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  • Router Bit Question

    I am just beginning to get into serious woodworking. I have just purchased a PC router set (plunge and fixed) and wanted some ideas for the most used router bits to begin gathering the bits I need. I already have a Bosch 3/4" roundover, 1/2" Flush trim, and 3/4" mortising bit.

    Any suggestions on make or type that will serve me in cutting box joints, some dado cuts, and the best edge finishing bits?

  • #2
    Although I have done a bit of woodworking in the past, I just began the purchase of tools for myself to suport the hobby. I asked the same question to my brother-in-law (who is a champ at all wood/metal working) and wound up answering the question myself. I asked, "Is it a good idea to purchase a set of bits for a good price, not knowing the quality of the bits?" After he commented that he'd used a beading bit for close to a thousand feet of board, I realized, "Just buy a decent set to get a base of bits, and if you wear out any bits, replace them with other (possibly better quality) bits." It seems like a pretty good philosophy and if I decide otherwise, I'll be sure to let everyone know.

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    • #3
      I can only say that a set with multiple bits should be purchased from a quality name such as Frued, Katana, MLCS or CMT. Expect to pay $100 for a 20 to 25 bit set. This will get you the basics.

      You will then find the need for more speciality bits such as edge profiles, miter lock, raised panel sets, etc.

      The most important thing to do is look at what you plan on making for the next few projects, and what you will need as far as router bits. You may find it better to buy sets such as a full striaght bit set, plywood straight bit set for dadoing. Round over and champer sets. You can get sets with different edge profiles and cabinet sets.

      It all depends on what you have planned for projects. My suggestion would be buy the sets as the project calls for them, but buy quality.

      Some say buy HSS bits as they are easily sharpened with a diamond stone. Others swear by carbide bits. If you are not comfortable with sharpening router bits, buy carbide. They will hold an edge much longer. They can be sharpened but takes more finese.
      John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"http://www.woodys-workshop.com\" target=\"_blank\">www.woodys-workshop.com</a>

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      • #4
        My router is a 1 3/4 HP PC. Are there limitations on bit sizes I should consider? I know to stay away from panel cutters until I get into the 2 3/4HP and greater range in my router table (need to wait for the slush fund to build up and get that Milwaulkee I have been drooling over), but are there other types of bits to avoid to prevent damaging the motor in my router?

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        • #5
          An excellent book on routers and the accessories you use with them is "The Router Book" by Pat Warner. Good router bits are not a cheap investment. You'll be way ahead of the game if you have some knowledge about what it is you expect to do with your router before you plunk down money for some bits that you may or may not use.
          Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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          • #6
            Pat Warner's book is good----Pat Spielman's "The New Router Handbook" has an excellent buying guide for bits. However, watch out for bargin sets---if you are getting 20-25 bits for $100---beware.

            Make it a rule for yourself not to buy 1/4" shanks except for 1/4" bits----also, as to sets---I think you'd find much more use for let's say a set of straight cutting bits, round-over, or ogie bits than for some of the sets with a wide variety of profiles.

            I've been getting Whitesides that they have on special, once a month, at Woodcraft. Just stick with the good companies---Whiteside, Freud, CMT, Amana, etc.
            Dave

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            • #7
              Stay away from the no-name bits. If you go for a reknown brand name, you may even want to only purchase the bits you need and build your set up over a longer period of time. Might cost more that way but the bits you have will be used and not just sit there looking pretty. If you are planning any heavy work ie. raised pannels, etc. most of the bits are only available in one-half inch shanks due to the lateral stress placed on the shank by a larger sized cutting head. Plan for a table-mounted router with a half inch collet....you wont go wrong!
              [img]smile.gif[/img]
              Chris Berg

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              • #8
                My advice would be to purchase the 66-piece MLCS set for $190. I bought their 30-piece set for $100 soon after acquiring my first router thinking it would contain all the bits I would need for the foreseeable future. I have since purchased several bits for $25 to $30 apiece that were used for a specific task and would have been included in the larger set had I purchased it, but the cost of purchasing individual name-brand bits has easy exceeded the cost of the 66-piece set. Obviously you would not expect to obtain the same quality cut with a bit that cost $3 compared to a $30 bit, but I have been pleasantly surprised after routing several hundred feet of lumber with a single bit and still achieving satisfactory results. There is a very strong possibility that you have underestimated your expectations for your future routing needs, go with a big set, then purchase individual superior quality bits for specific tasks such as raised panels.

                Woodslayer

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                • #9
                  You guys offer great advice but can someone spell out the acronyms of the bit mfgs? Who are MCLS and the others? Thanks
                  murph

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                  • #10
                    MCLS----Many Cheap Little Shirts
                    Dave

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                    • #11
                      Link to MLCS: http://mlcswoodworking.com/

                      Woodslayer

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                      • #12
                        Spowell,
                        If You Plan to make Raised Panel Doors I would strongly recomend a 3hp or bigger for smoother cuts on your end grains also beware of Bosch bits, the carbide comes off the bit itself under high heat, I would recommend Freud, the are tough about middle of the price chart and hold an edge for a long time, and as far as the types of bits, Classic, Ogee, Dovetail, Roundovers, Panel and Rail and Stile cutters ( after you get a bigger router) I burned up 2 of the 1 1/2 Porter Cables Routing Oak, so I went to the Milwaukee, 2 1/2 and havent had any complaints.
                        Phillip Allen
                        Allen Quality Trim and Woodworking

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