If you buy steel bits, then yes, they're "cheap-o" bits. You can
sometimes tell that they're going dull within 20-30 linear feet of
routing. Carbide bits, however, are a different story. They'll stay
sharp so long that you'll never want to buy anything else again.
Check out www.patwarner.com.
My first router is the venerable PC 690. Got a excellent price on the
693VSPK so I went that route. Haven't plunged with it yet and am told there
are much better plungers.
Yes. Avoid the temptation. Coupl'a things: almost always these a 1/4" shank.
Not that that's always bad, but broadly, 1/2" shank is often better. Of the
Ton-O-Bits, only 3 or 4 will get the use, the others will collect dust.
As others have noted - this is a piece of steel rotating at 20,000+ RPMs and
often groin-level. Is this the time to save some bux?
Start at www.routerbits.com - buy a Whiteside 1/4" round-over, 1/2" shank
bit and start experimenting.
If you are going to get a big beefy 3hp plunge router one of the best
values out there is the Freud FT2000 3hp router. They also sell it in
a kit with a table top ande fence and it's still less expensive than a
Porter Cable 3hp alone.
The fence in this kit is simple but really really nice with dust
collection port, independant adjsutable fence halves and simple micro
adjust. The router also has micro height adjust built in which makes
it real nice for table work and you can add a router raizer for less
than $100 for table top height access.
Check it out at
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
While you certainly want to get peoples' opinions, get to a store and
pick up and adjust the different routers. If you go with brand name I
doubt you'll be disappointed, it's more a personal preference. This
is one area where the woodworking shows excel, you can handle all the
brands in one sitting - pretty much all the vendors are there.
That's how I decided on the DW621 plunge router. I felt it had a
smoother plunge action than the PC, it has a very simple plunge lock
(twist the handle), and a really nice microadjust. I'd read that
people didn't like the safety interlock switch it uses, but after
trying it a couple times it seemed straightforward enough. It's
second nature now. It comes with both a 1/4 & 1/2" collet.
The PC7518 is mounted in my router table. That wasn't so much a 'pick
up and feel' purchase since I knew it'd be hanging permanently under
my router table. I bought that on reputation alone. Comes with a
1/2" collet, but a 1/4" is available.
I also have a very old Craftsman that was my father in laws that I use
as a trim router, but that's not really available anymore. I recently
sold on eBay about a 15-yr old Craftsman router, that was my first,
in a Crafstman aluminum router table. I got $50 for both, which
pleasantly surprised me. I never had the mysterious self-adjusting
depth collet problem others here have had with Craftsman routers, in
fact it had served me well. I would say that I find the DW & PC's to
be much quieter. They are not as top heavy either. The Craftsman
came with a 1/4" collet, I don't know if a 1/2" is available for their
Router bits: when I plan ahead and for bits I know I'll use a lot, I
go for reputed quality. Jesada is whom I buy most from. I don't have
any CMT but they have an excellent reputation as well (and I'd heard
at one point they were the same company, same bits, except for color
of course, but I don't know that to be true). For bits that I don't
expect to use much, I will cut corners, especially if it is a more
expensive profile. I have had good luck with Lee Valley (v-groove T&G
set) and Grizzly (panel raising/rail & stile set, dado set). I have
been disappointed by MLCS (chipped carbide on new bit, bearing not
centered on bit) and Viper (made by Oldham? again, chipped carbide).
But others have had good experience, especially with MLCS. I always
get 1/2" shanks unless the profile simply isn't available on one.
The nice thing about 1/2" shanks/bits is that if/when you buy a
shaper, it will readily accept a 1/2" bit. That's convienant.
On 19 Aug 2003 17:07:06 -0700, email@example.com (Tom Bergman)
Jesada and CMT were never the same company.
Jeasda, once CMT in the USA, marketed the Italian CMT bits. CMT in the USA
started manufacturing its own orange bits and began marketing them as the
Italian CMT bits. That is illegal. The Italian CMT company took CMT in the
USA to court and as a result CMT in the USA became Jesada, named after the
owners children. Jesada continued to manufacture its own bits under the
Jesada name and changed the color to white.
Thaws said, I have several of the real CMT bits and a bunch of Jesada bits.
While the Jesada bits are quite good, I prefer CMT if I am going to put out
big bucks for a bit. I have had several of the shafts rust with the Jesada
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