Recomendations for router bit purchase

I'm looking for some suggestions on router bits to purchase. Here's the situation: I've worked with basic woodworking for a while, but always "rough" stuff (deck, wooden playset), or basic stuff like shelves in the basement, garage, etc. I'm starting to get interested in making better quality items, like simple furniture (end tables, benches, etc.). This is just a hobby, not my job, so I'm not looking at needing top of the line, super heavy duty items.
Recently I had an opportunity to get one of the Ryobi 1803 three base router kits (without going into all the details, a friend had one that was opened, but unused and he let me have it for $50. And no, it wasn't "hot"<G>). Along with the router he gave me a basic Harbor Freight 15 piece 1/4" shank carbide bit set. I know the harbor freight stuff is pretty much junk, but I figure if nothing else it would give me something to start with while I'm learning, and as my needs (and skill) improve I would buy better quaility bits as I need them.
However, Woodcraft is now running their router bit sale. They have 10 basic 1/2" shank bits, all for $5. I'd like to take advantage of this sale and purchase three or four bits, but I really don't have a feel for what bits I'm most likely to use, and I can't afford all 10 at this time (especially if I won't hardly use some of them).
Sorry for the long winded build up, but my question is: Of the ones currently on sale at Woodcraft, What bits are the most likely I'll use for my needs; basic furniture and similar items.
If nothing else, I thought I might lean toward three or four of the more expensive ones, figuring that if I end up needing the other ones after the sale, it won't be as much of a price jump.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Mike O.
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Mike: I have seen Woodcraft's ad for the $5 bits and honestly don't know about their quality. They do, however sell sets of 10 and 20 that end up being a little more than $5 - I believe their 20 bit set is around $139 but is on sale, during much of the year, for $100. These are not top of the line bits but they are carbide blades, seem to hold up fairly well and you get a variety of types and sizes. Sets like these are good, economical things to use for basics. When you need a specialized and more expensive bit, that you think you will use a lot, spend your quality money there.
Also remember you can get more out of a router bit than the shape shown on the box. For example, a kit might have 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" radius cove bits but if you need a 1/8" radius you can often reveal just enough of an ogee or similar bit to get the cut you need. That is what makes these cheape kits nice to have in the shop.
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I am not one to usually buy sets or cheap bits. However, I did order 6 of the $5 Woodcraft bits myself to add to my large collection. For $5 each, if you use the one or two times you are ahead considering that a typical bit is 3 to 5 times more expensive. If you do not have many bits now this would be an excellent opportunity to get a bunch for not much money and use to determine which you will use the most. If you find that these bits do not hold up as expected you can replace that particular bit with one of higher quality. Also, Woodcraft stands behind their products for 1 year. The very minimum that I would recommend getting would be the straight bits, round over bit, ogee bit, and the cove bit. That will set you back about $25 + shipping.
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Okay, HUGE warning: Router bits and clamps are religions. Some might say that Unisaw and Powermatic are religions, but compared to router bits, saw are mere opinions.
An inexpensive set won't kill you, and will can give you ideas like, "Hey, I'm using this thingy a LOT, so maybe it's worth getting a better one."
If you get the bug, you might want to buy a couple bits from various brands and see what works and what doesn't.
<blasphemy> For things like a 1/2" straight cutter, I've found the Oldhams bits sold by HD to be Good Enough. <\blasphemy>
With more money, you get a better polish on complex profiles, plus thicker carbide for more resharpenings. You also get better balance on large diameter bits, but at that point you may want to think "Shaper."
I've been sampling bits from Whiteside, Amana, and CMT lately. All of them seem to be Way Better Than Good Enough.
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the best advice I can give came from WOOD a while ago, and that's buy a big set of ok quality and as the more used bits where out, replace them with a high quality ones, that way you have the bits for every job and you know what bit's use really use.
U-CDK_CHARLES\Charles wrote:

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I'm a firm believer in buying quality tools. I have, however, bought, used, and am buying more of the $5 bits. No, they are not as good as Whiteside and other prop quality, but they have done a pretty good job so far. A roundover bit is about $25 from the better brands, but five of the cheaper ones will last longer.
Get one roundover as they are handy for everything you make to break the edge. Get a couple of the straight bits. From there, buy what you need when you need it if money is tight. Rabbet bits are nice and probably used more than a core box bit, but YMMV. Flush trim bits are good for when you make zero clearance inserts or your saw. Ed
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On 3 Sep 2004 06:15:33 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Mike O.) wrote:

<snip>
I recommend buying router bits as needed. You can put a lot of money into bits you will never use. I recommend 1/2" shank Whiteside router bits. There are other US-made bits that are good too, maybe not so expensive. I'd stay away from is bits made in Taiwan or China.
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On 3 Sep 2004 06:15:33 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Mike O.) calmly ranted:

Suggestion: Don't buy anything more until you need it. Some other sale will be on by the time you need more.
Start using that cheapo 15-pc sets and see which bits you use most often. Buy good versions of those and you will still have the rest of the set for special occasions. The C-2 carbide isn't bad at all and was all anyone used about 15 years ago.
The bits I've used most often are the small roundover bit, the laminate trimmer bit, and 1/2" straight bit.
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I like the idea of buying cheap bits for rough work, and learning to use your router with bits that won't make you cry if you ruin them (that's what I did).
OTOH - there can be a significant in the quality of the outcome with a better bit, especially on harder woods, at least so my minimal experience shows me. On softer woods it does not seem to make as much difference.

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"Mike O." wrote in message ...

Ok
My opinion: Kits are a waste of money unless you are buying matched bits. You would buy the better quality bits soon after noticing the difference between a low and high quality bit. By high quality, I don't necessarily mean the best available.

I use straight flute for ploughing, ball bearing guide bits for truing and round-over bits most often. I also use a keyhole bit for making jigs. I will only buy other bits when a specific need arises.

Buy wisely, pay once, hurt once.
Greg
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I don't often disagree with Greg, and I don't really in this case. However (and there's generally a however), when I need a router bit which I don't already have on hand, it stops what I'm doing, and sends me down to the woodworker's store, in a frame of mind to spend. Seldom am I able to get out of there with just the $9 blurfl (or $17 whatzzit) that I went in there to purchase.
So the $50 I spent on the 10 piece set at Woodcraft today actually SAVED money! Yea, that's it. I saved money by buying the set! Because I won't go into the store and buy something I won't know I'll need, until I can't find it, and have to buy another one....
These $5 router bits aren't Whiteside or Freud, but they are a really good value for $5 each. If you consider that after a couple of hundred lineal feet of routing, they start to get somewhat dull, then.... For a commercial shop, I'd buy the Whiteside quality, and have them sharpened by a good service.
The alternatives are hand tools, which our fathers and grandfathers sharpened themselves.
Use that router safely. www.patwarner.com for details.
Patriarch
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Well, that set me laughing. Now, let's both bare our souls for a minute, I bought a "kit" of 7 bits and have 3 that I have not used to date, though I have had to buy others that were not in the kit.
How many of the 10 in your kit still retain their shine? <g>
Greg
"patriarch " <<patriarch> wrote in message ...

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Only bought 'em this afternoon! They're ALL still shiny!
I had some stuff to go back to Woodcraft, tools that I bought as part of a group of things to try to solve a problem. They said to bring back those I didn't use/need, so I did.
This is a good retailer, and I feel well cared for. Of course, there have been a couple of large pallets of Delta gear with my name on it pass through there.
Patriarch
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