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Forum topic by toyguy posted 02-04-2008 03:24 AM 11741 views 3 times favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1651 posts in 3835 days

02-04-2008 03:24 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

As a new guy getting into routers… Just wondering what the general consensus from the LJ community would be on router bits? Quality vs. expense?
Mostly interested in the smaller getting started type bits….. Maybe sets?

Thanks guys

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

38 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4216 days

#1 posted 02-04-2008 05:57 AM

I’m telling you up front, most of the jocks are going to recommend that you stick with the high-end bits. But I’m going to somewhat go against that advice, and I’ll tell you why.

When I got my first router a couple of years ago, I wasn’t really sure exactly how much I was going to use it, and what type of work I was going to be doing most with it. So I bought an 18-pc. Ryobi set for, I think, $89. My thinking was that once I figured out which bits I used most frequently, I would upgrade those. As it turns out, I’m still using those bits, and I’m happy with them. I’ve added a few inexpensive Woodcraft bits to my collection, and have no complaints about them either.

Now if I was going to be doing some kind of large job where I was going to be using a specific bit extensively, I would shell out for a good one. But for my projects, which are mostly small boxes and the like, I don’t know that it would be worth the money to buy high quality bits just to have them spend most of the time on the shelf. If money was no object, it would be a different story. But, like most of us, I have to make trade-offs sometimes when deciding how to spend my woddworking dollars.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3986 days

#2 posted 02-04-2008 06:06 AM

I would agree with Charlie. Buy a set of cheap bits, and as you find out which ones you use and replace them
with better quality ones.

Some might say that the cheap ones might be dangerous in that they might break. I have never found that the case. If anything the carbide chips. The cheaper ones usually have lower quality carbide, and it’s thinner.

Most of the bits I have are cheap ones.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3872 days

#3 posted 02-04-2008 06:16 AM

I’m with Charlie M – you don’t have to buy the very best to get really good results. I buy a lot of Woodline bits (I have about 150), and I have been very happy with them 98% of the time. The couple of times there has been something wrong with a bit, I call them and they send a replacement out right away.

I used to only buy Whitesides, which are supposed to be top-of-the-line (and are priced top-of-the-line). I got a bad bit and called them and they insisted that there was no possible way one of their bits could have anything wrong with it. They refused to replace it, so I refuse to do business with them anymore.

I’d stay away from the bits Harbor Freight carries, though. They sell them for scrap metal prices, so I can’t imagine how they’d be of any quality.

-- -- --

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3872 days

#4 posted 02-04-2008 11:30 AM

I bought “good” for raised panels. Most of the rest of the bits I have are ‘ahem’ inexpensive.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4159 days

#5 posted 02-04-2008 01:52 PM

at an earlier discussion about this someone pointed out: do you want flying pieces of metal attacking you from a cheap bit that flies apart?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View toyguy's profile


1651 posts in 3835 days

#6 posted 02-04-2008 02:28 PM

Thanks for your input everyone.

I must admit, this is the thought process I was taking. Buy a lesser priced set and see from there. However I am concerned about bits falling apart in use. So I guess the real question should be, How do you tell a good bit from bad?.. price excluded.
Lower quallity carbide, thinner?

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View Critterman's profile


600 posts in 3808 days

#7 posted 02-04-2008 03:41 PM

I got to tell you I’ve found it’s really depends on the type of cuts you are making and the wood you are using. Most of the time I don’t see a difference, but every once in a while it can. And they keep coming up with new styles, for example the new freud bits with up and down cut. Haven’t seen or used one yet, but been times I think it would have saved me some work sanding and fixing things. I always wait until the “NEW” comes off the product before I buy, and the price settles down. Cuts with wood like Sapale where the grain swirls a better bit seems to cut better, but like I said most of the time it doesn’t matter. Even with harbor freight bits (no I didn’t buy them they were a gift LOL). But then I’m not like a lot of folks and use them everyday. I found keeping them very clean and lubricated helps all bits a plenty and I get pretty good cuts even from the cheap ones.

-- Jim Hallada, Chesterfield, VA

View MrWoody's profile


321 posts in 3772 days

#8 posted 02-04-2008 04:58 PM

Toyguy, I know who you are and where you live. :^)
My 2 cents, follow the consensus here, buy a small cheap set and see where you go with the new router.
If by cheap you mean a set on sale from CTC. If you mean Princess Auto or the flea market, don’t.
There are many different grades of carbide and different thicknesses and many different ways of soldering – gluing the carbide to the steel body. There are different grades of steel for the bodies as well.
I have broken a straight cutting bit from CTC, but I was abusing it and just damaged the project not me.
We’ll get together soon and discuss it.

-- If we learn from our mistakes, I'm getting a fantastic education.

View WhiskeyWaters's profile


213 posts in 3804 days

#9 posted 02-04-2008 05:56 PM

I’ve enjoyed my Craftsman (crapsman for most y’all?) bits – I got a roundover set on sale. If you don’t buy a big ol’ set, I’d say get a coupla roundovers and a couple straight bits. They work wonders for most projects, and until you’re building the fancy-schmacy stuff, I don’t see a need for many of the other bits.

I would get a half-inch shank though if you can.

-- make it safe & keep the rubber side down.

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 3988 days

#10 posted 02-04-2008 07:05 PM

Carbide. Whatever the make…get carbide. Router bits tend to burn up at high speeds and fast wood feeds, or when used on those real hardwoods. Carbide will hold it’s edge longer…just don’t drop them.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Bill Hall's profile

Bill Hall

166 posts in 3864 days

#11 posted 02-04-2008 08:03 PM

Stay away from HSS bits and go for the carbide. That said, I love bits. They ship for free, cut great and are moderately priced. Their “set” prices can give you a super discount. For instance:

Their customer support is great as well. I started out buying Freud bits one at a time, but after a chunk of one went flying across the room, I realized that pricier isn’t always better.


View toyguy's profile


1651 posts in 3835 days

#12 posted 02-04-2008 11:23 PM

Acually the MLCS is one of the places have have been looking at for a cheap starter set…... Thanks all for your suport, and Mr Woody, I already know your thoughts on the subject, but I’ll stop by one day soon to pick your brain….

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3797 days

#13 posted 02-05-2008 01:10 AM

a cheap set is good. also try pricecutter… They are the same company as Eagle american who you see on this site.

I buy whiteside for specialty or bits that I will use more often. When it comes to panel raising and the like, cheap bits have left me cheap results.

-- making sawdust....

View gunner's profile


11 posts in 3762 days

#14 posted 02-05-2008 03:15 AM

Hi everybody, first post here. I’m not an expert on the subject but I just bought a new PC 890 router and was searching for decent quality bits at a reasonable price and I found this.
Made in Canada and sold at a decent price.
They have an ebay store where you can get better prices than the web site.
I didnt figure that out until after I bought the 24 bit 1/2 in. set. I could have had the 35 bit set for only $5.00 more at the time.
The bits seem to cut good (but I may be stupid) and there is a warranty and return policy.
Hope this helps someone.

View toyguy's profile


1651 posts in 3835 days

#15 posted 02-05-2008 03:23 AM

Thanks for the link, I’ll have a look at this site.. Being a Canadian myself, I like buying Canadian.

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

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