I'm confused. Are router bits supposed to be resharpened, like saw
blades? Or are the disposable? I'm in the market for a slot cutter
and a beading bit to make some wide-plank beadboard for a fireplace
surround. I've heard good things about Whiteside, but I can find much
cheaper bits. Is the quality of cut different right out of the gate?
Sam Maloof using those cheapos has really messed with my "buy the best
and only cry once" mentality. Suggestions? I may just go with Lee
Valley and be done with it....
LV is not the only game in town for quality router bits, JP.
I've gotten some real dogs when I've strayed from those brands (I don't
own Whiteside, but so many others swear by them), but I'm not naming
names due to a potential flame war. :)
Router bits are like sawblades. More carbide means more expensive, but it
can be sharpened more times. Less carbide means cheaper, but less (or even
no) sharpenings. My less expensive router bits generally get pitched and
replaced when dull. The more costly ones get sharpened. The cut quality on
both cheaper and pricier is generally good on both initially, however less
carbide (cheaper) bits generally dull faster. If you are just making a
fireplace surround and probably will not use those bits very much afterward,
I'd suggest just buying a "mid-grade" level of bits. --dave
| I'm confused. Are router bits supposed to be resharpened, like saw
| blades? Or are the disposable? I'm in the market for a slot cutter
| and a beading bit to make some wide-plank beadboard for a fireplace
| surround. I've heard good things about Whiteside, but I can find
| cheaper bits. Is the quality of cut different right out of the
Router bits, including solid carbide and spiral bits, are
resharpenable but lose a bit of their diameter with each sharpening.
I'd suggest trying out a new sharpening service with a bit you don't
care much about (I had a 3/4" carbide tipped bit come back ground down
to 5/8" this past year, so that outfit won't see any more of my bits!)
Whiteside produces good bits. So does Amana. MLCS seems decent. The
bits I gotten from LV weren't as sharp as I'd expected (not real
dull - but not real sharp either). I picked up a set of carbide
no-name bits from Menards that would work better as fire-starters than
as cutting tools. If you're looking for cheap, you can have 'em for
free. Only one of the bits has been used - and that for less than five
seconds (it may still smell slightly of white pine smoke).
Yup. The quality of cut /is/ different.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
Thanks, all, for your replies. I think I'm going to go with Whiteside
and I'm going to keep track of the miles I put on them. I'm surprised
FWW hasn't done a good test of bits - magnified pics b4 and after use,
side by side cut comparisons, thickness of carbide, etc...
As a matter of fact, they did just that (though some here might argue
how "good" the test was...) I think it seems like a fairly objective
test overall. Check out
and see what you think.
MLCS likes to share the results of this test on their website.
I've been very happy with every Whiteside bit I have purchased and used (not
all that many; a solid carbide upcut spiral, a few template and flush trims,
and a few roundovers). I cannot say the same for Freud (a 1/2-inch template
bit that cuts undersized). I did try a CMT roundover once, and it worked OK. I
haven't actually tried any others.
BTW, I have become accustomed to the bit *feeling* sharp, as the Whitesides
invariably do on arrival. I cannot say the same for that Freud template bit,
or cheapies I see at the WW shows. They just don't feel as sharp, and I have
to think they would not cut as well.
He's also hand-holding and using them as if they were ball mills most of the
time. Precision means little in the way he works them, just hogging wood.
There's quality of steel, quality of brazing, quality of carbide, and last
of all, "feeling sharp." Not much any of us can do about the first three
without our NDT metallurgy lab, so we have to trust the manufacturer. I buy
the shape I want from the place I'm ordering from at the moment, to combine
for shipping. Or MLCS for bits only, where shipping's folded in. With the
exception that those touting finer-grain carbide put less of it on the bit,
I've found no difference.
I have never purchased the Chinese stuff at a box store.
I called him on his comment about him stating that he knew Sam Maloof "well"
as they were neighbors and then him stating that he did not know something
that should have been common knowledge about a neighbor that you "knew
well". I also asked that he talk to Sam Maloof and get the real story about
his association with the router bit company and I finally received an
obscene comment about my "Neck" ??? ;~) and he disappeared.
I suspect that there was a LOT of speculation or "made up comments" on his
part about Sam Maloof's business affairs.
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