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Thread: Reformed Router Bit Snob

  1. #1
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    Reformed Router Bit Snob

    In the past, I was a complete router bit snob. I would only purchase bits made from a few high-end manufacturers & if possible bit with a 1 shank. Then I was gifted a trim router that only used 1/4" bits.

    The trim router sat unused for about a month until I needed to put an 1/8" round over on a lot of parts. The trim router seemed a better option than the PC 690 so I ordered an 1/8" round over with a 1/4" shank from one of the high-end companies.

    Somewhere down the line I need a bit for a very specific job. When I searched online I saw that instead of paying $25-$35 for a bit that I might only use on a single project I could pay $8-$10 for the bit and have it delivered to my door for free in two days. I paid the $10 and the bit more than met my expectations.

    Now I look for value instead of a name when I search for bits. Many times I start with names like Yonico, Hiltex & Yakamoz to see their offerings. I read reviews to see what others say before blindly purchasing a brand. Im obviously not the only one. Today I looked on Amazon for undersized straight bits for plywood. Whiteside has a three bit set for $52.11 that 65 people gave a 4.5 star review. Yonico has a three bit set that 199 people gave a 4.5 start review. YMMV.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Drackman View Post
    In the past, I was a complete router bit snob.

    Somewhere down the line I need a bit for a very specific job. When I searched online I saw that instead of paying $25-$35 for a bit that I might only use on a single project I could pay $8-$10 for the bit and have it delivered to my door for free in two days. I paid the $10 and the bit more than met my expectations.

    Now I look for value instead of a name when I search for bits. YMMV.
    I own several of those delivered free to your door bits. None has ever failed to deliver the goods. One 1/2"straight shank bit was used to cut ribs for a rounded work station, with a total of over 200' in 3/4" plywood. Bit still cuts good, without any sharpening. Absolute toughest bit I ever owned is a 1/4" straight bit from Woodcraft. Remember their five dollar bits? In a trammel, routing a circle, it cut half the head off a drywall screw, with no damage to cutters.

  3. #3
    Smaller bits and some medium bits I get 1/4" shanks so I can use them in the Colt router. Nice to be able to use one hand on the router and the other for something else. For the most part I try to use Whiteside bits, but I have been surprised by a few other unknown to me brands like Task and Akzytue.

  4. #4
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    I'm pickin' up what you're puttin' down, BUT something you might not have been aware of regarding cheaper chinese ANYTHINGS on Amazon is the crazy about of fake reviews those companies pay people or give them free products to post. I know this for fact and first hand experience. Happens ALL the time on nearly ALL types products. So sometimes you have to take Amazon reviews with A LOT of skepticism.
    That said, I only buy Whiteside router bits (guess I'm still a router bit snob) and have never found them to be overly expensive. Ive always thought them to be best bang for the buck and somewhere in the middle cost-wise.
    If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Wrenn View Post
    I own several of those delivered free to your door bits. None has ever failed to deliver the goods. One 1/2"straight shank bit was used to cut ribs for a rounded work station, with a total of over 200' in 3/4" plywood. Bit still cuts good, without any sharpening. Absolute toughest bit I ever owned is a 1/4" straight bit from Woodcraft. Remember their five dollar bits? In a trammel, routing a circle, it cut half the head off a drywall screw, with no damage to cutters.
    The original post made me think of those $5 bits from Woodcraft. I think I got most that they offered, and I have actually used most of them. When I lived closer to them, I would pick up the occasional Whiteside bit they would put on sale. All the Woodcraft and Rockler private label bits I have gotten work just fine. In fact most of my router bit drawer is green and light blue, with some orange and red and unpainted thrown in. I just ordered a purple Griz one with some other stuff I got; we'll see how that one does, probably just fine would be my guess.

    I don't use router bits all that often, and when I do mostly it is round overs and chamfers, both handheld and in a table. The non-premium bits have all worked well. I do have a CMT drawer bit, and some Freud's frame and panel bits I inherited.

    I do like the trim router. It is great for said round overs and chamfers on larger items. Easier to control than a bigger router.

  6. #6
    Anytime you see all 5 star reviews on anything I am skeptical. I rarely give out a 5 star review. If 3 is average and 4 is good that means 5 is fantastic. Most everything I own is good, not much is fantastic. I think I've given out one 5 star review and a couple of 4.5s. The rest are 4 and below. A 4 star review is a good review.

  7. #7
    The only "cheap bit" that I was really disappointed in was a dovetail bit to make half blind dovetails. It failed where the carbide transitions to the shank. I bought a CMT which is still working. But for most bits, I have been pleased with the cheaper bits. My favorite is MLCS woodworking but I've been pleased with bits off Amazon too.

  8. #8
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    I guess I am a snob but I really like Freud bits especially the Quadra Cut. If I have only a one time use, I will get cheaper bits. Where I am running 100 ft of cut or more, I use Freud or Whiteside.

  9. #9
    I remember going into Woodcraft, years ago, and literally buying all the $5 bits, all of them. I did this on fairly regular basis, as my work burned through a lot of bits. One day I walked into thw store and asked the manager, whom knew me very well, if they would be doing the $5 bit sale again. He looked me dead in the face and denied that that had ever been a thing.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Frank View Post
    I guess I am a snob but I really like Freud bits especially the Quadra Cut. If I have only a one time use, I will get cheaper bits. Where I am running 100 ft of cut or more, I use Freud or Whiteside.
    Agreed. Almost any bit will do fine for 10 feet or 20 feet. In carefully conducted tests we know the names that will go many, many times this far. For a one off or something really weird I will buy a cheap bit to get me through the job because it will do fine long enough for me to get through the job.
    Who knows what stands in front of,
    our lives; I fashion my future on films in space.

  11. #11
    I own a CMT 1/2" up spiral solid carbide bit, and a MLSC 1/2" solid carbide up spiral bit. Both do the job, but the CMT does it better (quicker and with less burning.) My go to bit for mortises is a HF HSS up cut spiral bit. They are so cheap (a set of three 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2" costs around ten bucks) I consider them "throw aways."

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    Agreed. Almost any bit will do fine for 10 feet or 20 feet. In carefully conducted tests we know the names that will go many, many times this far. For a one off or something really weird I will buy a cheap bit to get me through the job because it will do fine long enough for me to get through the job.
    Yup. Frequent or critical use the premium brands are worth it. When we did our solid surface project we spent the $$ for premium cutters. For doing roundovers or flush trimming on utility cabinets MLCS works just fine.

  13. #13
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    So sometimes you have to take Amazon reviews with A LOT of skepticism.
    I only pay attention to the bad ones. Those give me all the information I really want to know usually.
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  14. #14
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    I have a number of piece of tooling with the Yonico name and they have performed with excellence. I've also purchased quite a bit of USA-made tooling from EBay for specific endmills (spiral cutters) with no regrets. I use Amana for insert cutters and things like tapered ball nose tooling; Whiteside for their .25" compression cutters, etc. The tiny stuff I use I buy off Amazon in multi-packs. By tiny, I'm talking 1mm. IE, I buy what is available for my need at a price I'm happy with.

    Case in point...recent purchase off Amazon is for a .375" up-cut with a 1.75" cutting depth. "Cobra" brand if I recall. I bought it because it was what I could actually find in the configuration I needed. Nothing similar was available on EBay and I wasn't going to pay north of $100 from a "name brand" for this particular non-production application.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  15. #15
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    I stick with Whiteside, Amana and CMT. They work well, seem reasonable on cost.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

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