Router Bits - Help Me Spend $$

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Forum topic by Paul D posted 04-08-2008 09:08 PM 1534 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Paul D

2131 posts in 4108 days

04-08-2008 09:08 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router bit purchase

I want to buy some router bits and would like to get some input from all of you. First of all, when it comes to routers I am somewhat of a newbie. The majority of my experience has been with edge profiling and messing around with my Incra jig. Now I want to make my router a more prominent tool in my shop so I’m wanting to use it for joinery as well. I am a hobbiest (at best) and don’t have an infinite budget. I have some good bits from Freud, Amana, CMT. I recently bought a Core box/Roundnose Holbren set to do a couple of specific projects I have in mind. I also bought a Woodline 1/8” roundover bit at the wood show this year and it seems pretty good too. I also have a small B&D HSS set that needs to go in the trash. The 3/4” straight bit went in the trash yesterday after I tried routing a 1/8” deep dado in a piece of 3/4” MDF. It was pretty dull before that … Anyway, I’m thinking about getting a midsized set perhaps from Woodline or MLCS that I can learn and experiment with. I would like to buy the ‘best’ but I just can’t justify the initial expense right now.

So, my questions to you all are do you think getting an inexpensive starter set makes sense given where I’m at with routing and if so, any comments good or bad with respect to Woodline or MLCS? If I were to buy say a dozen single bits, which 12 would you say you use the most and why?

-- Paul D - Lawrenceville, Georgia

8 replies so far

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4659 days

#1 posted 04-08-2008 09:19 PM

Straight with guide bearings, Round over, Cove, Ogee, Chamfer, Rail, & Style. I’ve gotten real good use of my MLCS bits.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Yettiman's profile


163 posts in 4098 days

#2 posted 04-08-2008 09:29 PM

An inexpensive set is ok to start with as it gives you lots of profiles to ‘play’ with, but for your workhorse, I would buy a few qulity bits, as thes you will use 10:1 compared to the rest.

Dick has outlined these above, all I would add is a good rebate cutter (bearing guided)

-- Keep your tools sharp, your mind sharper and the coffee hot

View MrWoody's profile


335 posts in 4134 days

#3 posted 04-08-2008 09:39 PM

Here is a read for you:

-- If we learn from our mistakes, I'm getting a fantastic education.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4348 days

#4 posted 04-08-2008 10:01 PM

PaulD – read the link that MyWoody posted. This subject has been thoroughly discussed there.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 4159 days

#5 posted 04-08-2008 10:14 PM

lots of discussion for sure. Bits you don’t use much don’t need to be fancy.. workhorses should be purchased with that in mind. at least this is my logic.

-- making sawdust....

View che's profile


123 posts in 4386 days

#6 posted 04-08-2008 10:35 PM

I buy bits as I need them and would personally stay away from decorative sets. If I had to throw all my bits out (I don’t have that many anyway) I would get the best quality of the following and save any left over cash for bits specific to a task.

1. A good 1/4” up-cut spiral bit. This is the bit I use more than any other. I have the Whiteside solid carbide bit. It will cut mortises, rabbets, etc. With a little jigging it can cut any width over 1/4”. Since the shank and cutter are the same diameter you can even use the shank as a bushing for following a pattern if you don’t have a dedicated pattern bit.
2. Flush cut bit. Always handy.
3. Chamfer. My favorite edge profile. (I like simple)
4-5. Two round-over bits (1/4” & 1/2”). (Again, simple.)

I get mid price carbide bits when purchasing for a specific project. If I ever replace a bit I get the best I can afford since I’ve clearly used it a lot. Stay away from HSS. I had one (my first 1/2” round-over) and I killed it after running around 300’ or so of pine thru it.

-- Che.

View Paul D's profile

Paul D

2131 posts in 4108 days

#7 posted 04-09-2008 05:01 AM

Thanks for the help everyone. I’m only considering carbide bits and right now I need some straight bits and I’m thinking of getting a set of those from Woodline. After doing a full inventory of my existing bits which was more than I realized, I don’t think the bigger get-one-of-every-type sets makes a lot of sense for me. If I find that I wear some of these out quickly I will probably replace with the higher end ones like Freud.

-- Paul D - Lawrenceville, Georgia

View Joey's profile


276 posts in 4175 days

#8 posted 04-09-2008 01:47 PM

I buy most of mine from MLCS. they have very reasonable prices and are good quality. I’ve had alot of trouble with smaller solid carbide, 3/8 and above work great. but 1/4 and 1/8 break very easily. Carbide is brittle and if they are under too much pressure they will break. stay completely away from HSS. And if you do route into MDF. slow down and do it in multiple passes. MDF is very thick and cause heat to build up pretty quickly.

-- Joey, Magee, Ms

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