Router bits - 1/4" vs. 1/2" , which brands

I am in the process of getting a few tools together for various projects I would like to tackle. The first project (a bed) will require some mortise and tenon joinery. For the types of pieces I need to work with, it looks as though some shop-made jigs and a router will be the best way to go. Future products will likely involve some raised panel doors.
I currently have a ~20 year old low-end Craftsman router with a 1/4" collet and a few cheap bits. As I have begun looking at adding to my collection of bits, I have come to the realization that it doesn't take that many decent quality bits to add up to more than my router is worth. My guess is that my next router would have at least a 1/2" collet and ideally would have a 1/4" collet as well. That begs the question - which bits is it worthwhile to buy with a 1/4" shank?
Question 1:
For my first project, I anticipate needing something along the lines of a 1/4" spiral (mortises) and a 1/2" straight (tenons). Is it reaonsable to assume that I should be able to get decent performance out of a 1/4" shank on these bits?
Question 2:
When trying to do raisesd panel doors, does a 1/4" shank provide enough stability to get decent results?
Question 3:
I assume that I will be looking for carbide-tipped bits. What brands should I consider? I don't want to buy throw-away bits, but at the same time, I am not doing production runs.
TIA, Mike
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No.
NO ! !

Whiteside, Amana, Jesada, Freud, CMT, and a few others. check out www.routerbits.com But a good router. Get some good information at www.patwarner.com Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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wrote:

bits with 3/8" and less cutter diameters

for the 1/4" spiral, yeg but get solid carbide and treat them carefully.
for the 1/2", use a 1/2" shank.

NO.
http://tinyurl.com/5slse
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I use Woodline.com The panel raiser is the real bear. I'd investigate the vertical panel raiser if I didn't have a shaper. Wilson

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When your funds permit, buy a better router with 1/2" collet. I would no get anything below 1.5 hp. You might consider a kit to allow you have both a plunge and a fixed base router, and possibly variable speed. In my opinion however, I think variable speed is more important for the higher power routers pushing the large diameter raised panel bits. For certain cuts and applications you will want to consider up to a 3 1/2 hp unit. I have a Porter Cable 7539 for heavy plunge freehand work and it is just great. I just recently cut one-pass dado's in 3/4" oak plywood with multiple boards done at once. Performance was perfect and extremely smooth. I also use the PC 690 model.
As far as bits, once you buy a good router, spend at least as much for your bit collection. I would suggest Freud, Whiteside, or Amana for bits.
Philly45

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wrote:
<snip>

part router bits are more easily replaced. Whatever you decide, avoid Taiwan or China made bits. USA is very good.
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<snipped> Opinions are inserted:

As important as the collet/shank size is, for the mortise cutting, you will need either an accurate adjustable fence on your plunge router, or a good jig, with a template-following method which is accurate, safe and repeatable. Determine whether your current router offers any of those features, before proceding. Otherwise, find other means of safely cutting the mortise and tenons, or find a new router.

Few responsible manufacturers will even offer these bits. Product liability is one good reason.
And NO ONE recommends doing these 'free hand'. At very least, you will need a basic router table. Shop made is fine. Alternative means of raising panels include, among others, using hand planes, or a table saw.

It's easy to get carried away buying bits. Go slowly.
But work safely. Have fun. Think through each operation carefully. Most of all, when that little voice in your head says "I'm not comfortable with this!", stop, and think it through again. And find someone to talk it over with. Tools can bite you hard.
Patriarch
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wrote:
|I am in the process of getting a few tools together for various projects |I would like to tackle. The first project (a bed) will require some |mortise and tenon joinery. For the types of pieces I need to work with, |it looks as though some shop-made jigs and a router will be the best |way to go. Future products will likely involve some raised panel doors. | |I currently have a ~20 year old low-end Craftsman router with a 1/4" |collet and a few cheap bits. As I have begun looking at adding to my |collection of bits, I have come to the realization that it doesn't |take that many decent quality bits to add up to more than my router |is worth. My guess is that my next router would have at least a 1/2" |collet and ideally would have a 1/4" collet as well. That begs the |question - which bits is it worthwhile to buy with a 1/4" shank? | |Question 1: | |For my first project, I anticipate needing something along the lines |of a 1/4" spiral (mortises) and a 1/2" straight (tenons). Is it |reaonsable to assume that I should be able to get decent performance |out of a 1/4" shank on these bits?
Yes, if you limit yourself to light cuts and multiple passes. | |Question 2: | |When trying to do raisesd panel doors, does a 1/4" shank provide enough |stability to get decent results?
No way. Frankly, I haven't done these with a router. I use the table saw, which of course limits the profile. If I decide to get fancier, I'll look into the vertical bits.
| |Question 3: | |I assume that I will be looking for carbide-tipped bits. What brands |should I consider? I don't want to buy throw-away bits, but at the |same time, I am not doing production runs.
I've settled on Whiteside purchased from routerbits.com. These guys are *fantastic*! (There are some companies out there that I'll never do business with again...Rockler leaps to mind, but routerbits is a joy to deal with) They ship express mail and it usually costs them more than they charge me. Whiteside bits were rated very high in FWW and I agree with their assessment.
I have a DeWalt 625 router, as well as an old Craftsman, similar to yours. The '625 is very powerful, very heavy and a bit unwieldy, so may be overkill much of the time. It does have dual collets, however. In fact, I'm thinking about a lower power router to replace the Craftsman that resides in the table.
But, may I offer a suggestion, which honesty requires me to admit I haven't followed myself, but am considering.
If cutting mortises is your primary consideration, think about a dedicated hollow chisel mortiser instead of the router/bit/fixture/edge guide/guide bushing.....
Wes
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Wes Stewart wrote:

I was rather surprised when I saw that raised door kits were available in 1/4" shanks. That was way beyond my expectation for that small of a piece of metal moving that fast. One other thing that I didn't take into consideration is that the only way I get variable speed is by repeatedly squeezing and releasing the trigger... :)
I have seen the table saw method described in books, but it seems as though the edge of the blade would leave a rather sharp edge between the bevel and the face of the panel. Does this not happen, or does it normally get knocked down with sandpaper, a plane, etc.? My current TS is rather lacking as well ($179 sears special ~5 years back). I'm leaning toward the Ridgid TW3560. The Borg just dropped it to $549 and it has a $100 gift card rebate.

I was at first heading that direction, but I started looking at the things I can do with a mortiser and the things that I can do with a router or a drill press. Arguably, the mortiser is a bit more limited in its use. In looking around the net (Amazon reviews, etc.) it seems as though the one that is in my price range (Delta 14-651 @188 + ~44 for a bit) has rather mixed reviews.
Thanks for the feedback that everyone has given. To a large part it has confirmed my suspicions.
Mike
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+ ~44 for a bit) has rather mixed reviews.

Mike, before you go too much futher, spend $40 on this book:
http://www.taunton.com/store/pages/070534.asp
Andy Rae's Complete Illustrated Guide to Furniture and Cabinet Construction. It's cheaper than a good raised panel router bit, and shows a whole bunch of safe alternative methods to doing lots of the things you will be trying to do, if I read your intentions from your posts.
There are a few good tool recommendations in there, too.
Patriarch
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wrote:
|Wes Stewart wrote:
|> wrote: |> |Question 2: |> | |> |When trying to do raisesd panel doors, does a 1/4" shank provide enough |> |stability to get decent results? |> |> No way. Frankly, I haven't done these with a router. I use the table |> saw, which of course limits the profile. If I decide to get fancier, |> I'll look into the vertical bits.| |I was rather surprised when I saw that raised door kits were available |in 1/4" shanks. That was way beyond my expectation for that small of |a piece of metal moving that fast. One other thing that I didn't take |into consideration is that the only way I get variable speed is by |repeatedly squeezing and releasing the trigger... :)
Ooops [g] You definitely want to slow these babies down. The look of them scares the hell out of me so I can't say that I have personal experience. Seems like a job for a shaper rather than a router to me. | |I have seen the table saw method described in books, but it seems as |though the edge of the blade would leave a rather sharp edge between |the bevel and the face of the panel. Does this not happen, or does |it normally get knocked down with sandpaper, a plane, etc.?
Sure, the edges are going to be whatever the blade leaves behind. To date, I use my panels with the raised side in (Shaker style), or down in the case of drawer bottoms, so it doesn't much matter to me. You could certainly ease the edges with a block plane, sandpaper, etc. But for sure, you're not going to have any curved surfaces.
|My current |TS is rather lacking as well ($179 sears special ~5 years back). I'm |leaning toward the Ridgid TW3560. The Borg just dropped it to $549 |and it has a $100 gift card rebate.
Can't help you with this decision. I had a 20-year old Craftsman and finally decided that I was going to get serious about this stuff and justified, in my mind anyway, the purchase of a Unisaw. | |> If cutting mortises is your primary consideration, think about a |> dedicated hollow chisel mortiser instead of the |> router/bit/fixture/edge guide/guide bushing.....| |I was at first heading that direction, but I started looking at the |things I can do with a mortiser and the things that I can do with |a router or a drill press. Arguably, the mortiser is a bit more |limited in its use.
For sure. My last experience with one was in junior high shop class a looong time ago. But if you were purchases tooling *only* to do mortises then the router+bit+jig+mortising chisel... isn't cost effective. Once you look at the other many uses for a router then this bet is off.
|In looking around the net (Amazon reviews, etc.) |it seems as though the one that is in my price range (Delta 14-651 |@188 + ~44 for a bit) has rather mixed reviews.
Unfortunately.
Wes
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