Anyone used the Irwin “Marples” router bits enough to have a firm opinion on them?

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Forum topic by bd1886 posted 07-07-2018 11:09 AM 4871 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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34 posts in 570 days

07-07-2018 11:09 AM

Just got back into woodworking (after a ten year stint away) and have been setting up for doing restoration work….. things have changed some! Well, beings the web seemed to lead me here so many times? Made sense to join so Hello All and here’s my first “question post” coming at ya.

Marples saw blade reviews seem to be positive so are their router bits in the same league? (Going to be grabbing quality bits for my main use profiles and immediate need/retail grabs will be some of it.)

Thanks, Scott

6 replies so far

View ohtimberwolf's profile


964 posts in 2960 days

#1 posted 07-07-2018 09:45 PM

Welcome to the site Scott. Wish I could help you but i can’t. Someone will chime in. larry

-- Just a barn cat, now gone to cat heaven.

View BattleRidge's profile


126 posts in 823 days

#2 posted 07-08-2018 01:03 AM

I bought the 30 piece Irwin set from Lowe’s with the intention of seeing how they do and eventually replacing bits as needed with something of perhaps higher quality depending on how they wear and what bits I use the most. Of the bits I have used, they seem to provide a great cut, have thus far maintained their sharpness and quality, and work well. For me, it was an overall economical starting point and I have been very satisfied. I have an adequate selection of router bits to choose from for most projects I may be working on, and can evaluate and fine tune my collection as time goes on. I am not a huge volume router person (though I anticipate my activity increasing over time) but from my experience, I have found them the Irwin bits to be fine. I have a 20+ year old Craftsman router & router table.

-- ~Art~

View bd1886's profile


34 posts in 570 days

#3 posted 07-08-2018 08:00 AM

Thank you Larry and BattleRidge. (First two responses for me here….it’s official now.)
Good to hear the Irwin’s are working out for you BattleRidge. When looking at the Irwin bit I bought, it looked to have decent thick blades to it. When using it today (a 9/16 V groove being used on soft cedar) it of course did well and, it horsed right through knots lol.
As far as what grade to buy into priority? Probably one of the small sets from Whiteside,Freud or similar so the bigger “Yonico grade” type of set will wait for a project that’ll have some need for diversity in selection. (Plus too, bits I will most likely not use could easily be put into other hands.)

Really appreciate the welcome and excellent advice. Skinning the cat of ignorance is a great place to be (as is this place gentleman). Thanks again and see ya ‘round!

View AHuxley's profile


874 posts in 3929 days

#4 posted 07-08-2018 08:54 AM

First we need to clear up whether we are all talking about Marples bits or not. The Marples router bits will be painted the signature Marples blue (on bits that have painting), Irwin has a cheap big set line of cheap bits that are painted black, they are exactly what the price suggest cheap bits.

I was given a 12” blade, 2 chisels, 2 forstners and 3 routers bits at IWF a while back (either 2 years or 4 years I can’t remember) when Irwin was making a push to bring Marples back. The blade and forstner bits were solid performers and a good value for the price. The blades were a step below Freud Industrial and Forrest and 2 steps below the top end like Leitz and the other true professional blades. The forstners performed similar to the lower end Famags and Frueds buts a solid step behind bits like the Colt Maxicuts. This also made them a decent value, especially in the full set. The router bits didn’t impress me as much, they were OK, sort of a middle of the road quality with middle of the road carbide volume BUT they are priced too close to bits like Whiteside and Southeast tool to bother with in my opinion.

That said my personal approach is never skimp on tooling, I can do better work with a cheaper tool and quality tooling than the other way around, this however is the less inviting or “sexy” approach when tooling up.

View msinc's profile


567 posts in 1111 days

#5 posted 07-08-2018 11:42 AM

I have some of the blue Marples bits and they work fine, but you are best off if you take a fine stone and give them a little hone or “whet” after each use if you want them to stay sharp. They do seem to dull down quicker than the best quality bits I have. It doesn’t take much and also realize that depending on the wood even the best bits will dull eventually. It’s just easier to keep up with them if you give them a little hit with a stone after every work session. I should clarify that you are not touching the “shape” part of the blade, just the flat.

View bd1886's profile


34 posts in 570 days

#6 posted 07-08-2018 05:34 PM

The “blue” Marple bit I purchased was close to the cost of the same Freud bit at the “other” big box store so savings isn’t anything much here but did use the bit out with it’s first “project” (in a “driveway shop” ) building stile and rail Craftsman style gates out of cedar and it’s more strength of design and assembly to shine than strengths in fine craftsmanship I’ll tell ya (but turning out very nice for what they are).
Well….between my Ryobi 5pc set, Ryobi 10pc garage sale set, 3 Freud’s (and this Marple) I’m good for the short term but will definitely regroup towards better inventory where needed lol.

An aside here:
Purchased that little Rockler Trim Router Table for “easy, quick portability”? Worked fine for being a cheap MDF solution! Needs a little additional engineering (to mitigate the weaknesses of “thick paper”) but sold me on the importance of having a table the size of a clip board and the inherent strengths teamed up with a trim router. (Going to build a better one using this concept down the road!)

Anyways, Thanks for the help with your knowledge all….it’ll be appreciated and used. Scott

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