I need the 1/4" flute & bead bits, aka 'canoe' bits, well, for building a canoe in fact. Woodcraft has the freud router bits for the standard retail, just over $100 for the pair.
However, I can order similar bits from many companies, lee valley, grizzly, mlcs, a couple others for as little as $20 for the pair and more generally $50. The design seems the same, though most have 1/4" shanks and not 1/2". The cut depth limiting taper is now pretty universal and not just for freud.
So, does the fit & finish, and quality of the carbide, justify the cost versus let's just say the grizzly-brand router bits? If you haven't observed significant quality/lifespan differences, I'll probably go with the cheaper bits. They certainly look the same as the freuds. I need to mill around 4000 linear feet on each bit. A 20' canoe ends up using an awful lot of these thin little cedar strips!
thanks for the advice! -Bernard