Finally bit the bullet and purchased my first upcut spiral bit. Using
it to cut mortises (or dados) is a pleasure compared with a straight
bit. Plunging effort isn't any easier, but once you've got the board
down on the bit (on a router table), moving the board (in my first
attempt, red oak) over the bit is FAR easier and the results are superb.
I looked on line for bit prices and was dismayed to see that most
hover just under $50 for a 1 1/4" deep, 1/2 shanked 3/8 spiral upcut. I
ended up getting a Freud locally for $39. Tax was less than shipping
would have been on line. Another benefit is there's no sawdust packed
in the mortise as when using a straight bit.
Sidenote: I Googled to see if the proper term is "upcut spiral" or
"spiral upcut". Seems there is plenty of references to either term!
Freud isn't too bad, but I'm pretty much a CMT bit man almost exclusively
now. I've tried amana, whiteside, lee valley, woodcraft, etc. etc. The
whitesides and amanas are good, but the CMT bits are wonderful. And they
cost a lot to prove it. But, I've found them to hold their edge probably
twice as long as others and the performance new bit vs. new bit is clearly
in favor of the CMT, IMO.
On Thu, 15 Jan 2004 16:15:17 GMT, "Mike in Mystic"
|Freud isn't too bad, but I'm pretty much a CMT bit man almost exclusively
|now. I've tried amana, whiteside, lee valley, woodcraft, etc. etc. The
|whitesides and amanas are good, but the CMT bits are wonderful. And they
|cost a lot to prove it. But, I've found them to hold their edge probably
|twice as long as others and the performance new bit vs. new bit is clearly
|in favor of the CMT, IMO.
While it didn't address spiral bits, FWW Magazine did a comparison
study of double-fluted, carbide straight bits in Issue 137.
Whiteside was the performance winner and was not the highest priced
either. I've been very happy with mine so far.
A word of caution, this happened to me: I was using an upcut in a table to make
a drawer bottom slot in 4/4 birch and the bit worked loose. I was quite
surprised to see it pop up out of the wood like a worm.
This happened to me too.
BE CAREFUL with these bits. In a router table the bit wants to PULL it self
out of the collet. Make sure you have that sucker in the collet good!!
I was making grooves and I couldn't figure out why my grooves were getting
deeper and deeper. I thought my router was working it way up, but it was
the bit pulling it self from the collet.
just the POS Delta attachment for the DP. I HATE that thing. Setting
it up is such a hassle and then you get those frickin' holes in the
bottom of the mortise, lousy sides, hard to set up parallel to the work
piece, and those damn bits always seem to find their way into my
fingers! (I'm too lazy to walk across the shop to get my gloves...) Did
I leave anything negative out? Yes; the quality of the mortise is an
order of magnitude less satisfying than one done with an upcut spiral
router bit. :)
the Freud guy I spent an hour with last week said that cutting metal
requires a softer carbide to prevent the shock of metal cutting from
breaking brittle, but harder carbide designed for wood cutting. I have
no idea if what he said is correct, but everything else we spoke about
leads me to believe him... In other words the carbide for metal is made
softer than what we use for wood cutting. Softer carbide he said would
dull too fast when cutting lots of wood. Might sound counter intuitive,
but that's what the man said. He goes up and down the West coast in a
He was feeding you a line. The generic designation for carbide hardness
ranges from C-2 to C-6. The higher the number, the harder. Endmills are
generally made from C-5 or C-6. Carbide for woodworking cutters (saw blades
and brazed type router bits are the only specs I have seen) is C-2 to C-3.
The softer carbide wears faster than the harder stuff but is a bit tougher
making it more resistant to breaking from uneven feed and chatter that is
more likely to happen when hand feeding. If you want to know about carbide
tooling, seek out a Kennametal dealer. They have done research into carbide
tooling far deeper than you are likely to even want to know. Their tooling
seminar was one of the best industry (metalworking) seminars I ever
attended. They go into carbide grades, coating grades, applications for
same, cutting geometry, feeds and speeds, horsepower requirements for
various cuts with various geometries, ect.
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