I am hoping to receive some advice on selecting good quality router bits. I
would like to buy a set of 20-30 basic bits. I have looked in an MLCS
catalogue and on Harbor Freight's website and have found that in a packaged
set they average out to about $2.50-3.50/bit. This seems quite reasonable
but I am concerned that the quality of bits might not be great. Both sets
are carbide tipped but does that guarantee an adequate level of durability?
I absolutely agree that quality varies a great deal in router bits and
for bits you'll use most frequently, it's worth buying good ones
(Whiteside, Amana, CMT, etc.) I'm not sure I agree about saving money
in the long run, though. I started with a 15-piece set from MLCS for
$35. That is about the price of one basic, brand-name, good-quality
bit. I haven't used every bit in the MLCS set yet, but I have used
most of them, they've performed very well, and I think I've gotten more
than my money's worth from that set. (Their customer service is also
top-notch, in my opinion.) I would have spent a lot more money buying
each of the bits I've needed individually. I've also gotten a few
nicer bits in styles I use more, and they're a step up, and worth the
money for frequent use. I'd recommend against HF or the cheapo chinese
sets on ebay (50 bits for 50 bucks kind of thing) - one of my friends
has one of those huge cheap sets, and I think it's definitely several
steps below MLCS in quality.
My advice: start with a mid-priced set (i.e. MLCS), and replace the
most-used bits with really good ones as they start to wear out.
Hope this helps,
My thoughts of all in one sets:
sets are good, if you get a complete set.
there is a possiblity out of thirty bits you'll use 30% of them, and you'll
need 2x or 3x of what you get of those types of bits you do use. a big one.
If there cheesy, you may be better off in the first place buying better
specific sets. You don't need to buy big sets from big names. There are
somes types you definetely need all sizes! You could think of your nexrt
project. You think 30 is a lot, until you need it. 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 for
sure, say straight bits. You could start one small set at a time with a
full set of all sizes: straight, oggee, roundover, beading set, rabett, &
other great likea rail and stile panel set. You won't get a full set of any
of those. Then what do you do? Count 'em. You will be lucky if you can
get through your first project with an all in one set. And you won't be able
to do some stuff all together. Changes abound. Look at the set and see
what sizes of each of these you do get! 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4" of
anything, not! its a grab bag You might get grabbed! A panel set is an
awesome thing to have. Expensive. Nothing like it in an all in one set.
Nothing you can use. I have a good Ti 26 pce set, but DON'T have a lot. A
total hit and miss. But there good, so I'm happy. I want to buy a set of
undersized plywood bits, not one. all undersized by the same amount, and in
3 sizes. No such tyhing in a big set. No tight plywood dado joints. Think
abou tthat, righ toff the bat; no tight joints, no panels, hit and miss
profile of any kind or size, and tons of crap.
Alternative, get an all in one, and deal with it, and fill in if you need it
in the future. But you'll have to buy sets in the future, so you'll
duplicate everything you bought in the first place. Its the things you'll
need once in a blue moon that you get lots of in an all in one set
Just remember... the average router is turning at "about"
Do you really want to be holding on to a router with a
$3.50 router bit with carbide that might have been glued
Try to imagine the conversation with the E/R folks about
what you were doing when the carbide came loose.
Joseph Handy wrote:
Right, you have to spend at least $5 for a good bit. Seriously, I bought
some of the Woodcraft bits when they had the $5 special. While not a high a
quality as Infinity, Whiteside, etc, they do work and none have come loose.
If you want a good medium price bit, check out Lee Valley. I've used a few
of them also and would not hesitate to do it again.
router bits quality varies a lot, but having lots of profiles available is a
my advice (and what I did) is:
buy a 50 bit set or so out of ebay, you can usually get them at less than $1
replace the bits that you use often by good one (watch the $5 bit sales at
woodcraft for example)...
this will give you quality bits for the most used ones, but still a large
choice at little cost (and the box to hold them, I have mine screwed to the
wall behind my router table, extremly convinient).
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