Some of you may be following my previous thread about making cabinet
Does anyone know if the stack rail and stile bits shown midway down
this page are any good? I wonder if they are one of those tools trying
to be good at multiple things but not really good at any.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
MLCS Woodworking Stacked Rail and Stile Router Bit Demo.
Doing a large kitchen project like you are discussing is going to
major load on routers and especially router bits.
You want the best router bits you can find for such a project, it
will be money well spent.
These days I'd look at Whiteside and also maybe Infinity which I've
good luck with in the past.
I've used a few MCLS bits, no problems with them. If their bits were junk
they wouldn't have been around for years.
As far as stacked vs separate bits goes, I don't see much advantage of one
over the other. Mine happen to be separate because they were meant for 3/4"
doors but I also wanted to be able to use them on 1 1/2" doors.
Additionally, there is more than one way to skin a cat. You can...
1. Cut the rail/stile slots on a table saw, assemble square and then use a
profiled cutter around the inside edges. In fact, that is what I've just
done on two pairs of French screen doors. That leaves an arc at the
corners; I don't mind that. One can do the corners by hand if one so
wishes. One can also leave an inch or so unrouted on each rail/stile at the
corner. That used to be common.
2. Put the panel in a rabbet and apply mitered moldings over.
I don't think the comparison has to go to extremes.
I'd say, while they aren't junk, they've been around for years for the
same reason any other company which makes inferior tools has... most
people won't notice the difference nor will they ever spend the extra
money for a superior tool.
I have plenty of their bits and you don't really notice them getting
dull *a lot* faster than a better bit until you have a better bit. You
don't notice how much more dull they are, out of the box, than a
superior bit, until you've used them side-by-side, new.
How many guys use all kinds of saw blades until they finally fork over
the money for a Forrest WWII, only to never use another blade again?
If I'm doing a whole kitchen's worth of cabinet doors, I'm not trusting
a $50 set of bits when I can get a production set for $100-200.
"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
I never quite saw the point in using stacked bits like you referenced.
First off you still have to make an adjustment when moving from one
operation to another.
Second is that you share a cutter for both operations which means that
the bit will last 1/2 as long between resharpening.
All things being equal a two bit set will last twice as long.
I'm half way through my second set of cupboards with this bit
No sign of wear but that's to be expected with Lee Valley. That being
said I wouldn't get another stacked set again. Pain in the butt to
realign the blades.
Besides the blades that you can see in the photo, there are at least
four shims that have to be positioned properly to get a pattern match.
If I ever loose the paper diagram of the blade/shim set up it will be
a royal pain to figure out the alignment again.
Next time I'll get a matched set
Lee Valley products are top quality as is their customer service.
Here's a photo of the cupboards I built for my kitchen
The wood is called Tamarack (Larch?) from a local sawmill. The locals
mostly use it for firewood.
Unless I'm mistaken, there's a big difference between the stacked bit
that I asked about vs. the revesible bit that you linked to.
The stack bit has three cutters and only requires a height adjustment,
not a dismantling of a two cutter bit to change the configuration.
Honestly, I have never made door parts with a router bit. However, I make
doors on shapers, and it is about the same principle. From the Amazon link,
it looks like the center cutter would be working overtime, as it is used in
both cope and stick cuts. This setup should work just fine, however, as
long as you reduce the speed of the router. Be careful that the end cuts on
the workpiece are perfectly square. As for the quality, well who knows?
Maybe working with a lower cost cutters will be wise for someone who is
I also noticed that the center cutter is not very tall, so I must wonder how
it would work on lumber that might be like 13/16. The lumber would have to
be the right thickness and stay in a sweet spot, it seems. Again, I have no
experience doing this.
Have a good day, woodstuff
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