Lee Valley router bits

I recently asked the group for router bit brand recommendations, and the consensus seemed to be Amana, CMT, Freud, Whiteside.
Lee Valley seems like a respected brand in general, and they have a nice 13-piece bit set for $120 that seems to offer a more than boxed sets from Freud (13 bits for $170) and Whiteside (7 for $130). Opinions?
Thanks, Michael
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When I bought my first router, the advice I got from everybody was to NOT buy a set because you'd never use most of the bits. Just buy bits as you need/want them.
I ignored the advice and bought a Freud set (about a dozen bits). I've never used about 2/3rd of them.
So, my advice to you is to NOT buy a set. Buy bits as you need/want them. :-)
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Don't think I can agree on that one..."sets" may give you bits you'll never use but even if you don't I think you will save $$$...CMT round-over in 1/2" shank with bearing cost me $35 a few weeks ago. Throw in a few straight cutters at 3/8 and 1/2 and you are approaching the price for a set of bits that you will most likely use a few of, albeit not all of. Think you will still be ahead of the game.
wrote:

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To me the big advantage of sets is on Sat night at 10:00 and you need a new bit that you have never used before and you have it in the set. That has happened to me more times than I care to think about; that is why I buy sets; this is ESPECIALLY true with drill bits. Can't think of the times I have needed some screwball size like a 27/64 and had it in a set. Am I the only one who has had this happen to them??
On Tue, 03 Feb 2004 02:22:09 GMT, "Tom Kohlman"

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Then there are some of us so perverse that we go out of our way to use the previously unused in our next picture frame or such. I never yet used a bit I didn't have, either.

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Now THAT's the ideal solution - figure out how to use a bit you don't have. Maybe I can find a way to use money I don't have... ;-)
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Michael Press wrote:

There's a large training center for that in D.C. that seems to produce well-qualified experts...
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto, Iowa USA
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Michael Press wrote:

Get yourself a job working for the federal government.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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That is exactly why those 115 bit $29 to $49 drill bit sets are worth having. I don't use wire size bits or numbered bits often enough to have a good set sitting around, but when I need one of those sizes (like the 5 times that I actually needed to drill holes appropriately sized for my $29 tap & die set) I have it.
Dave Hall
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Dave,
If I didn't know better I'd think my father wrote that... ;-) He has more Harbor Freight and other El Cheapo sets of stuff laying around than I can stand! I go the other way and buy a good "whatever" when I have a specific need in mind--this on the grounds that if it's worth owning it's worth having a decent one. I may have fewer bits, taps, odd-ball wrenches, etc. but what I've got is good and I've probably used it. Dollars spent we're probably about equal!
John
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Hah, you're right in many ways. I do have reasonably good tools for stuff I will use even semi-regularly, but I also have several cheap things for those "just in case" instances. Unlike some folks I know that have lots of these kinds of things which they never use (both high quality/price and HF quality/price), I don't go overboard - I just like it when I have the item I need when the need arises. Also, when I get decent tools I usually try to keep some perspective. I am not like all those "mechanics" who when they file for bankruptcy list as their biggest payment, after the house, the Snap-on Truck. I can't quite grasp the $10 an hour guy who owns $20,000 "worth" of Snap-on which he has paid $30,000 for and still doesn't own them. I buy "good enough" and that measurement is kinda personal I guess ;)
BTW that $29 tap & die set is about 20 years old and has been used probably 30 or 40 times - all parts are there and still in good shape- and that 115 piece drill bit set is about 8 years old -the 3 or 4 bits that have broken (mostly wire sizes) have been replaced and it will continue to serve my needs for probably the rest of my life - how much better should I have bought?
Dave Hall
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need
set.
is
it
more
can
specific
etc.
I probably should have mentioned that my father also has a lot of very good tool and die maker's tools... He served a full apprenticeship and worked as a tool and die maker for about the first 10-12 years of his working career. I've got a small selection of decent calipers, rules, etc., but given that I'm only about 2.5 miles from his house, when I need good specialized measuring tools, taps, dies, etc. I borrow them. ;-)
John
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Michael,
Lee Valley bits are probably middle of the range. Quite good for the hobbyist woodworker. I would have to say the brands you mentioned above are a little better, but the Lee Valley bits offer good value for money in my opinion.
-- Regards,
Dean Bielanowski Editor, Online Tool Reviews http://www.onlinetoolreviews.com ------------------------------------------------------------ Latest 5 Reviews: - Veritas Shelf Drilling Jig - Ryobi CID1802V 18v Cordless Drill - Workshop Essentials Under $30 - Festool PS 300 Jigsaws - Delta Universal Tenoning Jig ------------------------------------------------------------
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I agree with what Dean says - the Lee Valley router bits are middle of the road.
I haven't bought many of them, but I've used a few - I usually buy CMT.
While the brazing job is generally good, the thickness of the carbide is relatively thin. I wouldn't buy the Lee Valley bits if I planned on using and sharpening them a lot - there's just not enough carbide.
I've got a few "good idea", "off-beat" bits from them that I'll use when the situation arises, but I wouldn't buy for example, a 3/4 inch round-over bit from them - I'll wear it out too quickly.
Having said that, I have had nothing but very positive experiences with Lee Valley. You would certainly be dealing with a company that backs up their product.
Brian

but
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Michael Press wrote:

Don't know about the sets, but I have used a couple of single bits from LV. Work OK for my use.
--
Ed
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http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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I'm probably going to catch alot of flames for what I'm about to tell you but here goes. I was recently having a discussion with a well know columnist for a major woodworking magazine. He no longer works for the magazine now but it has nothing to do with what I'm about to tell you, he's actually involved in a company that produces aftermarket router accesories now. While working for the magazine they did a test of router bits. They had all the big names, and all the Chinese stuff from alot of different manufacturers. They tore through wood for the better part of a day using various profiles from each set. After all the test cuts were concluded they put the workpieces in front of a panel of professional woodworkers to try and pick the very best cuts. Curious now aren't you? Well it turned out they were all so close it was hard to tell but the majority kept coming back to the same bit over and over. The bits they came back to as being the best cutting and smoothest after many cuts..................MLCS..........I thought this was interesting myself as I use bits from various manufacturers and its rare I ever go, "wow this bit cuts alot better!". Very rare that ever happens.
Jim

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Jim,
That seems very believable to me that all/most new bits perform nearly as well. Did the test address durability at all?
I have no idea whether there would be a long-term difference, but I would venture to say that "initial quality of cut" should not be the only criteria for the assessing the overal quality of a router bit.
-Steve

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I was told that the cuts they made were long and repetitive. They didn't just run a piece through and proclaim that bit was better. The way I understood it was there were several people involved in this and they just kept cutting over and over with bits from each set. Having owned and used all types of bits the only ones I saw getting really dull prematurely were those Viper bits from Home Depot. Amanas seem to hold their edge fairly well as does the few Woodline bits I have. But you know what? For the money I just don't get that much more mileage from the expensive bits to offset the cost. Here's another interesting thing to ponder. Every year I budget myself "X" amount of dollars for new tool purchases. I keep everything in categories like machinery, blades and bits and so on. Four years ago I budgeted myself enough to get some nice top dollar router bits. I went with CMT mostly and a few Amanas. The following year I showed more router bit replacement purchases than I've made in recent years. Two years ago I picked up a set of MLCS bits. Other than buying specialty bits that I needed for a particular job I have yet to make any replacement purchases. Interesting don't you think? I'm a real prick about record keeping and I have every purchase I make well documented so I know exactly what I replace and what I don't. That way I can see what tools, bits and blades I get the most mileage from. I use these reports to make new purchases. This is all of course barring any accidental damages and such.
Food for thought.
Jim

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