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Thread: Are MCLS router bits any good?

  1. #1

    Are MCLS router bits any good?

    I think I remember hearing good things, but the suspiciously affordable price tag has me wondering. In particular Iím looking at this set of spiral downcut bits.

    MLCS Woodworking Solid Carbide Spiral Downcut 3 Pc. Set

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Lake Gaston, Henrico, NC
    I bought one once, a long time ago. Now, I stick with Whiteside, or Amana, almost always.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    MCLS has been producing router tooling for a very long time. If you need those three sizes, the set seems reasonably priced. I tend to use Amana, Whiteside and Yonko (Amazon) for spirals.

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

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Cambridge Vermont
    I use to order from MLCS quite often but I've had problems getting a correct order from them so I stopped. This was around the very beginning of this year. Hopefully they have sorted things out. On my last order most of what I got was wrong, the replacements they sent me were wrong, then they sent me an order with someone elses name on it which was totally wrong, and finally sent me more wrong stuff. I finally gave up. I came out ahead as far as dollar amount goes as the last thing they sent me was their fast joint system with all the extra templates (I ordered router bits). Can you imagine how surprised I was expecting a box with 4 router bits only to see a box over 2' long weighing 10 pounds or so at my front door?

    I like MLCS as they have some bits nobody carries and they have two lines, MLCS and Eagle America. I get the MLCS for occasional use and the better Eagle America for bits I plan on using more often. I assume their problems were covid staffing issues.

  5. #5
    To specifically address the types of bits you are considering, I just compared purchasing those 3 individual bits at Centurian Tools, and find that you'll pay the same price or slightly less for Centurian, and I'm certain they will outperform the MLCS. Every vendor seems to have areas they excel at, but MLCS is not really the greatest on these spirals. Especially looking at the sample image - not the greatest example of machining, and that price is not what I'd consider a screaming bargain. That being said, I have had decent luck with MLCS's standard carbide tipped tooling, especially the Katana stuff. I encourage you to try the Centurian route for spirals - I've used them for years with solid results every time, and clearly, they still are competitive for price.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Lewiston, Idaho
    I use MLCS bits. I especially like their Katana series. They have served me well.

  7. #7
    I probably have more MLCS bits than any other brand. Price and service has always been great - but I have not ordered from them recently.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Gold Coast, Australia
    I bought a couple of bits from MLCS last year since they had the profile I wanted. Both of them have undersized shanks. One of them moves in the collet even when tightened down very hard. Before and since its been Whiteside and Infinity for me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Doylestown, PA
    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fitzgerald View Post
    I use MLCS bits. I especially like their Katana series. They have served me well.
    That is my experience too. I don't live too far away from their showroom so stop in there occasionally. They sample shipments so use a bit for one or two cuts then sell them for about half price but not on line. I've never bought a spiral from them so can't comment.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Shorewood, WI
    It may be so old it's no longer relevant, but a review quite some years ago in Fine Woodworking found that Whiteside bits are tops, and that MLCS bits are very low priced but decent - a good buy.

    Since then they have acquired Eagle, higher quality than their regular bits. I don't know how their Katana premium line compares.

    If you are buying bits to make sure you have a profile on hand, MLCS level bits make sense to me. If you plan to depend on it for a while, getting the cleanest cutting and most durable bit possible may make more sense.

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