Thanks for the response.
Did you miss my second question? "And if so, why am I right?"
What should I be looking for in a quality router bit? Is there an
optimum bevel angle? Is there an optimum grade of carbide? What makes
these bits http://www.hartvilletool.com/product/11597 worth so much
more than the woodcraft bits?
I think it would be tough to tell buy looking at them. You have to use them
to see how they perform. Buy bits from well known companies Freud, CMT,
Woodworking magazines review the top brands every once in a while so watch
out for these articles.
I stay clear of woodcraft bits and usually buy CMT. I had a woodcraft
roundover bit that almost ruined a finished project due to massive
sharpening, or what.
But when tested there is a strong correlation between quality of cut/life of
edge and the price.
Some expensive bits are only average, but on the whole...
I haven't quite mastered it yet, but I am working on the philosophy "don't
Places like Ballew Saw or CT Saw will sharpen a carbide bit for less
than $10, sometimes as low as $5. I think Forrest will also do bits,
but they tend to be a tad expensive, so I reserve their services for
I have some $5 Woodcraft bits, which I'll frequently use for MDF to save
wear on my good bits, but good ones last longer and can be sharpened
I like Whiteside, and after a step down, CMT, and Freud. There are some
online sellers of Whiteside, for instance, Ballew Tools, that are far
cheaper than Woodcraft.
When Woodcraft first got into the router bit business, they had some sales
at $5 each. I bought some at that price and was very surprised at how well
they worked. They are not as good as the major brands. For simple projects
and shop fixtures, they are a very good value. It I spent 300 hours on a
fancy desk, I'm going to use the best bit I can get for the roundover, etc.
I admit that I don't do production woodworking and probably don't put
any individual router bits through hundreds of board feet per year,
but my Woodcraft $5 router bits (which I believe are the same bits as
those in the reference set) have worked well for me. I have a couple
of higher priced bits (Whiteside) and I cannot tell any difference in
the cut. Again, I haven't used either enough to require resharpening
(or in the case of the Woodcraft bits, replacing as that is less
expensive than resharpening). If you are doing woodworking for a
living or planning to refurnish your home over the next year, spring
for good bits. However, in my opinion, if this is a hobby and money
has any meaning, the Woodcraft bits are pretty good.
The regular line of Woodcraft bits is pretty good. Not in the same category as
Whiteside, but certainly more than merely adequate. I have several, two of
which have seen pretty heavy use, and haven't had the first sign of a problem
with any of them.
From time to time, though, Woodcraft runs $5 specials on router bits. The
implications of their advertising notwithstanding, these are *not* the same
bits as their regular line. The regular line is made in Taiwan (or was, the
last time I checked), but the five-buck bits are made in China and show all
the earmarks of typical Chinese manufacturing: visible nicks in the cutting
edges, coarser grinding, bearings that don't always spin smoothly.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
I have a direct experience that convinced me to save the woodcraft bits for
mdf projects. I have a few of these bits. I will not buy anymore, no matter
what the cost. I've been building a project out of quartersawn white oak
that requires a lot of roundover edging. I was using the Woodcraft
roundover bit and constantly fought burning, especially in the corners and
end grain. It did not matter if I changed the bit speed or feed rate. It
always burned. I picked up an Amana roundover bit locally and tried it out.
No matter what speed or technique I used, I could not get the Amana bit to
cause any burning. I got nice clean edges. The woodcraft bits are in a dark
corner of the shop now.
Amana bits and blades have all been high quality, IME. I've had an Amano
dado set for years that has been an excellent performer, although I use a
Freud Dial-a-Width most often these days just because it is so much nicer
not to have to futz with shims; and my Amana router bits are grabbed first
for jobs on expensive wood where there is little room for error.
That said, I notice Whiteside came out tops in a recent FWW magazine test
shootout that had Amana with only a "good" rating, with the top four bit
having an "excellent" rating.
Obviously a YMMV.
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