Objective Router Bit Testing?


I'm confused. Are router bits supposed to be resharpened, like saw blades? Or are the disposable? I'm in the market for a slot cutter and a beading bit to make some wide-plank beadboard for a fireplace surround. I've heard good things about Whiteside, but I can find much cheaper bits. Is the quality of cut different right out of the gate?
Sam Maloof using those cheapos has really messed with my "buy the best and only cry once" mentality. Suggestions? I may just go with Lee Valley and be done with it....
JP
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Jay Pique wrote:

LV is not the only game in town for quality router bits, JP. CMT Amana Bosch Whiteside Freud
I've gotten some real dogs when I've strayed from those brands (I don't own Whiteside, but so many others swear by them), but I'm not naming names due to a potential flame war. :)
Dave
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Router bits are like sawblades. More carbide means more expensive, but it can be sharpened more times. Less carbide means cheaper, but less (or even no) sharpenings. My less expensive router bits generally get pitched and replaced when dull. The more costly ones get sharpened. The cut quality on both cheaper and pricier is generally good on both initially, however less carbide (cheaper) bits generally dull faster. If you are just making a fireplace surround and probably will not use those bits very much afterward, I'd suggest just buying a "mid-grade" level of bits. --dave

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The quality of the micrograin carbide is also a factor in longevity. Cheap bits are often made from recyled carbide resulting in an inconsistant grain size which chips easier, thus dulling faster.

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| I'm confused. Are router bits supposed to be resharpened, like saw | blades? Or are the disposable? I'm in the market for a slot cutter | and a beading bit to make some wide-plank beadboard for a fireplace | surround. I've heard good things about Whiteside, but I can find much | cheaper bits. Is the quality of cut different right out of the gate?
Router bits, including solid carbide and spiral bits, are resharpenable but lose a bit of their diameter with each sharpening. I'd suggest trying out a new sharpening service with a bit you don't care much about (I had a 3/4" carbide tipped bit come back ground down to 5/8" this past year, so that outfit won't see any more of my bits!)
Whiteside produces good bits. So does Amana. MLCS seems decent. The bits I gotten from LV weren't as sharp as I'd expected (not real dull - but not real sharp either). I picked up a set of carbide no-name bits from Menards that would work better as fire-starters than as cutting tools. If you're looking for cheap, you can have 'em for free. Only one of the bits has been used - and that for less than five seconds (it may still smell slightly of white pine smoke).
Yup. The quality of cut /is/ different.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto
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Morris Dovey wrote:

Thanks, all, for your replies. I think I'm going to go with Whiteside and I'm going to keep track of the miles I put on them. I'm surprised FWW hasn't done a good test of bits - magnified pics b4 and after use, side by side cut comparisons, thickness of carbide, etc...
JP
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As a matter of fact, they did just that (though some here might argue how "good" the test was...) I think it seems like a fairly objective test overall. Check out http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/pages/w00045.asp and see what you think. MLCS likes to share the results of this test on their website. Andy
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Andy wrote:

I see that Whiteside came out on top - confirming what I've read in this group. I believe I'll go with them.
Thanks for the link, Andy.
JP
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On 27 Feb 2006 17:13:08 -0800, Jay Pique wrote:

I've been very happy with every Whiteside bit I have purchased and used (not all that many; a solid carbide upcut spiral, a few template and flush trims, and a few roundovers). I cannot say the same for Freud (a 1/2-inch template bit that cuts undersized). I did try a CMT roundover once, and it worked OK. I haven't actually tried any others.
BTW, I have become accustomed to the bit *feeling* sharp, as the Whitesides invariably do on arrival. I cannot say the same for that Freud template bit, or cheapies I see at the WW shows. They just don't feel as sharp, and I have to think they would not cut as well.
--
Art


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Sam Maloof is being paid for his endorsement. He may very well be using the cheapo bit for a 1 time need and in that case I would not object to doing the same.
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He's also hand-holding and using them as if they were ball mills most of the time. Precision means little in the way he works them, just hogging wood.
There's quality of steel, quality of brazing, quality of carbide, and last of all, "feeling sharp." Not much any of us can do about the first three without our NDT metallurgy lab, so we have to trust the manufacturer. I buy the shape I want from the place I'm ordering from at the moment, to combine for shipping. Or MLCS for bits only, where shipping's folded in. With the exception that those touting finer-grain carbide put less of it on the bit, I've found no difference.
I have never purchased the Chinese stuff at a box store.
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George wrote:

Sorry... Painful visual.
A Bridgeport and my balls... <G>
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Whatever happened to the guy who was going to ask Sam about the bits?
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I called him on his comment about him stating that he knew Sam Maloof "well" as they were neighbors and then him stating that he did not know something that should have been common knowledge about a neighbor that you "knew well". I also asked that he talk to Sam Maloof and get the real story about his association with the router bit company and I finally received an obscene comment about my "Neck" ??? ;~) and he disappeared.
I suspect that there was a LOT of speculation or "made up comments" on his part about Sam Maloof's business affairs.
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Thanks for the update.
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