Beginner router bits

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Forum topic by tazboy posted 01-13-2014 02:26 AM 1749 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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30 posts in 1193 days

01-13-2014 02:26 AM

Topic tags/keywords: router bits

I just got a router and now I’m looking for router bits. I know that doesn’t make sense because you use a bit for a certain purpose but I do have a few questions. First, is it a good idea to purchase a router bit set like MLCS -

Second, what are the most common router bits that people use? I’m thinking I would probably use a simple rounded-edge bit.

What are the most common quality bit makers? How long do those usually last? Are there any keywords or things I should look for in bits that make them quality? I would think that carbide bits are good. The MLCS bit set above has only carbide-tip bits. Are they that much worse than full carbide bits?

Thanks for helping out a newbie.

15 replies so far

View distrbd's profile


2220 posts in 1870 days

#1 posted 01-13-2014 02:56 AM

You can always use these bits :
Rabbet Router Bit with 6 Bearings Set.
Round Over.
T-Slot & T-Track Slotting.
Wavy Edge Molding/Classical Traditional Ogee.
Spiral set.
flush trim.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View gfadvm's profile


14932 posts in 2114 days

#2 posted 01-13-2014 03:04 AM

I would buy a n inexpensive set of bits. Use them until you decide which bits you use the most. And then replace just those with higher quality bits.

MLCS bits have received good reviews. I’m gradually replacing my bits with Whitesides.

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

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 1462 days

#3 posted 01-13-2014 03:07 AM

I have a lot of MLCS carbide-tipped router bits. They work fine.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View alohafromberkeley's profile


257 posts in 1828 days

#4 posted 01-13-2014 03:54 AM

MCLS also has up-cut and down-cut solid carbide bits for a good price. They have free shipping. I have returned bits that I wasn’t happy with and they gladly exchanged or replaced them no questions asked. The starter set you linked to seems like a good deal. I can’t remember anyone offering solid carbide in edge shapes. Too expensive…. If you’re new to routers you may think about a table & fence. Safer and more useful for a lot of operations. But, that’s just my 2 cents.

-- "After a year of doing general farmwork, it was quite clear to me that chickens and I were not compatible"-George Nakashima

View nwbusa's profile


1017 posts in 1710 days

#5 posted 01-13-2014 03:58 AM

I tend to do mostly edge treatments with my routers (i don’t use the router much for joinery) so round over, chamfer, and beading bits are important to me. Also pattern bits for working with templates. You don’t have to buy super expensive bits to start with but I find that when it comes to router bits, you get what you pay for. I had a cheap bit throw a bearing while mounted in the router table yesterday and nearly ruin the work piece. Was not impressed.

-- John, BC, Canada

View pintodeluxe's profile


4827 posts in 2237 days

#6 posted 01-13-2014 04:00 AM

Small roundover, 1/2” and 3/4” straight bits, 1/4” spiral bit, 14 degree dovetail bit, and various pattern / template routing bits are my most frequently used. I also use a chamfer bit and medium sized roundover bit from time to time.
I like Freud, Rockler and Whiteside bits equally well.

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

View ColonelTravis's profile


1159 posts in 1318 days

#7 posted 01-13-2014 04:08 AM

Check out Jim Heavy's intro to routers video, a big chunk of it is on bits. I’ve met him, very knowledgeable, good guy.

View Whiskers's profile


389 posts in 1451 days

#8 posted 01-13-2014 01:11 PM

+1 to buying a small set from someone like mlcs and upgrading when needed. MLCS make fine mid quality bits as cheap or cheaper than many other brands. The bits I find most useful are flush trim bits and pattern bits.

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1720 posts in 1393 days

#9 posted 01-13-2014 01:15 PM

I got the inexpensive skil bit set from lowes and am now replacing the ones I use most with more quality bits. but I still keep those bits around for if I need to rout a groove in plywood or use it on wood that I don’t care about. You will see what you will need most depending on what you build and need it for.

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View bondogaposis's profile


3972 posts in 1775 days

#10 posted 01-13-2014 01:51 PM

I would just get a set of straight bits and a set of roundover bits, and then add to that as needed for whatever you’re building at the time.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View BentheViking's profile


1763 posts in 1988 days

#11 posted 01-13-2014 02:09 PM

i too started with skil, but doing it again i think i’d have gone with mlcs.

Also you have to decide between 1/4” and 1/2” shanks. the one you linked is 1/2” which will work in most routers (some may require using a larger collet that usually is included), but it won’t work with palm/trim routers which typically require 1/4”

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

View bonesbr549's profile


1137 posts in 2491 days

#12 posted 01-13-2014 04:29 PM

My two cents worth is avoid the catch all sets. You wind up using parts and never touching the others. Get a couple spiral up-cuts and down-cuts, a few round over platforms and get the rest as you need them. I’d reccomend white side first.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

View knotscott's profile


7147 posts in 2799 days

#13 posted 01-13-2014 05:20 PM

IMO it’s hard to go wrong with the MLCS 15 pc set as a starter set for $42 shipped…..the quality is decent, they’re well proven, the set includes common profiles that you’re likely to use, they’re affordable, and their service is good. I’d avoid large sets of cheap bits, but this one makes sense IMO. Grizzly has a 15 pc set for ~ $40 plus s/h that’s roughly comparable, but s/h handling is higher. If you can spend more and want top shelf, the Whiteside 7 pc basic set or the Infinity 6 pc basic sets go for ~ $100.

Get 1/2” shank if you’re router will accept them.

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

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 2406 days

#14 posted 01-13-2014 05:33 PM

whiteside is the best bits. but go with mlcs first till you get the feel for what you want to make. You should buy bits as you need them for particular jobs. buying sets, is not the most cost effective, because your getting bits you may never use. most bits have carbide on the actual cutter edges, that where the action happens.

View Richard's profile


1871 posts in 2114 days

#15 posted 01-13-2014 05:51 PM

Like most others I think that MCLS set would give you most of what you will use on a regular basis and maybe some you won’t use very often. I started with a larger 50 piece cheap set and have replaced the straight cutters and roundovers and a few edgeing bits with better ones and picked up a good rabbeting bit set with 5 or 6 bearings to make different cuts. The 50 piece set was really larger than I should have got but I do still have them so I can try some of the other profiles that I most likely won’t use except to see how they look , but they are there if I need them and be upgraded if I use them enough.

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