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I've just started putting a woodworking shop together and want to buy a forstner bit kit say 1/4'' to 3'' in size. BUT there are so many brands out there Irwin, Shars, Hickory, Rockler. Now I'm sure some of these are made in china, not my preference BUT I need a bit that will last a while before replacing, who has experience in a recommendation of brand,etc. thanks. I don't want the cheapest but not the most expensive either, just all around good quality and will last reasonably some length of time.
 

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I bought a Porter Cable set went from 1/4" to 2 1/8" It skipped a couple sizes). It was on sale really cheap at Lowe's or Woodcraft. It does a good job.
I would not get a set out to 3" it will be expensive and most sizes you won't use. I had to buy a 1 3/4" and 2 3/8" bits separately. I haven't had a need for anything else yet.

The set waho6o9 posted a link to is the one i bought. Check your local Borgs You might catch it cheaper.
 

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I've had a set of Freud carbide edged forstners for over 15 years. They've been sharpened (once, I think) and are still going strong. I expect them to last for a whole lot longer. But I also have some Freud HSS forstners, and frankly they cut a cleaner hole. I haven't used any of these to the point they need sharpening and they've done really well. Highly recommend either, but for long life: the carbide bits.
 

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I have some Freud bits and I think they've worked great so far. Like others have said, unless you have a need for a particular larger size, I'd buy them as you need them. I think a set with smaller sizes (maybe up to 3/4" or 1") would do pretty much anything you need to do. I find that I use mine mostly for roughing out mortises, and those typically use bits under 1/2". The only large size I have is the one I purchased when it came time to install euro hinges.
 

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A fairly common larger size required is the 35mm or 1 3/8" diameter.
That bit is required to install hidden cabinet hinges.
Otherwise, I find the sets that go up to 1" cover most of my needs.
A good set of brad point bits is very useful as well.
 
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