttin bit Ive used but I would like to try some Infinity heard they cut smooth also

-- Stevo, work in tha city woodshop in the country

View nomercadies's profile


589 posts in 2360 days

#3 posted 05-16-2013 02:07 AM

If anyone knows how Diablo bits fit into the comparison, I’d like to know that too. Thanks for asking GF.

-- Chance Four "Not Just a Second Chance"

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8081 posts in 2350 days

#4 posted 05-16-2013 02:10 AM

I don’t know Andy, but I can’t imagine that for hobby woodworking with simple fluted or round over bits that you will notice a huge difference.

I think the Grizzly bits are a pretty darn good value.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View kdc68's profile


2657 posts in 2298 days

#5 posted 05-16-2013 02:15 AM

Good question…I own a few of the purple bits. They are supposed to be the higher grade carbide. They are even cheaper when you buy 3 or more. I own American Eagle bits too, which are considered high quality. Both the Grizzly purple and American Eagle have performed great IMO..
Looking forward to seeing what others will post

-- Measure "at least" twice and cut once

View vonhagen's profile


537 posts in 2386 days

#6 posted 05-16-2013 02:17 AM

stick with the cheapest ones, you will find no difference. i use mostly turn a knives, way cheaper than buying a whole new shank when the bit gets dull or chipped but these are mostly all pattern and morticing bits. also andy i bought a 300 600 grit dmt dia file to sharpen my small profile bits and they work great. the turn a knives run about 5 bucks each and i get 2 times the use out of them and just throw them away if they get chipped. tools

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

View a1Jim's profile


117113 posts in 3598 days

#7 posted 05-16-2013 02:17 AM

Maybe it’s psychological because of there cost, but I think they cut much better. I would follow up buy saying that I would not replace all of your router bits to start ,just get one that you use the most and see what you think.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View vonhagen's profile


537 posts in 2386 days

#8 posted 05-16-2013 02:41 AM

remember this andy that high speed tool steel cuts way smother than carbide but dulls faster. all the large profile moulder and shaper knives i make are high speed steel and i can throw the whole head in the grinder when they get dull and high speed steel is less prone to chipping. some carbides will chip by just touching any steel surface but cut like butter on poplar. as far as 1/4 inch shank bits go they are mostly a decent grade of carbide and made by cnc grinders and have to pass ul standards to get into the country i believe. lietz are the best bits imo but are only 1/2 inch drive and above. amana is good as well.

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

View vonhagen's profile


537 posts in 2386 days

#9 posted 05-16-2013 02:42 AM

i agree with a1 jim

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2711 days

#10 posted 05-16-2013 02:53 AM

Thanks for the input. I think A1Jim wins the prize for best advice tonight:replace a frequently used bit and make my comparison. Thanks Jim.
That was just too common sense to occur to me!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2598 days

#11 posted 05-16-2013 02:55 AM

Better quality bits stay sharper longer, are usually sharper to begin with (noticeable when cutting) and have more carbide for sharpenings.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 3126 days

#12 posted 05-16-2013 02:56 AM

Gee Andy, most of my router bits are Vermont American. Maybe that’s why I don’t use a router much! Not much help am I!! I do usually try to buy the better of 2 options if I can

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3330 days

#13 posted 05-16-2013 03:25 AM

I have a mix of all sorts of bits…including whiteside, freud and others that I don’t even remember what brand they are. The frued quadra-cut bits do a great job on round overs and rarely ever burn especially since I always cut a bit shy of my desired results and then make a final light pass.
Whiteside are my favorites for the carbide spiral bits and the pattern bits.
I think it is best to try several brands and see what works best for what wood types you use.

View DocSavage45's profile


8587 posts in 2864 days

#14 posted 05-16-2013 05:36 AM

Watched a Marc Adams training video today on routers. Pretty sharp guy. Has the biggest woodworking school in USA.

His advice was pretty logical but it requires comparison shopping. More carbide means more times you can sharpen them. The amount of metal backing the carbide is also a factor. His next comment was how refined is the edge? How well was it milled. Like a well honed chisel.

He mentioned that is how he compares high and low end bits at trade shows.

You would probably need to go to a Rockler or Woodcraft store to compare your favorite cutters.

I understand that Freud Bits are made in Italy if that moves you in any direction.

Report back on what you think?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Boxguy's profile


2677 posts in 2289 days

#15 posted 05-16-2013 06:54 AM

According to Jim Heavy carbide scraps are remelted and then made into sheets that are in turn made into new bits. The cheaper bits are from the second, third, or fourth remelting. Carbide loses some quality with each re-melt.

The more expensive bits are cut from the first sheet. They last longer, and are better made if you look at them under a microscope.

I agree with A1 Jim. Buy a cheap big set and replace the ones you use most often with better quality bits. When they start to burn on cherry or maple it is probably time to replace them. 1/2 inch shanks will give you much better results.

-- Big Al in IN

View bluekingfisher's profile


1250 posts in 3001 days

#16 posted 05-16-2013 08:05 AM

You might not notice an immediate difference Andy, However over a period of time the quality bits will stay sharp longer therefore crisper cuts for longer. Cheaper bits have a lesser grade carbide in the blade cutters The quality bits can also be serviced by having the cutters replaced when worn out after several sharpenings.

Besides, if you buy an economy set you’ll most likely not use half of them so false economy. I would buy quality bits for and when you need them.

-- No one plans to fail, they just, just fail to plan

View wbrisett's profile


203 posts in 2370 days

#17 posted 05-16-2013 09:33 AM

RT: > Maybe that’s why I don’t use a router much!

Robert: Use your router! Outside of the table saw, the router has to be one of the most versatile tools in a workshop, heck, you can plane wood with a router and the right bit. Need a mortise and tenon? Grab the router. Need to join two pieces of wood? Grab the router. Need to make a sign? Grab the router…. OK, you get the point. I would highly recommend you look closer at your router and get familiar with it. There are so many things it can do both in and out of a router table that make it one of my favorite tools outside the table saw… (truth disclaimer, maybe it’s tied with my scroll saw, I really enjoy working with that tool as well).

As far as bits go, I think you’ve gotten great advice here and Bluekingfisher, took my main concern with some of the less expensive bits. I said this on another thread recently, but if I’m not going to use a bit that often, then MLCS and American Eagle are two that I look at first usually. If it’s a long term bit, then I tend to go with bits I don’t mind spending a bit more money on since I know I can sharpen them, and get many years of use out of them.

View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3397 days

#18 posted 05-16-2013 09:44 AM

Whiteside, Eagle America, and Infinity are the best bits I’ve used. Most of the Eagle America bits are made by Whiteside. The cut should be cleaner with less chatter and vibration, and the edge should hold longer. The carbide is better, the steel is better, the bearings are better, the design is better, etc. WS sells a set of the 7 most common profiles, Infinity has a set of the 6 most common profiles that make the price per bit fairly reasonable, and they’re all bits that you will use. Those sets may not help those who already own a bunch of bits, but it’s food for thought as an alternative for those contemplating plunking down $100 for a higher quantity of lower quality bits.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2825 days

#19 posted 05-16-2013 11:28 AM

I am a firm believer in 1/2” shank bits, but, I know there are times you need 1/4”. I’m not familiar with Grizz bits. I have a set from Woodline, and a few from Whiteside. I think the only way to have “good” bits, is to take multiple passes. IMO

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3456 days

#20 posted 05-16-2013 12:52 PM

Andy, I have a lot of bits including MLCS, Freud, Milwaukee (Freud), Grizzly,and Amana. The Amana’s are definitely the best, but having said that, all of the bits I have do a decent job and last.
You must pay attention to Speed, Material and Thickness of cut – yes multiple passes is best. Nobody seems to realize that a cutting tool needs to be set to the materials being cut, so the above parameters should adhered to. Many bit manufacturers include speed/material settings, but I am not sure if anyone pays attention to them, which is a pity, because a bit with the correct cutting settings can do a wonderful job and prevent damage to the bit as well.
Just think of it as operating a machine tool lathe where feed rates, tool position and number of small cuts are required to produce a good result, providing a good finish and preventing tool “dig in” and not damaging the lathe.

Using settings will make almost any router bit perform well.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2711 days

#21 posted 05-16-2013 04:46 PM

Thanks for the absolute wealth of information!

My experience has been limited to Grizzly and lesser quality bits. It seems to me that it is cheaper to replace bits as they dull as opposed to spending a LOT for high quality bits. If this were a production shop where I was making a living, I would definately buy top of the line.

The same holds for my tablesaw blades. I thought I was really splurging when I went to Freud Diablos! But they do serve my needs very well.

I try to make my hobby pay it’s own way so I’m pretty careful about spending money.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View pintodeluxe's profile


5701 posts in 2835 days

#22 posted 05-16-2013 05:01 PM

If you sharpen your bits with a diamond hone, more carbide = more sharpenings.
I have had good luck with Rockler, Whiteside, Amana, and Freud bits.
Carbide vs. HSS was the huge improvement.
One brand vs. another brand maybe small improvements.
Small bearings on cheap router bits will gouge softwoods.

My Rockler 2” pattern routing bit is the one that amazes me. It just erases wood. Nice.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Jeff's profile


438 posts in 3216 days

#23 posted 05-16-2013 05:26 PM

As with any cutting tool keeping it clean is very important. A bit gummed up with resin will burn and chip even though it might be perfectly sharp under the resin.
As far as bits, I think if you buy a recognized name like those mentioned here, you can’t go wrong. From my personal experience I would recommend Lee Valley bits.

View mbs's profile


1656 posts in 2961 days

#24 posted 05-16-2013 07:26 PM

I like whiteside, Freud, Eagle America and Amana. I bought set of woodline that I don’t like. I also don’t like the cheap ones that the box stores sell (b&D?) The cut and vibration don’t compare to better brands whiteside. I could do a better job and getting mine sharpened or learning to do it myself. I too like 1/2” shank. They are much safer that 1/4”.

Andy – I usually buy my router bits when they go on sale. Or I watch craigslist and find someone who is selling a set but has only used one or two bits in the set. I rarely pay more than 40-50% of retail for bits unless I need something specific very quickly.

Gotta put a little gloat in – My PC 7518 3.25 hp router bearings went out yesterday. It’s 2.5 weeks to get them fixed. I looked to buy a new router to fit in the router lift and it would cost more than $300. Went to Craigslist and found one in like new condition for $75. CHa Ching!

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

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