Relative router bit worth

Semi-new to routing. I have built a router table in a wing of my table saw and finally got around to getting a decent (2.5 rated hp) router with a 1/2" collet. Now comes the fun part ... buying bits and learning how to use them (well).
What bit patterns do you consider essential for a newbie? ... just plain fun to use? ... best brand for the buck? I've used a straight bit with bearing to trace a pattern from a template but am otherwise still a rank newb. I want to make some cabinet doors for around the house (mostly the kitchen), add tongue & groove (or other fancy) joints to my slicing board glue-ups and maybe make some replacement window frames for my garage.
I don't expect to do any freehand routing in the near future (I also have a smaller router).
Bill
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Semi-new to routing. I have built a router table in a wing of my table saw and finally got around to getting a decent (2.5 rated hp) router with a 1/2" collet. Now comes the fun part ... buying bits and learning how to use them (well).
What bit patterns do you consider essential for a newbie? ... just plain fun to use? ... best brand for the buck? I've used a straight bit with bearing to trace a pattern from a template but am otherwise still a rank newb. I want to make some cabinet doors for around the house (mostly the kitchen), add tongue & groove (or other fancy) joints to my slicing board glue-ups and maybe make some replacement window frames for my garage.
I don't expect to do any freehand routing in the near future (I also have a smaller router).
Bill
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One bit that I'd consider basic is a trim bit with a bearing. You can buy them with the bearing above the carbide, below the carbide or with a bearing one on each end. My preference (and it depends on what you're trimming is for one bearing to be between the shaft and the carbide. Don't consider any size of bit except for ones with a 1/2" shaft.
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=1&pF171&cat=1,46168
I've used a straight bit with

There's four basic bits for door panels. The two most important are rail and stile bits. You can by one that has both carbides built into the one bit, but two separate router bits are generally preferred. Next bit is the panel bit for cutting the centre panels for doors. That bit comes in two flavours, a horizontal type and a vertical type. The horizontal type requires increased power and a slower router speed. The vertical type requires less power, can be run at higher speeds but needs a fairly high fence to properly support the wood you're routing. The fourth bit which can be optional depending on what other bits you might own is for back cutting the centre panel for proper centering of the centre panel between the rails and stiles. Take a look at some of the picture and details in the link below.
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=1&pF178&cat=1,46168
You can buy a boxed set for decent prices, but if it's a set for general everything use, it's likely to include some bits that you might never use, wasting some of your money. Suggest you buy your collection of bits as you need them unless you're sure you want to go the box set route. I'd also suggest making or buying something to firmly hold your bits. While very hard, the carbide on bits likes to shatter if dropped.
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=1&pP736&cat=1,46168
Of course there's lots more to learn, but it comes pretty quick.
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None. I bought them as I needed them.
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That is what I do as well. Buy what you need when you need it. Jim
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Yeah, that's true if you are doing a lot of projects and know what you need in the way of bits, but if you're new to the router, it's fun to have a bunch of bits to play with on scrap and see the possibilities.. For me, the set at HF were a great way to play & learn..YMMV Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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How do you store and identify the bits?

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There is some good info above so I won't be redundant. However, I would buy a couple useful but simple (roundover, straight, etc) bits and get to know the machine before heading off on the project. In addition, I would use both your new table and your smaller hand held model. It is important to become proficient at both.
FYI- Recently, in desperation, I ended up buying a Ryobi bit. It was so low in price that I expected it to be junk. But to my surprise it is not as bad as I had concerned.
Good Luck!
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Joe Bemier wrote:

That squares with my general experience with Ryobi. I need a cheap blurfl ASAP which of course will soon be replaced by a "real" blurfl... and years later the Ryobi is still doing general duty. That's the case with a 1/4 sheet palm sander I have and also a 1.5 hp fixed-base router. In fact, that same router, but with a Crapsman badge, was my father's only router for years, and he was making nice furniture. (Obviously not cope-and-stick joints, but hey.) Then he got a P-C, which of course went into the table, and so I'd say we still use the Ryobi more.
But then there's the Ryobi detail sander, which is currently way ahead in the paperweight sweepstakes.
And on a slightly different note, I'm more likely to skimp on the power tool-- but carefully, of course-- than on bits, blades, etc. To me, as long as the $50 Ryobi router holds the bit square to the base and spins it, then it makes perfect sense to get that and put a $50 bit in it. I'd put a WWII on a bench saw way before I'd equip a contractor's saw with a cheaper blade. Maybe that's weird. I just think bits and blades are an excellent place to put money.
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Ok, Bill... here's what I did and I expect to get flamed for it.. *g*
I bought 1 "good" bit, a 3/8" half-round, which is my most used bit... I round the edges on most things from hardboard bench tops to shelf fronts..
Then I got the assortment of 1/2" bits from Harbor freight... http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber298
I think I paid about $40 for it, but IMO it's worth the $60 when not on sale..
I popped the 3 plastic tilting holders out of the box and put them in a drawer in the router table using a strip of peg board for the holes to let them swivel..
My intent was to have a lot of shapes to play/experiment with and find which bits I used enough to replace with "good" ones, but I've used and abused these for a few years and they've been great... YMMV Mac
https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis https://home.comcast.net/~mac.davis/wood_stuff.htm
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You might want to peek at the Sept/Oct Fine Woodworking "Ten Essential Routre Bits" http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/Pages/fw_186_062.asp for a preview.
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I faced the same "problem" a few years ago, I bought the cheapest possible set of 16 bits. They are not too bad as it happens, but when I wear one out, I buy a decent replacement, usually Triton. There's still 3 or 4 of the set that's pretty much unused.
It seems a good approach, by giving you a lot to play with for a start, then lets you identify the bits YOU need for YOUR woodworking. It also lets you develop some skill in sharpening bits, and it's not a huge loss if you screw up. (You will!)
Barry Lennox
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