I just got a router but have no bits yet. What is the best way to get
router bits? Just buy the ones you need as you come to them in a
project? Or buy a set? Are there different qualities (I'm sure there
are) - what are the different options/prices?
When I first bought a router I purchased a cheap boxed set for experimental
purposes just to get used to the router in general.
As the bits in the US are much cheaper than the UK i'd suggest you buy
better quality bits seperate when you're confident of routing.
In the words of me...
the router is the ultimate woodworkers tool since slide bread... ;-)
You get what you pay for.
For starters if you do not need or know exactly what you need a cheap set
that you can easily afford would be a good choice. As you experiment with
the different bits and learn to use particular ones more frequently, replace
the cheap bits with a better brand bit that will last longer. If you do not
have an assortment to begin with you may never know what the variety of bits
will do for you. Buying an expensive set to start with would most likely
leave you with several expensive bits that you will seldom use.
> I just got a router but have no bits yet. What is the best way to get
> router bits?
Router bits are very much application specific.
Buy as many 1/2" shank as possible.
Buy them when you need them with the following possible exceptions:
Buy a good quality rounding over set (1/8", 1/4", 3/8", 1/2")
(My cove bit set is an el-cheapo YMMV)
Buy a good quality straight bit set (1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 3/4")
Buy a good 1/4" up spiral bit
Buy at least one good pattern bit (I like 3/4")
Buy at least one good flush trim bit (I like 3/4")
The above are my general purpose "work horse" bits I use over & over.
They are of good quality.
Anything else has to make me think I will use it more than once to buy
"good", otherwise it is an el-cheapo.
Try these guys:
I'm a hobbyist and I've been buying from them for years. Good service,
good prices. I have a few of their premium "Katana" bits too. For
occasional use, the basic types are just as good.
Also check these guys out:
Only bought a raised panel set from them. Wasn't the greatest quality
but $40 bucks for all three bits was a lot better than buying 'real'
bits for $200. Doors came out fine.
I agree with those that suggest buying a cheap set so you can get used
to the tool and figure out how you are going to use it. I would just
stay away from HSS bits, they burn up way too quickly.
Yeah,I checked them out but their shipping cost was high along with some of
the bits I'm interested in.
This guy on ebay seems to be the lowest shipping cost at $15, alas
sometimes the problem is you get out bid by another bidder.
I can only go upto a certain amount, after that it wouldn't be economical
to buy it at a higher price.
If you buy a set of assorted bits you will end up paying less per bit (quite
a bit less actually). Then as you start to settle in on projects you can
move up in quality and buy the specialized bits you need.
Woodcraft sells halfway decent bits in sets of 10 and 20. I bought one of
the 20 bit sets a couple of years ago and it provides good variety for
general purpose routing and learning. BTW, you can buy these at about $30 -
$40 less during a good part of the year when they have sales.
There are other sets from other suppliers that are probably just as good.
This is just an example. Also, if your router accepts both 1/4" and 1/2"
bits I recommend you go with the 1/2".
I agree with this approach. Relatively new to routing and was
considering this very same question. Thought through my project
expectations for the next year or so and settled on half a dozen
(including two multi-router bit sets . . . plywood and rabbet).
Bought relatively good grade and couldn't be happier.
I'd suggest tryiing to identify a core set of bits that you'll use most
frequently and buying the best quality you can afford (my personal
preference is Whiteside). If you can find them in a set, or at least
some of them in a set, I'd buy them that way - you'll save money. For
less frequently used bits I think the quality of the bit is less
important and I buy mine as I need them.
Identifying a core set of bits will depend on how you'll use your
router. There's an article in the current issue of Fine Woodworking
(Oct 2006) entilted '10 essential router bits' that you might find
I've also had good luck with bits from Lee Valley. When I got my first
router a bought a 12 piece set from them; I've used every bit in the
set and they've held up well.
Whatever you buy, buy carbide and try to get 1/2" shank.
You don't mention what shank size your router will handle. So make a
trip to CSTCO and buy their set. At the COSTCO near me the set of 24 is
$37.00 or something like tha. As others have mentioned be sure and only
buy carbide teeth router bits. And watch Ebay for bits. They are
frequent good buys.
My "set" was built by need. One by one based on what was needed.
Bought HSS based on cost and SOON realized that was a mistake. Before
your collection gets large you DON'T want them banging around in a
drawer loose. Plan a storage scheme that allows the identification of
each bit. Mine, both 1/4" and 1/2" shanks, are in a box with sliding
lid hung under the bench out of the way and convenient for use. Sent
the idea to FWW and they printed it and I got a year subscription
check for it.
Lee Valley sells a 12 bit boxed set that contains pretty much all the bits
you'd probably need to get started. It's a good deal on high quality bits,
and will most likely keep you going for a while, at least until you need
some specialized ones.
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