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Router Bits

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  • Router Bits

    I have a general question about router bits. I was looking to try some basic router work for the first time. I went to buy a couple of bits and was wondering about the quality of craftsman or skill bits. I know they will not be a high quality bit, but for a non professional will they do decent work.

    I would also like to know what kind (brand and model) router would be good to start with also. I don't want to buy something cheap but I also do not want to spend $250.

  • #2
    Like most everything else, low quality router bits will produce low quality results. I would suggest that you purchase your bits from a company that actually makes bits and not from one that has them made for them. Whiteside, Freud, CMT, Amana, are some of the better ones.
    I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


    • #3
      When it comes to bits you get what you pay for. I started with Craftsman router kit 10 years ago which came with some bits that were hard to work with and would burn the wood if you didn't keep moving so my advice would be invest a few more dollars and get quality bits. HD has bosch or freud and Woodcraft on 119 is another good place to check out bits. Porter Cable will be my next router. Hope this helps... Roll Tide


      • #4
        Check this link and go to the router bits. Costly but worth every penny. They are great bits and blades.
        I came...<br /><br />I saw...<br /><br />I changed the plans.


        • #5
          The best way to get started is buy a set. You can get sets in straight, and various profiles. Or you can get a multitude of bits that will suit most basic routing operations from about a dozen to 66 bits.

          I purchased the MLCS 66 piece kit and used a good many of them. At the sale price, it was less than $3 per bit. I have no problem with the way they cut and seam to retain a good edge. Most manufactures of bits sell kits now. The one's I have not had good luck with is Grizzlys. Price Cutters Budget brand is better than Grizzlys.

          For a router I would suggest the Porter Cable Dual Base kit with the precission fence. I take it you don't have a router table (yet) so the fence you will find invaluable. That's going to be up around the $250 range, but you'll be pleased with the purchase and not finding yourself looking for another router any time soon.
          John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a>


          • #6
            My opinion differs on sets. Many suggest (and I agree) buy bits as you need. Buying sets can be cheaper but the savings are eaten up with paid for bits that are never used. What happens with sets is you get many bits that you never use. My first set of bits was a 6 piece set of Freuds that I bought 7 years ago. The set included a 1/2" round nose, 45 degree chamfer, 1/2" round over, Roman ogee, 1/2" Cove and a rabbeting bit,

            I have yet to use the Ogee, roundnose or Cove bit. The chamfer bit was used once.

            I did buy a Freud 1/2" straight and 1/2" flush trim. These two get lots of use. Since then I have purchased many bits. I bought a couple of dovetail bits with out any specific use mind, but I have never used them. However, the dovetail bit included with my Keller jig, gets lots of use.

            For learning you'll always find uses for a 1/2" straight bit, and a 1/2" flush trim bit. A 1/4" and 1/2" round over are useful as well. After that wait till you have a specific need and buy the bit you need.

            Finally, when ever possible buy 1/2" shank bits. The thick shaft will provide longer life and less vibration. Sometimes this is not possible, (i.e. dovetail jig bits, pattern bits, etc.), but get 1/2" if possible.

            As for routers, there are as many opinions about the best router as there are butt-holes. My first router was a PC 693PK, 1 3/4" HP, with Fixed and plunge base. Very nice router and it did all that I needed at the time. I wanted more power and VS for larger panel bits, so I sold it and bought a DeWalt DW618PK, 2 1/4 HP with VS, fixed and plunge base. This set up can be had for about $230 from Northwest Power Tools with free shipping. I later bought a second DW DW618 fixed base. Two routers are nice for use with some dovetail jigs. The DeWalts are great as well, and are much more refined than the PC 693 kit. PC has come out with the new 890 fixed/plunge kit, but it was a day late for me. The only downsides for the DW618 is that there are no fine adjusters available for the plunge base. For more on routers, see Pat Warners site.

            I have been eyeing an even bigger (3HP) router for my router table and will likely get a Hitachi M12V, or a Milwaukee 5625.

            [ 04-01-2004, 03:29 PM: Message edited by: Darrell ]


            • #7
              Has anyone got the PC 890 series router? I'm looking closely at the PC. PC has a $25 rebate on purchases over $150 and $50 for over $300. I have a Sears router insert on my TS2424. I am trying to find out if the diameter and screw patterns for the PC 890's will fit the Sears router insert. If any one has an 890(fixed base) what is it's diameter? I have checked at Lowes and HD but neither have the 890's to check measurements.



              • #8
                Check out Woodline router bits. All there bits come with a lifetime guarantee. Something breaks, call them and they send you another one. There is no hassle with sending in the old bit. I got the 6pc cabinet set and a couple of top bearing dovetail bits from them and they are excellent.



                • #9
                  I didnt mention it before, but Woodline is who I get all my bits from now. Are they as good as the Freuds, CMT's or Whitesides? I dont know. I have noticed that the paint on the Freuds hold up better and the carbide is a bit thicker than the Woodlines. But I get everything I need from the Woodlines. My bits dont get a lot of use. The Woodlines are a good value.

                  My current collection of 35 bits include:
                  19 - Woodline
                  9 - Freud

                  27 - 1/2" shank
                  8 - 1/4" shank

                  [ 04-01-2004, 03:39 PM: Message edited by: Darrell ]


                  • #10
                    I've got good things to say about MLCS, they're at a great price and good bits. I'm in favor of buying kits, but it depends on how creative you are & your willingness to try new things.

                    For a low-priced router, the Skil was rated highly in a recent test of entry level routers. I'd still recommend buying a better router, but I understand that sometimes money is a little tight.


                    • #11

                      If you could manage to swing it and budget the $250 you mentioned I would go this way, $203 for the Makita RF1101 combination kit delivered to your door
             and $40 for the MLCS 15 piece bit set.
                      I’m a believer in the kits, I purchased the 30-bit set when I started out and wish I had purchased the 66-bit set. Several times I ended up paying upwards of $30 for a bit locally that I used on a single project and that bit would have been included in the larger set had I purchased it originally. The added expense has far exceeded the additional money that I would have paid for the larger set. The 15-piece set would most likely provide you with the basic bits you would need to get you on your way with only a minor investment.
                      The aforementioned Makita currently represents the most bang for the buck in the 2.25 hp combo category (my opinion, certainly others will disagree). If that stretches your budget too far I would step to the Milwaukee 5615-20 1.75 hp body-grip router delivered for $153 from the same place and if you need to economize more I would step to the PC 9690 1.5 hp for $123 delivered again from the same place.
                      Routing is one of the most enjoyable aspects of woodworking, purchasing inferior equipment may prove to be a frustrating experience and point one to the illusion that it is more anguish then it is worth.

                      Good luck with your search



                      • #12
                        I recently bought an 890 after years of making due with a big, heavy PC Speedmatic and couple of PC model 100's (a solid little router but it only accepts a 1/4" collet). The 890 uses the same base as the old 690 and other small PC routers (5 3/4" diameter & 3- hole pattern). Overall the 890 is a better design than the 690 but I would not recommend the dual base kit. The fixed base and motor are great but the plunge base is mediocre. It looks all new, but the plunge rods and bushings are no better than the 690. It's just as sloppy and sticky. The Bosch 1617 kit is about as sloppy but has smoother plunge. If you want a tight plunge base the Makita FR1101 kit is a better bet. I'm not trying to talk you out of the PC. I like mine fine, but I wish I'd saved $50 and bought just the fixed base model. BTW, the 890 motor can be used in the 690 plunge base by removing the gear rack.


                        • #13
                          Wood Mag recently ran an article "the 6 must have router bits" I would have to say that the 6 they picked are the most frequently used in my shop. They are, 1/8 & 1/4 roundover, 1/2" straight and flush-trim, 45 degree chamfer and a rabbeting bit with an interchangeable bearing set. Infinity Cutting Tools now sells this set called the 'essential six' for $99.90, all 1/2" shank except the 1/8" roundover (never seen a 1/2" shank 1/8" roundover). I have never used bits from this company but I know others here have. Anyone have comments??


                          • #14
                            The problem with the Craftsman bits is that you get really cheap router bits for a medium price (you don't get what you pay for in this instance). To get started, I'd suggest a moderate size set from MLCS, Price Cutter, Woodcraft or Woodline. $40 gets a nice set. For bits that you think might get heavy duty use, go for the Whitesides, CMT, Amana, Freud, etc.


                            • #15
                              Well I just got to toss in my .02 cents. I was one of those years ago that got sucked into the bit set purchase. The bits were decent enough but most have never been used. Since then the only sets I have bought and consistently used are a straight bit set and a dovetail set. Other than that, I would suggest that you buy the bits you need for each project. You can spend a little more that way and over time have a really preimum set of bits that you use.

                              I got a couple of Roman Ogee's if anyone needs them. 30 year old, carbide and never been used.
                              I came...<br /><br />I saw...<br /><br />I changed the plans.