freud router bits: worth the price? Need 'canoe' bits

Hi!
I need the 1/4" flute & bead bits, aka 'canoe' bits, well, for building a canoe in fact. Woodcraft has the freud router bits for the standard retail, just over $100 for the pair.
However, I can order similar bits from many companies, lee valley, grizzly, mlcs, a couple others for as little as $20 for the pair and more generally $50. The design seems the same, though most have 1/4" shanks and not 1/2". The cut depth limiting taper is now pretty universal and not just for freud.
So, does the fit & finish, and quality of the carbide, justify the cost versus let's just say the grizzly-brand router bits? If you haven't observed significant quality/lifespan differences, I'll probably go with the cheaper bits. They certainly look the same as the freuds. I need to mill around 4000 linear feet on each bit. A 20' canoe ends up using an awful lot of these thin little cedar strips!
thanks for the advice! -Bernard
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Like this on on sale for $19? http://www.infinitytools.com/1_2-Shank-Edge-Beading-Bit/productinfo/02-500 /
Limited, but good, experience with Freud, much experience, all good, with Infinity. I'd buy two of these. Or one of these http://www.infinitytools.com/1_2-Shank-Flute-Bead-Set/productinfo/55-701 /
I don't see that big of a difference for the price, but others may have differing opinions.
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I have had good luck with Freud, Lee Valley, and Infinity. I pretty much stick to those 3 now. I do a lot of hard maple routing and it eats bits. Cedar is softer and sharp bits or lots of fine sand paper will be important to the finish. (-:
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Typically you get what you pay for however I normally see a diminishing return on the extra money spent. Double the money does not mean double the life or double the quality of cut. That said, regardless of which bit you buy 4000 feet is probably going to require 3 or 4 bits to maintain a reasonally consistant quality of finish. Typically you can detect a drop in the cut finish within a few hundred feet of using a new bit.
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wrote:

Probably best to organize a two or three bit schedule with a nearby sharpening shop.
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I guess as the absolute cheapest, here's what's going on ebay. Order 5 sets of these for less than the price of one pair of Freud bits?
http://cgi.ebay.com/2-piece-FLUTE-AND-BEAD-BIT-SET-Router-1-4-shank-/270572697111?cmd=ViewItem&pt=Routers_Bits&hash=item3eff63b617
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"Bernard Arnest" wrote:

http://cgi.ebay.com/2-piece-FLUTE-AND-BEAD-BIT-SET-Router-1-4-shank-/270572697111?cmd=ViewItem&pt=Routers_Bits&hash=item3eff63b617
---------------------------------------------- I'll pass.
Give me the Infinity, I'm happy with them.
Lew
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Bernard Arnest wrote:

...
What's the stock using? If it's cedar or something soft you can get by w/ cheaper if don't need a perfectly smooth cut.
The difference in price is two (no, make that three) things as general rule --
1) Quality (particularly grain size) of the carbide itself. Higher price bits have better carbide that w/ finer grain size will sharpen better and generally last longer as well. Try an Amana new out of the box compared to the cheapies to see what the difference means.
2) Thickness of carbide, and
3) quality of machining, balance, etc.
Try cheap; if satisfied, ok. Of course, you may have more trouble w/ the quality of the surface and need more than one or two and take longer but never know how much more pleasant the job could have been w/ a quality tool... :)
Unless it's a for-sure throw-away or something am virtually positive will never need/use again, I tend to go w/ the "higher-priced spread" as I've come to think there is sufficient difference to be worth the differential.
I'm partial to Amana blue; Whiteside is good value.
my $0.03 (is high-price recommendation, after all :) ), imo, ymmv, etc., etc., ...
--
--

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On Sun, 6 Jun 2010 12:28:42 -0700 (PDT), Bernard Arnest

If you're cutting that much stock and you don't care how bad the cuts are after you have cut a couple hundred feet then by all means buy the cheap shit.
If you care what the finished project is going to look then you need to buy a high quality bit like Freud or several other brands.
Try Router Bit World. Many brands to choose from.
You get what you pay for
Gordon Shumway A Liberal is a person who will give away everything he doesn't own.
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On Sun, 6 Jun 2010 12:28:42 -0700 (PDT), Bernard Arnest

When I want a higher quality bit, I get Whiteside, because where I live Western Tool Supply has a good assortment in stock.
I like 1/2" shanks over 1/4" because they won't vibrate as much on deep cuts.
In 1999 Fine Woodworking did a comparison of router bit brands. The comparison was using a straight bit and pushing hundreds of feet through to see how the cut was with a new bit and one that had some usage. In 2007 they did the same with cove and bead bits and you can read that online if you pay to subscribe to Finewoodworking.com.
Some cheaper bits (such as MCLS) did as well at the beginning as the more expensive (such as Eagle or Whiteside). But they didn't hold up as long, resulting in greater dulling. Or, needing more sharpenings.
In the 2007 roundup:
The Freud got a "Good" rating overall, as did the Grizzly bit.
The Whiteside, Eagle, Infinity, Lee Valley, Southeast, and Woodtek bits got an "Excellent" rating.
The highly regarded Amana surprisingly came out "Good" in their test, using a $52 bit. The excellent Whiteside cost $31 (in 2007).
The cove and bead bits come with bearings and my experience with the Whiteside bits is the bearings have never failed me. But I haven't put a mile through any one bit, either.
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Talk to the boys at www.carbide.com. I buy (used to buy) all my bits from them. There's a whole lot to a proper bit besides just the shape of the cutter. 1/2" shank is a must, imo. I have been vey happy with CMT and Amana ( Velepec is great too, but limited in selection) and carbide.com is priced well.
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