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MRDucks2

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Jul 17, 2017
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Washington, IN
One of the tools coming together for me this year is a decent sized router on a decent router table. Not highest end by any means but stepping into the 1/2” router and bit world. The more I used my HF router table the more I liked the opportunities.

Question 1: Router Bit Brand Recommendations. I will never be a production shop but do appreciate the value of better cutting tools. Now I typically go pick up the Freud bit I need or an occasional Whiteside. What brand are the better carbide cutters for the hobbiest?

Question 2: Buy a set or just keep building one? Looks like there are good price breaks on buying sets and obviously many different sets. Are they worth getting or do you find yourself using the same 3 or 4 bits out of that set of 24?

Keep in mind I will be doing some boxes and frame and trays and such. I have no intention of building cabinets and doors and such.

Thanks I’m advance for the feedback.
 
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howsitwork

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Jul 9, 2016
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Buy a set then upgrade the ones you use most as they go down.

Use the cheaper ones to rough out difficult wood with high abrasive content. I’m in UK so upgrade to freud or Trend
 

KenB259

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Dec 24, 2017
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Michigan
Awhile back I was houngan to buy a set but realized there weee probably quite a few in the set I would more than likely never use. I opted to just buy one at a time when the need arises. I mostly buy Freud but have had good luck with Infinity bits as well.
 

leehljp

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Feb 6, 2005
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8,803
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Tunica, Mississippi,
I go for Whiteside for most regularly used bits, but I check with MLCS quite often for general run of the mill sets.
I have a few CMT bits that I bought years ago when they were a little less expenisive.

And I have one of those sets of 70 that I kept back here in the States when I lived overseas, and needed to do some quick work while back here (USA) temporarily. I still have them but rarely use them. I have numerous pattern maker, rail and stile, and raised panel bits, mostly from MLCS but some from CMT. All of the above are 1/2".

I have maybe 30-40 of the 1/4" (all carbide) with a few going back 40 years - purchased at Sears. I have given away a bunch of the 1/4" to son-in-laws and a grandson.

TIP: I hate moving my fence when needing to do a deep cut with a large bit. So I make layers of 1/4" or 1/8" plywood backers to the fence, and clamp them at the top. I leave maybe a 1/4" of the blade sticking out. I run my board(s) across that, remove one layer, run the boards again, remove another and then do the final run against the fence.

The point is - if you are using a 3/4" round over, or 3/4 in cove, that is way too much bite to take in one pass. So I layer the ply layers against the fence and make a pass and take one off, etc. Works great.
 
Last edited:

MRDucks2

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Joined
Jul 17, 2017
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Location
Washington, IN
Ian - Thanks, this is often how I approach new tools I haven’t used yet. I figure if I break or wear out a cheap one, I replace it with a higher quality one. Still an option but I have had some router bits that only get me through one set of cuts, too.

Ken - Thanks, this is what I am doing right now. Only problem is the “I want to try something now” syndrome combined with the small town I live in. Access plus a premium on premium Freud bits.

Hank - Thanks for the feedback. I almost PM’d you then realized others may benefit from the input.

Right now I am leanings towards a small or slightly larger set from a quality supplier.
 

jttheclockman

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Feb 22, 2005
Messages
16,876
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NJ, USA.
I will say this I am not a fan of sets unless it is a small set with basic types. Second go with 1/2" shank bits with that router. Less vibration and better cuts . I like Freud also but have Whiteside as well. Now you can get specific 1/4" shank bits for small light work too but I use them in a smaller router. The stile and rail bits you refer to are not in a kit. They are bought as a set or individual. Those yellow bits in kits are a decent home use set for cheap but they are China made and are cheap. Start using exotic hardwoods and they dull quickly. Router bits are pretty easily resharpened with a good diamond hone. I like the Trend package for that. Use only carbide and stay away from steel bits. Good luck. Be careful a router can bite back.
 

MRDucks2

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Jul 17, 2017
Messages
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Washington, IN
I will say this I am not a fan of sets unless it is a small set with basic types. Second go with 1/2" shank bits with that router. Less vibration and better cuts . I like Freud also but have Whiteside as well. Now you can get specific 1/4" shank bits for small light work too but I use them in a smaller router. The stile and rail bits you refer to are not in a kit. They are bought as a set or individual. Those yellow bits in kits are a decent home use set for cheap but they are China made and are cheap. Start using exotic hardwoods and they dull quickly. Router bits are pretty easily resharpened with a good diamond hone. I like the Trend package for that. Use only carbide and stay away from steel bits. Good luck. Be careful a router can bite back.
Thanks for the input, John. I do like the idea of keeping to a small starter set. Leaning hard towards the Whiteside 7 Piece starter set and adding to it as needed. The local bit selection is limited but Woodcraft in Louisville has about the largest in stock selection of Freud I have ever seen at one location and I go through there routinely.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2021
Messages
85
Location
NZ
One of the tools coming together for me this year is a decent sized router on a decent router table. Not highest end by any means but stepping into the 1/2” router and bit world. The more I used my HF router table the more I liked the opportunities.

Question 1: Router Bit Brand Recommendations. I will never be a production shop but do appreciate the value of better cutting tools. Now I typically go pick up the Freud bit I need or an occasional Whiteside. What brand are the better carbide cutters for the hobbiest?

Question 2: Buy a set or just keep building one? Looks like there are good price breaks on buying sets and obviously many different sets. Are they worth getting or do you find yourself using the same 3 or 4 bits out of that set of 24?

Keep in mind I will be doing some boxes and frame and trays and such. I have no intention of building cabinets and doors and such.

Thanks I’m advance for the feedback.
Buy individually as required.
Do you have CMT Orange tools there.Not all carbide is equal.
Router bits have a very limited lifespan.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2021
Messages
85
Location
NZ
One of the tools coming together for me this year is a decent sized router on a decent router table. Not highest end by any means but stepping into the 1/2” router and bit world. The more I used my HF router table the more I liked the opportunities.

Question 1: Router Bit Brand Recommendations. I will never be a production shop but do appreciate the value of better cutting tools. Now I typically go pick up the Freud bit I need or an occasional Whiteside. What brand are the better carbide cutters for the hobbiest?

Question 2: Buy a set or just keep building one? Looks like there are good price breaks on buying sets and obviously many different sets. Are they worth getting or do you find yourself using the same 3 or 4 bits out of that set of 24?

Keep in mind I will be doing some boxes and frame and trays and such. I have no intention of building cabinets and doors and such.

Thanks I’m advance for the feedback.
Feed direction is very important,don't back cut unless you know how.
Depth of cut is important, as is grain direction.
Variable speed is important for large diameter cutters.
Plunge function pretty much essential.
If using free hand, a good fence is preferred.
Use end cutting bits of one kind or another for plunge cutting.
For me at least, various flush trimming bits are invaluable.
Bearing bits preferable for free hand work.
My 2 cents worth.
 

egnald

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Joined
Jun 9, 2017
Messages
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Location
Columbus, Nebraska, USA
Years ago when I took the step up to a 3+hp router, I bought a relatively inexpensive yet large assortment of Yonico Carbide Bits. So far they have served me very well. As I determin which bits I use the most, I replace them with bits from Bosch, Freud, MLCS, Whiteside, Amana, and Infinity. Of course I have also bought some specialty bits from various other companies as well. I guess I want to be sure I am going to use the bit frequently and that I need the quality before I spend $30-$50 on a single bit. - No regrets so far - Dave
 

MRDucks2

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Jul 17, 2017
Messages
2,925
Location
Washington, IN
Years ago when I took the step up to a 3+hp router, I bought a relatively inexpensive yet large assortment of Yonico Carbide Bits. So far they have served me very well. As I determin which bits I use the most, I replace them with bits from Bosch, Freud, MLCS, Whiteside, Amana, and Infinity. Of course I have also bought some specialty bits from various other companies as well. I guess I want to be sure I am going to use the bit frequently and that I need the quality before I spend $30-$50 on a single bit. - No regrets so far - Dave
Thanks, David. I am thinking some set to start and add/replace as needed will be the path I take. On the bigger sets there are simply bits I do not envision using, but I could be wrong. One thing I realized during this conversation is that I need to gather the bits I have and see how that affects what I need.
 

Hartwell85

Member
Joined
May 14, 2021
Messages
36
Location
Findlay, OH
I have purchased router bits from Whiteside, Freud, Bosch, and Infinity Tools (https://www.infinitytools.com/). All of these brands performed well. The only set that I have purchased was made by Whiteside for the Incra fence. You can get better pricing by purchasing a set but you need to determine if you will use all of those bits or not. Adapt and adjust your set to the type of work you do and add the occasional specialty bit as needed. Below are potential router bits published in an article by Popular Woodworking. You don't need all of them to start. I prefer 1/2" shank bits unless that option is not available.

Straight bits
1/4", 5/16", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4"

Flush trim and pattern bits

Roundover bits

1/4", 5/16", 3/8", 1/2"

Cove bits
Radii: 1/8", 3/16", 1/4", 5/16", 3/8", 1/2"

Dovetail bits
1/2" and 11/16" diameters at any angle you like
 

howsitwork

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Joined
Jul 9, 2016
Messages
1,905
Location
Thirsk
I will say this I am not a fan of sets unless it is a small set with basic types. Second go with 1/2" shank bits with that router. Less vibration and better cuts . I like Freud also but have Whiteside as well. Now you can get specific 1/4" shank bits for small light work too but I use them in a smaller router. The stile and rail bits you refer to are not in a kit. They are bought as a set or individual. Those yellow bits in kits are a decent home use set for cheap but they are China made and are cheap. Start using exotic hardwoods and they dull quickly. Router bits are pretty easily resharpened with a good diamond hone. I like the Trend package for that. Use only carbide and stay away from steel bits. Good luck. Be careful a router can bite back.
Two tips tip for everyone. When sharpening tct bits , or router bits in general.

1 Use a lubricant, the trend sharpening fluid is great and lasts. It also means you don’t get corrosion after sharpening.

2 MOST IMPORTANT make the same number of strokes along each edge of the bits. Those bits are dynamically balanced and when running at 20,000 rpm that is CRITICALLY Otherwise you can end up with out of balance bits vibrating the bejesus out of everything .
 

howsitwork

Member
Joined
Jul 9, 2016
Messages
1,905
Location
Thirsk
Feed direction is very important,don't back cut unless you know how.
Depth of cut is important, as is grain direction.
Variable speed is important for large diameter cutters.
Plunge function pretty much essential.
If using free hand, a good fence is preferred.
Use end cutting bits of one kind or another for plunge cutting.
For me at least, various flush trimming bits are invaluable.
Bearing bits preferable for free hand work.
My 2 cents worth.
back cutting can seriously bite you. I have A 1/2” shank long reach bit above my workbench with a 20’ bend in it . Thankfully it didn’t snap but mounted in a table I accidentally back cut in a deep trench and it scared me
rigid as it bit back.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2021
Messages
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back cutting can seriously bite you. I have A 1/2” shank long reach bit above my workbench with a 20’ bend in it . Thankfully it didn’t snap but mounted in a table I accidentally back cut in a deep trench and it scared me
rigid as it bit back.
Definitely don't back cut a trench!And I wouldn't back cut anything on a table mounted router either.
 

jttheclockman

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Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
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Location
NJ, USA.
2 other bits I use alot are chamfer bits of different angles and profiles. Also box core bits of different sizes. I also have a couple sets of different sized bearings that can interchange with many bits which can give you different profiles too.
 

MRDucks2

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Washington, IN
2 other bits I use alot are chamfer bits of different angles and profiles. Also box core bits of different sizes. I also have a couple sets of different sized bearings that can interchange with many bits which can give you different profiles too.
Thanks, John. I have used chamfer bits before but never tried a box core, yet. Do the bearing sets tend to be brand specific or interchangeable?
 

jttheclockman

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Feb 22, 2005
Messages
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NJ, USA.
Both on the bearing question. They make generic sets if you match the center post diam. I bought a Bosch set years ago and am able to use on Freud bits. Box core bits are nice for making pen stands and or pen boxes. Hollows out the section for pen.
 

MRDucks2

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Jul 17, 2017
Messages
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Washington, IN
I ended up going with a MLCS/Eagle America 45 bit set for starters. I already have a few misc. Freud bits I have picked up as needed. I also added the 3/4” and 1” core box bits to complete that line per John’s recommendations.

If I have happen to damage or wear out a particular bit, I will them replace with a Freud or better.

Thanks for all the help and feedback.
 

SteveG

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Dec 21, 2009
Messages
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Eugene, Oregon 97404
Your carbide bits will eventually wear, and thus cut but not as well. If worn but not damaged, they can be resharpened much cheaper than the cost of replacement. Not all sharpening services are equal, but most charge about the same fee for their service. Freud provides a list of certified (by them) sharpening service providers. That is my source point for selecting who will sharpen my router bits and saw blades.
 
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