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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My wife surprised me tonight with the newest addition to my tool family (I am brand new to woodworking.) She brought home the Bosch 1617EVSPK, which I had done a lot of research on and mentioned it to my dad, and a 30pc Skil router bit set for $100. She knew the router was good because of my dad but only went off the Lowes guy's recommendation for the bit set. She immediately told me she wouldn't be offended if I found the bits to be poor quality and returned it.

I've done some research and have found that they are generally on the lower middle end. They are also only 1/4" and my router takes both 1/4" and 1/2"; I've read where 1/2" is much more desirable. I found that MLCSwoodworking.com is a good source for good quality bits and further found their 45 piece set for the same price as this 30 piece. Would it be worth me returning the Skil set and purchasing the MLCS set? Is there another brand I should be looking at? Also, is it worth shelling out another $90 for the 66pc set? I am very new to woodworking and will only be doing it as a hobby but I don't want to shoot myself in the foot by wishing I had paid now rather than later.

Thanks!
 

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John
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My wife surprised me tonight with the newest addition to my tool family (I am brand new to woodworking.) She brought home the Bosch 1617EVSPK, which I had done a lot of research on and mentioned it to my dad, and a 30pc Skil router bit set for $100. She knew the router was good because of my dad but only went off the Lowes guy's recommendation for the bit set. She immediately told me she wouldn't be offended if I found the bits to be poor quality and returned it.

I've done some research and have found that they are generally on the lower middle end. They are also only 1/4" and my router takes both 1/4" and 1/2"; I've read where 1/2" is much more desirable. I found that MLCSwoodworking.com is a good source for good quality bits and further found their 45 piece set for the same price as this 30 piece. Would it be worth me returning the Skil set and purchasing the MLCS set? Is there another brand I should be looking at? Also, is it worth shelling out another $90 for the 66pc set? I am very new to woodworking and will only be doing it as a hobby but I don't want to shoot myself in the foot by wishing I had paid now rather than later.

Thanks!
Hi Brandon - got a gem for a wife, that's for sure.
I would go ahead and swap the Skils out for the MLCS set. I haven't owned any of the Skil bits but looked at them pretty closely last time I was at Lowes and they looked pretty skimpy on the carbide. Nearest Lowes is 120 miles from me so when I get a chance to get in one I spend a LOT of time.
You here all kinds of things about 1/4" shank vs 1/2" shank, some may even be true. Fact is I've had decent luck with either. I've managed to push some 1/4" shanks harder than I should have in the router table but picked up on the vibration and changed my cut depth with no issues. Generally I go with 1/4" shank on 3/8" and smaller cutting diameter, 1/2" shank on bits larger than 3/4". The
The ones in between will be either. :smile:
 

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I have the Bosch 1617 in my router table. I purchased this to install in the table sometime around 2005-2007. Not recalling the exact date.

The router should serve you well. :thumbsup:

I am not fond of router bit sets. Too many bits will not be used. I am also not fond of 1/4in bits. My only 1/4in bits are the solid carbide 1/4in spiral cutters.

I prefer to purchase the bits I need and prefer 1/2in dia shank when available. This will have less flex under load, so less chatter.
 

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Dave Paine said:
I am not fond of router bit sets. Too many bits will not be used. I am also not fond of 1/4in bits.

I prefer to purchase the bits I need and prefer 1/2in dia shank when available. This will have less flex under load, so less chatter.
When I purchased my first router bits, I bought a Skil bit. It didn't stay sharp very long. I have since stayed away from them and only buy the bits I need or intend on using with a project. I also try to stay with the 1/2" shank ones. I have a couple if 1/4" shank ones that I use with my DeWalt palm router. I have purchased a couple on Bosch bits that seem fair, but better than Skil. I have also gotten a few Grizzly bits.

I would be interested to hear what reasonably priced bits people will recommend.

Mark
 

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Great router, great wife. I'd opt for the smaller 15 pc MLCS set for $40, then take your wife to dinner with the difference! :thumbsup: You can add better quality specialty bits as you need them, but the 15 pc set decent quality to learn with and should have all the most commonly used profiles covered for you to practice with without spending highend money. If you're going to spend more money, I'd buy better bits, not more bits. Definitely get 1/2" shank when feasible.
 

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I also are not a fan of sets. Buy individually as the need occurs and buy good quality, they will resharpen many times and will last a long time if not abused. Your wife has good taste in routers, she's a keeper.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes, I have an awesome wife. I'm just starting off in this great hobby and have found it hard to justify spending the money on the start up costs (tools, tools, and more tools!) She knew I was eying routers as my next addition and knew I had discussed with my dad my router choice. Birthday coming up, a little sneaking around on her part, and a surprise as I loaded some things into her car last night. I think what's even more awesome is she is fine with me returning it if I don't like it (and IS truly fine, not just saying that). I get hesitant at the thought of people buying me woodworking tools -- I put a lot of research into any decent size purchase. She managed to pull this one off though.

Thanks everyone for your opinion. I've yet to read one good review on the Skil bits anywhere and a large number have recommended the MLCS set. To top it off, the 45pc from them will end up being cheaper than this 30pc Skil set, even shipped. It looks like I will definitely be returning the set and then re-evaluating whether I even want a set, based on some of your comments, before proceeding.

Any other thoughts?
 

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John
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Yes, I have an awesome wife. I'm just starting off in this great hobby and have found it hard to justify spending the money on the start up costs (tools, tools, and more tools!) She knew I was eying routers as my next addition and knew I had discussed with my dad my router choice. Birthday coming up, a little sneaking around on her part, and a surprise as I loaded some things into her car last night. I think what's even more awesome is she is fine with me returning it if I don't like it (and IS truly fine, not just saying that). I get hesitant at the thought of people buying me woodworking tools -- I put a lot of research into any decent size purchase. She managed to pull this one off though.

Thanks everyone for your opinion. I've yet to read one good review on the Skil bits anywhere and a large number have recommended the MLCS set. To top it off, the 45pc from them will end up being cheaper than this 30pc Skil set, even shipped. It looks like I will definitely be returning the set and then re-evaluating whether I even want a set, based on some of your comments, before proceeding.

Any other thoughts?
Hi Brandon - on the topic of sets. While I generally buy bits on a per job basis, thinking back to when I just started, I had no idea how to do that. I always recommend to newbies to go ahead with a 30 (+/-) bit set for starters. Those will typically have the basic bits plus a few to play with and get a feel for how different profiles play together. After all, if you haven't got one, you can't try it and bits are a little pricey on an individual basis for the "buy-it-because-I-might-like-it" game. JMHO:smile:
 

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... It looks like I will definitely be returning the set and then re-evaluating whether I even want a set, based on some of your comments, before proceeding.

Any other thoughts?
My view on sets is that they tend to be less expensive per bit, but often offer lesser quality overall, and end end up costing as much as better quality bits. Some sets are are better than others, but most aren't top shelf (with a couple of exceptions), and generally you're basically buying higher quantity at the expense of quality.

Most general use sets will include the most commonly used profiles, or even a couple sizes of the most common profiles...straights, rabbet, cove, roundover, chamfer, v-bit, ogee, etc., The larger sets tend to offer multiples of the same common profiles in different sizes/angles/radiuses (etc), along with possibly a few other lesser used profiles. The 30-70 bit sets often approach the price range of the higher end sets like the Whiteside 7 pc or Infinity 6 pc sets, which tend to sell for around $100, and also include one each of the most common profiles. The general use sets I know of won't usually contain bits like panel raisers, thumbnails, slot cutters, molding, and other special profiles, so you'll still need to buy those as needed.

Which philosophy is best for you is always subjective, but I've never regretted buying better cutters for any of my tools. They tend to perform better, last longer, and are usually worthy of having resharpened, which can make them a better value in the long run. With that said, I also see nothing wrong with sticking with a modest expenditure of ~ $40 for something like the MLCS 15 pc set....the quality is "good nuff", and the price is reasonable, so if you destroy, break, or dull them, you're not out big bucks while you learn, then you can replace them with better quality down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I went ahead and returned the Skil set to Lowes last night and ordered the 45pc MLCS set. Thanks again for everyone's input!

I'm about ready to start making some saw dust! Placed an order with Amazon last night to get a few misc. items to get my great grandfather's restored table saw and jointer up and running. I think my first project will be a router table :). I will post a build/project thread if it doesn't suck too bad! Hopefully I won't have to buy anymore big ticket tools for it either. I'm currently at vintage table saw & vintage jointer, new 12" miter saw, and new router. I'd like to get a few projects under my belt before my next major purchase, most likely a band saw or drill press.
 

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My experience tells me that if you have starter bits (like from a set) when you are learning it is far less painful should something bad happen to them. If you are only using high-end specialty bits and something happens to one it hurts that much more.
 

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Great router, great wife. I'd opt for the smaller 15 pc MLCS set for $40, then take your wife to dinner with the difference! :thumbsup: You can add better quality specialty bits as you need them, but the 15 pc set decent quality to learn with and should have all the most commonly used profiles covered for you to practice with without spending highend money. If you're going to spend more money, I'd buy better bits, not more bits. Definitely get 1/2" shank when feasible.
i personaly have some experience with the MLCS 15 piece kit. its really nice. the only thing was they showed up covered in some kind of lubricant which i wiped off. but they were quite sharp adn teh little bit was a nice touch. i'd recommend them.
 

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I too have the Bosch 1617 in a Bosch router table and very happy with both. Like others have stated, many of the bits in the large bit sets will never get used.
I have a MLCS straight bit set(5) and are very satisfied with them. Rail/Stile, raised panel bit sets from Freud. Round over bits sets from CMT.
My idea is to by smaller sets that are needed per project demands, all 1/2 inch shanks. Hope this helps....
 
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