Question about Router bits

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Forum topic by Whiskers posted 12-23-2012 02:27 AM 1811 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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389 posts in 2053 days

12-23-2012 02:27 AM

I took a giant plunge and have replaced my antique 1/4 hp black and decker router with both the Bosch 2 1/4 evspk pack and the Porter Cable 7518. The PC is destined for a table of course, and since the 690 and 890 series seem to have really terrible reviews of late, I went with the Bosch. They not only review well but I’ve had good luck with bosch tools and customer service. LOL, so far only problem I had with Bosch was my new SDS Rotary hammer came complete with a manual for a dremel moto tool. Not much use at the time but the lady in customer service got me a manual out right away and talked me thru all the features and things I needed to know about my new tool.

Anyway, here is the question, I’m looking to replace my bit set I had for my B&D, which wasn’t much admittedly. It was bought long ago though, so it probably wasn’t that shabby by todays standards. Not made in China anyway. It was Carbide but was dirt cheap, picked it up on sale somewhere. The B&D only took 1/4” shafts. Looks like the best deal for me to start is the old faithful 66 bit set from MLCS. The 45 bit set is more practical but I listed out the differences to see what I would gain and found that there would be 9 bits in the 66 bit set that would definately class out as very useful to have, which made the extra bits cost 6.66 or so each. Not bad considering.

I’m also looking at a large cabide bit from them for about $40 that will cut crown molding. Now that a big job for a bit. It has a profile face of about 2 1/4”. I want to run some surround sound speakers in a couple rooms of my house and easiest way is to hang the speakers near the cieling and run wires around it. Crown molding makes hiding wires really easy and we all know how expensive crown molding is. My question is, How many feet of molding can I expect to be able to produce from such a bit before it gets dull and will require being trashed. I imagine a bit that cheap and complex probably isn’t sharpenable.

20 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3603 days

#1 posted 12-23-2012 02:39 AM

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2590 days

#2 posted 12-23-2012 02:40 AM

the MLCS typically get pretty favorable reviews here just make sure you go with the 1/2” shanks.

in terms of the crown how much are you planning on doing? I am doing my whole house now and spent about $0.70/LF on white FJP. If your just doing the one room I cant imagine it will be cheaper to buy a bit and then rough stock than to buy a few pieces of molding. If your looking to do stained trim it may be a different story. Now if your just trying to make it so you can say you made it then go for it!

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2053 days

#3 posted 12-23-2012 02:47 AM

As I Said! the $40 crown molding bit is coming from MLCS, It is on sale. Not sure what FJP, stands for. I know that around here crown molding is high as heck, but I can get 1×4 yellow pine pretty cheap and knot free for the most part. Have 3 rooms to do, all 3 30’ long, 2 about 20’ wide and another about 30’ wide, so yeah I can save by cutting my own molding. And yeah, these only come on 1/2” shanks. As expensive as crown molding is around here, It would definately save me money since the bit is only around $40 for just one room. I might be able to find poplar or what they call white wood (mystery wood), but that stuff usually too knotty for something like this. I got a nice big stack of 6”x12’ clear knot free southern yellow pine in my garage right now, but I’m not going to cut it up for this, it already designated as drawer material for some workbenches and mobile stands I’m constructing.

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3603 days

#4 posted 12-23-2012 02:59 AM

Sorry I misunderstood ,I’ve always had good luck with MLCS router bits Good luck with your new routers and bits.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2053 days

#5 posted 12-23-2012 03:07 AM

FJP? Finger Jointed Pine? I seen that stuff, it ok if your going to paint I guess. One of the rooms I’m doing has stained chair rail and baseboards, would be better to put up stained in there. The garage I don’t care about. The other room is my living room, and although it was originally stained, I had to paint the baseboards in there cause the idiots who lived here before me couldn’t paint worth a damn and made a mess of them. They had also darkened really badly with age. The bedroom is much newer construction and the molding still looks nice. Even at 70c a linear foot, (30+30+20+20)X.70=$70, hmm, don’t know where you are getting your molding but you can’t get it that cheap around here. A single stick of the finger jointed pine is over $10.

View runswithscissors's profile


2767 posts in 2051 days

#6 posted 12-23-2012 03:10 AM

Grizzly has a similar 2 1/4” crown molding bit for 42.95. I plan to do the same thing when I finish off my basement. I’ll be making them out of alder, and won’t be painting or staining—just natural with a water based acrylic semi gloss for finish. I’ve used this before on oak and like it quite a bit. I wouldn’t expect the bit to dull with a room’s worth of molding unless you’re using really difficult material like teak or ironbark (not likely, eh?). Luckily, when I did my kitchen in natural oak, I was able to find most of the crown molding I needed at the ReStore (local non profit salvage enterprise). Had to buy new one long piece, shaped like a ski, but with heat I was able to straighten it. My point is that you make your own if you want something besides paint grade or can’t find the species you want.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2053 days

#7 posted 12-23-2012 03:14 AM

Run, You should review the posts here about router bits. Go to MLCS’s website and give them your email address and you’ll get a 10% goody coupon for being a new customer. The MLCS bits rated higher than the grizzly by far with users here and in a test done by fine woodworking some years ago. The MLCS bits are rated as middle road where grizzly tend to fall low middle road or low road.

View RogerM's profile


792 posts in 2425 days

#8 posted 12-23-2012 04:43 AM

If you are planning on doing a significant amount of crown molding I would be considering a bit from Whiteside. Their bits are a little pricey but will save you a lot of time and headaches.

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2053 days

#9 posted 12-23-2012 04:54 AM

I’ve already specified how much molding I’m going to be doing, I’m not going into the crown molding business. A whiteside bit would cost me a freaking fortune. I’ve seen their prices. For the cost of a single whiteside bit for crown molding I can equip my shop with router bits for everything. Your a lunatic Roger, jeesh, noone has answered the basic question

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10123 posts in 4079 days

#10 posted 12-23-2012 05:20 AM


I’m going to back up a little…

Being that you’ve had one Set of router bits before, you now KNOW what bits you used and those that you didn’t.

To me, it would make no sense to buy another SET (unless you know you will actually use all of them)... BUT, to buy quality bits like Whiteside of just the bits you plan on using… including your molding bits… Keep the original bit set you have & use the odd-ball bits when the need arises.

IMHO, Whiteside is the BEST… I think I could guarantee that you would get the most mileage out of a Whiteside bit than any other bit on the market; although Freud, with it’s Triple & Quad winged bits, may be pretty good too.

You can sharpen your bits if you only sharpen the flat edges and DO NOT attempt to sharpen the non-flat free form edges of the bits that would change the form… I’m not sure but I think Whiteside will sharpen them too… and you would get your bits renewed to NEW performance.

Just going by the experiences I have learned by doing just that…

Most of the bits in the Sets I’ve purchased have never been used… & I picked them up on eBay… way back then…

I think you have upgraded to really GOOD routers & will be very happy with them.
... I still drool over the Triton though… LOL

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View jumbojack's profile


1677 posts in 2650 days

#11 posted 12-23-2012 05:24 AM

I love MLCS bits. I dont know about buying the set however. I bought one of their 10 bit sets and still have not used half of them. Get a straight bit set, I use them mostly anyway, and a round over set. Then buy them as you need them. MLCS offers free shipping and from order to delivery is about four days. ive never done crown moulding but I did by MLCS stacked rail and stile bit and did an entire kitchen remodel, 17 doors and they turned out great. Still lots of life left in that bit. That said my pattern bit got kinda dull and I carefully honed it with one of those flat diamond sharpeners and presto brand new bit.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2603 days

#12 posted 12-23-2012 06:23 AM

MLCS bits are decent throwaways, but they dull quickly. Their straight bit set is a good set since each bit ends up costing only a few $$.

My go-to router bits are whitesides from hartvilletool or holbren, and freud and cmt bits are great too. Amazon sometimes has sales on them.

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

View pintodeluxe's profile


5706 posts in 2840 days

#13 posted 12-23-2012 06:37 AM

Only buy carbide tipped router bits, anything else is a waste of time. I will always DIY, but crown molding may actually be cheaper to buy.
1. You often need 2-3 specialty bits at $80-120 each.
2. Sanding will be extensive.
3. Many stock profiles are available.

Otherwise, you can make crown with a tablesaw.
As far as router bits I like Freud, Whiteside, and Rockler.

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

View knotscott's profile


8057 posts in 3402 days

#14 posted 12-23-2012 11:37 AM

MLCS were my first bits…..$40 for the most common 15 profiles. It was a decent quality set, and in hind site was a very good choice for a beginner. It’s darn near impossible to predict how many linear feet of you use you’ll get….it depends on the material, how clean you keep the bits, the speeds, moisture content, etc. My MLCS bit lasted 3 to 4 years….no regrets with the $40 expenditure, but I agree with Joe, and would not spend that much money for such a large set of MLCS bits at this stage. I’d rather put the same amount of money towards higher quality bits from a brand like Whiteside, Eagle America, or Infinity….you get fewer bits, but they’ll perform better, last longer, and are worth resharpening. You can buy only the profiles that see the most use to stay within the same budget. Whiteside offers a 7 piece set of the basic common profiles for ~ $90, then you can add specialty profiles as needed. I’ve never regretted spending the extra money for higher quality cutters.

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

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 2053 days

#15 posted 12-23-2012 04:03 PM

Um, Joe, yeah I have a little set of bits that I used before, but to tell the truth I’ve never used a router much. I bought the little B&D unit right after I graduated college for a specific task. It performed spectacular. I built a dog mansion. The problem at the time was I didn’t know where or what I would end up doing since I had just graduated from school, so it was required the dog house was portable. At the time I had a male golden retriever and I wanted a female to accompany him. The female came about a year later. Anyway the house I built was a basic 3×3 cube. The walls dove tailed together with a single dove tail. Very sturdy but easily disassembled and moved. It also had a covered porch, which was cool. The dogs loved to lounge on the front porch of the house under the shade of the porch.

The dog house survived going from Alabama, to Louisiana where I worked for awhile as a accountant for a offshore pipe laying company, than back to Alabama when Reagan killed the oil industry in the US. It survived numerous moves around Alabama for about 20 years after that. Needless to say, The house outlived the dogs it was built for.

I’ve had that little B&D router for a long time, and it works well, no complaints, but it is a toy compared to a real router like the ones I’ve now got. I guess it will always have a place in my tool chest for light weight tasks. People buy special routers for laminate work right?

In the past, I didn’t have the time, opportunity, or tools to spend my time working with wood. I was a computer programmer most of my life. Not a tradesman. I was a rocket scientist literally. Now I’m kind of forced into retirement. Thanks to our current administration, we have no space program. It more important to invade 3rd world countries to steal their oil than have a space program.

I digress, not going into my political views, sigh.

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