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How did I destroy two router bits?

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Forum topic by Purrmaster posted 616 days ago 1533 views 0 times favorited 30 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Purrmaster

777 posts in 718 days


616 days ago

I just killed two good router bits. The edges appear to have snapped or sheared off. I couldn’t believe it. These were both carbide router bits with 1/2 inch shanks. I was using my router table.

I was trying to cut a rabbet into some purpleheart. Things seemed to be going okay but then I started getting weird vibrations. I stopped the machine to find out that the edges were gone. Broken off. It wasn’t a case of a bad joint between the carbide edges and the rest of the bit.

In other words, I don’t think I can blame the bit manufacturer. I can only assume I did something wrong.

One bit was from MCLS woodworking (their 15 bit starter set) and the other was a Wood River (Woodcraft) bit. I’ve used the bits before on other tasks both topside and with the router table and they were fine. Both bits are pretty new (in the fact the Wood River one was brand new).

Is it possible that purpleheart is just too hard for routing?

I’d like to figure out how I screwed up so I can avoid more destroyed bits.


30 replies so far

View live4ever's profile

live4ever

983 posts in 1636 days


#1 posted 616 days ago

If I had to guess it would be taking too large a bite in one pass on a very hard wood. How much were you trying to take off in each pass?

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1734 days


#2 posted 616 days ago

Purpleheart is obviously a very dense wood. Usually, with the denser species, it si recommended to take multiple passes and adjust the fence a little bit at a time to gradually reach the depth you want.

I wouldn’t let the manufacturer off the hook entirely though. A 15 bit set like this from MCLS is around 40 bucks. That means each carbide bit is around 3 bucks. Take away the markup from production, and I am guessing the amount of carbide is pretty minimal.

I generally recommend that when people buy sets, they buy it based on the bit type they need for a project. For example, if you need a 1/2 inch roundover bit, get the full set of four if you can. That will cost you around 40 bucks also, but each bit will be about 10 bucks a piece and probably will give you better carbide at a reasonable price. And, you more than likely will use the whole set. Some bits I just buy separately from MCLS. I pay more, but get a better product than what is given in these types of sets.

I have no experience with woodriver so can’t speak about that particular bit. How much were you cutting on one pass?

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1734 days


#3 posted 616 days ago

Obviously a common theme here :) live4ever posted while I was typing.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

777 posts in 718 days


#4 posted 616 days ago

I have a feeling the answer may be trying to cut too much.

I was probably trying to cut a rabbet about 3/4 of an inch deep and probably about 4 inches long. I was munching on a substantial amount of wood.

I’m pretty green with routers but I made deep cuts before and didn’t have this issue. But purpleheart is easily the heaviest wood I’ve ever worked with.

I would blame the maker except the same thing happens with two different bits from entirely different sources? The common thread is me and I blame myself. Hence why I don’t want it to happen again.

I would have thought if I was cutting too much that the result would be that the router would bog down. Not that the carbide would break.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1734 days


#5 posted 616 days ago

My guess is your motor was stronger than the bit. The bit broke before the motor could bog.

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2709 posts in 1202 days


#6 posted 616 days ago

It was probably a combination of bit brand and taking too much in a single pass.
I work fairly often with purpleheart and use whiteside bits and haven’t had any issues, but I take small bites too.

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

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6923 posts in 1539 days


#7 posted 616 days ago

I had an Amana 1/2in shank 1/4in upcut bit break off on my horizontal mortiser. I swear I was just starting the cut and really did NOT think that I had taken too big a bite, and the bit just broke off at the 1/4—1.2 shank base. While Amana warrants their bits, the hoops you have to jump through (shipping original back) costs you nearly as much as the individual bit.

I just went out and purchased another, and saved myself the grief. I also pay very close attention to how I use them because I do not want to think that I had missed something or caused the break from poor technique.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1784 days


#8 posted 616 days ago

I think it’s the quality of the bits.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2480 posts in 977 days


#9 posted 616 days ago

Those are not the best bits, but taking a 3/4” bite is way too much for a single pass in purple heart, no matter what bit you are using. I wouldn’t take a bite that big on pine.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Purrmaster's profile

Purrmaster

777 posts in 718 days


#10 posted 616 days ago

If it was just the bits I could see getting a Freud or Whiteside bit. But I don’t want to get an even more expensive bit and then wreck that.

So the consensus seems to be that I took too big a bite too quickly. I guess I’m still amazed that carbide met purpleheart and the purpleheart won.

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1548 days


#11 posted 616 days ago

I’ll bet if you send an email to MLCS and tell them your bit broke they will replace it. Don’t know about Whiteside as I don’t use their bits(nothing wrong with them just don’t use them)

-- Life is good.

View ajosephg's profile (online now)

ajosephg

1850 posts in 2186 days


#12 posted 616 days ago

I never take more than 3/8 at a time with a 3/4 bit.

-- Joe

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

904 posts in 650 days


#13 posted 616 days ago

Was this cut on an edge or somewhere in the middle of the wood? If the latter, it may be the bit wasn’t clearing the waste out of the rabbet fast enough. Not sure whether that can overstresss a bit, but it’s something to ponder.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2709 posts in 1202 days


#14 posted 616 days ago

If you know where to shop for whitesides, they’re at or cheaper than a lot of the store brand bits. Check holbren or hartvilletool.

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

View Gshepherd's profile

Gshepherd

1465 posts in 827 days


#15 posted 615 days ago

I don’t care what brand you use they will all be trashed out when you take way to much at one time. Not to mention your router bearings. It is just not a safe practice. I have a set of Wood River and they have been great. Whiteside and Freud as well.

-- What we do in life will Echo through Eternity........

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