Router bits (yes .. again!) ... Looking for advice on brands

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I did a quick review through the archive on router bit discussions, but my newsgroup service has many of them deleted already. So I'm hoping for some advice on which brand(s) to look at.
Okay - I'm a novice, but I plan on working a lot in the woodshop to learn how to do quality routing. I'm not adverse to spending a good amount of money if I'm getting what I pay for.
However, don't get me wrong. I'm not rich and I don't expect that they'll be singing songs about my routing skills. I'm buying a Bosch 1617EVS and will be setting it up in a router table. I figure that if I get good enough at this stuff, I'll end up owning several routers anyway, so I'm starting with table work.
The brands I'm looking at are:
- Whiteside (7 bit set $110) - Lee Valley (12 bit set $120) - CMT (13 bit set $250) - Freud (9 bit set $130 ... on sale) - Amana Timberline (12 bit set $60 ... on sale)
Not sure what Amana Timberline is, but they're a LOT cheaper than regular Amana bits. I'm assuming you get what you pay for.
SO .. the big question ... any suggestions on what to buy? I know that sets often leave you with a few bits you never use, but using the various bits will give me great practice with the router.
Thanks!
Jack
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mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net wrote:

using nearly every bit in the set.
AVOID Viper and Woodline bits like the plague. I've gotten only ONE serviceable Viper bit out of 3 samples. Woodline bits, while cheap, don't cut worth a damn (IMO). I know of one poster here who will argue that point. If he lived nearby, I'd offer to show him a simple test in my shop that demonstrates how UTTERLY pathetic the Woodline plywood bits cut, compared to either a Bosch or CMT. Perhaps he has had better luck with that brand because he's used a different type of their bit, or he hasn't compared them directly to a quality bit. I happen to own identical bits from several manufacturers and that allows me to assess the relative merits of each bit under real world conditions.
Dave
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mywebaccts wrote:

<snip>
SFWIW, until they prove they don't deserve it, CMT gets my business.
As far as kits are concerned, I avoid them.
Do buy such things as cove, rounding over or straight side bits in sets, since they are such common bits.
After that, buy them for the task at hand.
When possible, buy 1/2" shanks.
YMMV
Lew
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The crappy bits are dangerous as well. I had a bearing (or two/3/4/) fly off before.. NOT a pleasant experience.
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See the http://www.patwarner.com/routerbits.html link. Might help keep you from chasing shadows.
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"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote in message
Sneeeeip.

As you well know bit sets will probably have bits you seldom or never use. Having all different type bits for practice is over kill. If you master 2 or 3 different style bits, whether they be top bearing, bottom bearing, or plunge, I strongly suggest you get 1/2" shank bits rather than 1/4" shank bits. As for a set, I suggest the one that gives you the most 1/2" shank bits for the money. Most likely you will wear them out quickly. However replace the worn out ones that you use the most with top quality bits. This way when in a pinch you will always have a good assortment. Cheap bits most always will get you through a project or 2. In order of top quality to less IMHO , CMT, Whiteside, Amana, Lee Valley, Freud.
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Actually I would not consider the above brands except for replacement bits to replace bits from a CHEAPER assortment.
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Leon wrote:

trim router).
Dave
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mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net wrote:

I have used these bits quite succesfully.
Imports -- but quality seems good.
http://www.kempston.ca /
-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. George Bernard Shaw
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when he suggested:

Absolutely. Great selection, and fabulous warranty---->replacement. Prices are a bit steep for some of the basic profiles but the more complex bits are very nice indeed. I use a lot of them.
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Robatoy wrote:

I get them at Home Hardware -- Cookstown. Is there a place with better prices?
Mucho Dinero.... for all those bits I have now and I need more.
-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. George Bernard Shaw
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"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote:
[schnipperrrectomy]

"Buy a cheap set and replace the bits you wear out with really good stuff." That is an excellent suggestion. I bought a box of no-name green 1/2" shank misc. bits and they were cheap. No complaints. I found that I was using certain bits on a regular basis, and goodie for me, those shapes are available as insert bits. Insert tooling is made of harder, less porous carbide than conventional brazed carbide-tipped bits; it offers longer service between tool changes; no loss of cutting diameter from sharpening; and lower maintenance costs---replacement inserts usually cost less than the sharpening of brazed-tip bits. Same story with bigger (r=1/2" and bigger) round-over bits. The 'insert' style bits simply blow away the others in quality, economy and repeatability. Even my TruMatch(R) bits are 'insert' style. The fancy bits.... I buy whatever is around and medium price range.
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What's the source of your insert tooling? I did a google search once and turned up very little.

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The CNC guys are into those. It is the repeatability they are after. Adding that info in your searches will help.
For 1/2" shanks the selection is limited, but the fine folks at carbide.com have some:
http://www.carbide.com/catalog/RBits-insert-start.cfm
Royce-Ayr here in Kanuckistan carries their own. They do have a US distribution network. I have no experience dealing with them in the US but here they're a great bunch. They will make me anything without some of those stupid prices others quote me.
http://www.royceayr.com/P_Wood_IT.shtml
Morris might have some sources in in the States.
You will find that the standard flush trimming bits and straight bits are not that expensive. On some of the rabbet bits you get to turn the insert 3 more times, so it's like buying four bits. Keep that in mind when pricing.
You will wonder why they aren't more popular... maybe because there arent that many complex profiles..like raised panel stuff etc.. Also the minimum diameters are larger because they have to to have room for the chipbreakers and screws and all that.
r
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Jack, I have used freud, whitside, amana not timberline, MLCS, Oldham. Old Hickory. The Old Hickory were just plain cheap, the MLCS is my mainstay - I use a lot of them , their better brand Katana is a very very good bit IMHO. The Regular amana and freud and whiteside are generally too expensive and not superior enough. I don't do production work, so I don't need the world's most rugged, bestest bit. The timberline is the economy brand for amana.
Hope that helps.
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gadgetman wrote:

the OP's list of brands.
OP: I can't agree with you on Timberline. I didn't realize you slipped that one in. :)
Dave
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Hi Jack,
I bought a bunch of MLCS bits about 10 years ago (not the set, just the regular cove/round over/chamfer etc). As they dulled out, I have been replacing them with Whitesides.
The Whitesides are superior, but the MLCS will give a hobbyist great service for many years - at a good price.
I think that if I were "starting over", I would buy a 1/2 shank MLCS "anniversary set" for around $160, then add to that when and if there was a need.
Lou
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Lou,
Which set are you talking about? I looked up MLCS anniversary set and found the following set
http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/smarthtml/pages/set25yr.html
of 15 bits for $40 (shipping free).
Are you talking about a different set?
Jack
loutent wrote:

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I got one Whiteside bit to replace the Porter Cable dove tail bit I had, and found it to be a whole lot better. I had some CMT bits and they were good, but, I still think the Whiteside out performs the CMT. robo hippy
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Hi Jack,
I was talking about this set:
http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/smarthtml/pages/se t66.html
(watch the wrap)
It is $190, not $160 like I thought it was.
Lou
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