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post #1 of 26 Old 04-08-2020, 08:31 AM Thread Starter
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Router bits

I just ordered a Makita (1/4 inch collet ) router for general use, mortising, edging some shop shelves, and round overs on misc work surfaces.

Thought I would order an inexpensive set of bits from Amazon, however as soon as I start reading reviews I get discouraged. I’m guessing I need about 6 to 8 bits to start with.

Can anyone recommend a decent starter kit that will not exceed the price of the router and be decent for an amateur woodworker like myself? Thanks!
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post #2 of 26 Old 04-08-2020, 08:46 AM
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post #3 of 26 Old 04-08-2020, 09:58 AM
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Every time I've gone with a inexpensive bit I've been disappointed with the cut.
I have always just bought bits as I needed them. It seems most sets come with bits I would never use.
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post #4 of 26 Old 04-08-2020, 10:52 AM
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Well it all depends on what you want to do with your router. I have a Home Depot near me and I bought the straight bit set from Ryobi and the round over set from Ryobi. I had them for several years and used them in my palm router and my router table. Then when I needed specialty bits like a 1/2 ball nose bit for juice grooves on my cutting boards and or a trim bit I just went and bought them when needed including a v-grooving bit. I bought 1/4" and 1/2" shafts since I have routers that have the collets. You will soon find that you might want to get a plunge router.

Once you plunge into the world of routers you might find that Makita may not be enough :)

Marlin
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post #5 of 26 Old 04-08-2020, 01:45 PM
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this is what i did for my son and son-in-law. buy a carbide tip router bit set from home depot or lowes, $50 to $70 for 15 to 25 router bits. chances are you'll end up using the same bits over and over. when you wear them out buy a better version of that bit.

same thing i did when starting out, cept carbide was out of most peoples price range. i bought a set from sears in the 70s, bought a few bits over the years. bought a new set from sears a couple years ago. i seem to use the same 4 bits over and over.

then make my version of cheap router table for $10 or less woodworkingtalk.com/low-buck-router-table-circle-jig

not suggesting ryobi bits, just the only set available locally
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post #6 of 26 Old 04-08-2020, 02:15 PM
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A set like this will cost you just over $20 and will be sufficient to get the feel of your router for most projects, you can then replace the ones you use most with a better grade.
https://amzn.to/2VbB8Ih

Just be aware that is easy for others to spend your money when it doesn't cost them anything.
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post #7 of 26 Old 04-08-2020, 09:03 PM Thread Starter
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I did get the plunge attachment with the Makita so it will function like a big boy router so I get to learn on a smaller version.

Amazon has lots of really inexpensive bit sets and Yonico seems to be a popular brand but I hate buying junk. Are there any middle of road brands, what about Bosch, Diablo or Ryoba?

Probably just need to start with a 1/2 & 3/4 inch mortising bit and 2 round overs to start with.
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post #8 of 26 Old 04-08-2020, 10:34 PM
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Don't worry about "junk". For most bit profiles, just do two or more passes. With the final pass being the last 1/32 being removed. Eventually, when the bit wears out replace it with a good bit.
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post #9 of 26 Old 04-08-2020, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWrick View Post
I did get the plunge attachment with the Makita so it will function like a big boy router so I get to learn on a smaller version.

Amazon has lots of really inexpensive bit sets and Yonico seems to be a popular brand but I hate buying junk. Are there any middle of road brands, what about Bosch, Diablo or Ryoba?

Probably just need to start with a 1/2 & 3/4 inch mortising bit and 2 round overs to start with.

I assume that since your router only uses 1/4 shanks that it is 1 1/4 hp or less. Making dados is very demanding on the motor, especially 3/4 inch wide ones. If you try them you need to make very shallow cuts, probably less than 1/8 inch every pass.

Consider that dados can be made with narrower bits to make perfectly fitting dados using a jig. There are several threads on this site with various designs. It is the only way to get perfectly fitting dados when using plywood since plywood (and other manufactured materials) arenít consistent thicknesses.

Another source for mid quality and low priced bits is MCLS. They make many innovative and hard to find bits and router accessories. They also offer American Eagle router bits that are higher quality and price.

Enjoy your router.
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post #10 of 26 Old 04-09-2020, 06:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Q View Post
I assume that since your router only uses 1/4 shanks that it is 1 1/4 hp or less. Making dados is very demanding on the motor, especially 3/4 inch wide ones. If you try them you need to make very shallow cuts, probably less than 1/8 inch every pass.

Consider that dados can be made with narrower bits to make perfectly fitting dados using a jig. There are several threads on this site with various designs. It is the only way to get perfectly fitting dados when using plywood since plywood (and other manufactured materials) arenít consistent thicknesses.

Another source for mid quality and low priced bits is MCLS. They make many innovative and hard to find bits and router accessories. They also offer American Eagle router bits that are higher quality and price.

Enjoy your router.

It all depends upon the wood, how slow you cut, the sharpness of the bit and other factors. I used my starter router to make a lot of 3/4" dados and did not have to go real shallow. Through use you will find out what works best for you.


I agree on the MCLS. Bought a lot of bits from them, both 1/4 and 1/2" collet.



George
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post #11 of 26 Old 04-09-2020, 08:40 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Q View Post
I assume that since your router only uses 1/4 shanks that it is 1 1/4 hp or less. Making dados is very demanding on the motor, especially 3/4 inch wide ones. If you try them you need to make very shallow cuts, probably less than 1/8 inch every pass.

Consider that dados can be made with narrower bits to make perfectly fitting dados using a jig. There are several threads on this site with various designs. It is the only way to get perfectly fitting dados when using plywood since plywood (and other manufactured materials) arenít consistent thicknesses.

Another source for mid quality and low priced bits is MCLS. They make many innovative and hard to find bits and router accessories. They also offer American Eagle router bits that are higher quality and price.

Enjoy your router.
Yes and probably my first job will be mortising out 3/16 of oak for the jaws of my bench vise. It will be a rectangular shape and guess I clamp an edge guide on each of the three sides to follow the router base?

Not sure if some would do this freehand or not?

I will look at those bits, thanks!
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post #12 of 26 Old 04-09-2020, 08:57 AM
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+1 for MLCS, mid range bits and very good prices. I have several of their bits, singles and sets. Some are so-so but most are of good enough quality that they are a really good value. While they do have typical two-flute bits for chear, their triple-wing and Katana bits are better than average IMHO.

Here is their page with some sets: https://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shop...rbit_sets.html

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post #13 of 26 Old 04-09-2020, 09:49 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _Ogre View Post
this is what i did for my son and son-in-law. buy a carbide tip router bit set from home depot or lowes, $50 to $70 for 15 to 25 router bits. chances are you'll end up using the same bits over and over. when you wear them out buy a better version of that bit.

same thing i did when starting out, cept carbide was out of most peoples price range. i bought a set from sears in the 70s, bought a few bits over the years. bought a new set from sears a couple years ago. i seem to use the same 4 bits over and over.

then make my version of cheap router table for $10 or less woodworkingtalk.com/low-buck-router-table-circle-jig

not suggesting ryobi bits, just the only set available locally
This set actually has very decent reviews by over 200 users!

I looked at the MLCS router set reviews on Amazon, saw only one and the person had a bit failure on the very first use and returned the set. I understand itís only one review, however I have more confidence when reading lots of decent reviews.
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post #14 of 26 Old 04-09-2020, 09:52 AM
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I found good deals at peachtreeusa ....

My starter set was from a mail order catalog ... 20 or 30 bits for $30.00 back in the 1990's. I still use them! My last set of 70 bits was from https://www.ptreeusa.com/rtr_router_bit_index.html
They now have Freud in sets:
https://www.ptreeusa.com/rtr_router_..._set_index.htm


Also Diablo and Stone Mountain which is their budget line, but still very good quality. My thread on the closeout set from Stone Mountain, see post no. 15:

https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/g...9-each-177561/


I "refresh" the edges of any of my bits using a thin diamond plate.
Here's a bunch of You Tubes on how it's done:
https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...en+router+bits


Stumpy Nubs does it the way I do:

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 04-09-2020 at 10:12 AM.
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post #15 of 26 Old 04-09-2020, 10:06 AM
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My first router came with a box of worn-out bits, some with steel (not carbide) edges and some with solid guides instead of bearings, which I didn't know existed until I got them. They burn the wood. A lot.

I bought one of those small cheap assorted sets and it was great for getting started. Since then, I bought additional (and better quality) bits as needed. It works for me. Start small.

Here are lessons I learned late:

There are many different types of straight bits. Some of the ones with carbide sides are not suitable for plunging into wood, because they do not have a carbide cutter across the top of the bit. (I wonder if some people try plunging with them anyway, and how well that works.) You can find straight bits with thin carbide cutters on the sides and the top for plunging, but I prefer solid carbide spiral bits for those plunge cuts. The solid carbide spiral bits are not cheap, but are durable and nice to have. There are multiple types of spiral bits.

The same is true for keyhole bits and the bits for making T-track in wood. I use keyhole bits to make slots in the back of wall hangings, such as my spouse's scroll saw intarsia projects. Some come with plunge tops and built-in cutters around the shaft to make the narrow straight part above the slot. They can plunge and go. Some can't plunge and require a drill hole first. Still others require you to drill a hole AND make a slot (dado) with a straight cutter first. After that, you change the bit to cut the slot.

Pay attention to the details and do your homework.
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post #16 of 26 Old 04-09-2020, 11:13 AM
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I would go with Freud. On the bargain side, the few Yonico bits I have been a surprise to me. This might be one to look at.

Going forward, if you're looking for something better, CMT & Whiteside are my main choices. Any bit that can last through an entire hickory kitchen build (Whiteside) says enough for me. ;-)

Robert
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post #17 of 26 Old 04-09-2020, 11:57 AM
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When I had the 1/4" Chinese bits and the small router I didn't get great results. Here's the thing, a pro woodworker with experience can probably made a cheap chinese bit work OK but a newbie with a cheap tool has a higher likelyhood of getting poor results and then becoming disappointed with the tool. That's what happened to me, as a result the router fell out of favour in my shop. I eventually sold the whole lot at a bargain price because I was no longer using it.

It's not a coincidence that the quality tool companies sell their bits one at a time, they know you'll like them and come back. The offshore crap bits can't count on that and want as much of your hard earned $$ as they can get, up front, because they operate on the premise that you'll only buy from them once.

Recently I bought a larger router and just two Freud bits that were needed and the results were so superior I kick myself for not figuring this out years ago.

My advice is to buy only the bits you need for any given project and buy high quality tools so you get good results and want to use them again.
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post #18 of 26 Old 04-09-2020, 01:13 PM
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I have the Irwin 30 piece carbide tipped set and it has performed well for it's intended purpose of providing an array of bits at an overall reasonable price. This has allowed me to have a variety of options on hand and to evaluate what my eventual needs would be.

In refining and increasing my capabilities, I use a mix of Whiteside, Freud / Diablo and a couple Rockler (for my sign making templates) bits and I feel that while they may be more expensive, the overall durability and quality can be worth it. I generally stray away from off-brand / Harbor Freight and similar items. I generally purchase from a variety of local woodworking sources or Amazon.

https://www.lowes.com/pd/IRWIN-30-Pi...Set/1000234771

Art
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post #19 of 26 Old 04-09-2020, 01:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWrick View Post
This set actually has very decent reviews by over 200 users!

I looked at the MLCS router set reviews on Amazon, saw only one and the person had a bit failure on the very first use and returned the set. I understand itís only one review, however I have more confidence when reading lots of decent reviews.
buying a set gives you options over buying 4 or 5 expensive bits. i find i use a solid carbide 1/4" spiral up cutter the most and a few roundover bits. occasional use of others
as for failures, it happens. i've bought freud bits and had the end bearings fail withing minutes, twice on the same bar top project.
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post #20 of 26 Old 04-09-2020, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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I finally decided on a smaller router bit set and went with Ryobi since it has all the bits I need and it has many good reviews. Thanks to all for the advice and recommendations ��
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