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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My latest router bit purchase has motivated me to write this. It is not about the quality or merits of the router bits themselves, but rather a review of the packages that they are sold in. I purchased a simple, 3/8" carbide straight bit and I found that the package it was sold in was not only frustrating, but actually somewhat dangerous. So here is a review of the packaging of some of the more or less recent router bits that I have purchased.

The following descriptions follow the attached photo, starting at the lower left and proceeding in a CCW direction.

Craftsman 3/8" Rabbeting Bit
Hard plastic case with hinged lid. Sealed with the label in two places.

Two easy knife cuts were required to open it. Case closes for storage.
Bit is held by it's shank in a hole. It is moderately easy to grip and a moderate amount of twisting effort is needed to remove it.

The case provides a good method for safely storing the bit.

Vermont American 1/2" Corebox (round nose) Bit
Hard plastic case with hinged lid. Sealed with the label in two places.

Two easy knife cuts were required to open it. Case closes for storage.
Bit is held by it's shank in a hole. It is difficult to grip but easy to remove with a twisting motion.

The case provides a good method for safely storing the bit.

Diablo 3/8" Straight Bit
Thick, soft plastic case that is 100% heat sealed. Very difficult and somewhat dangerous to open: I used a combination of a box cutter and heavy duty tin snips. Case had to be literally cut in two pieces so it could not be re-closed for bit storage.

Bit is held by it's shank in a tight fitting hole. After the top of the case was completely cut off it was easy to grip but quite difficult to remove even with a twisting motion. In my opinion, this results in a significant danger of sustaining cuts to your fingers as it is removed. This is a very poor package.

Irwin 3/16" Corner Rounding Bit
Hard plastic case with removable top. Sealed with the label around the full perimeter.

Knife cuts on all four sides were required to open it but this is easy. Case closes for storage.
Bit is held by it's shank in a hole. It is very easy to grip it and easy to remove. In fact it is the easiest one to remove in this review. There is very little danger in gripping or removing the bit.

The case provides a good method for safely storing the bit.

Two Grizzly Bits: Classical Bit and Roman Ogee
Hard plastic case with removable top. There was no seal, probably due to their being sold via the web and not in stores.

The top pulls off with some effort: a rocking motion was needed.

Bits are stored loose in the case. They were wrapped in plastic bags to reduce movement for shipment. It is very easy and safe to remove them from the case: probably the safest case in this review.
These cases provides a good method for safely storing the bits.

Ryobi Decorative Router Set (4 pc)
Hard plastic case with hinged front that easily swings out.
Bits are stored in holes and are moderately difficult to grip due to design of the case.

Bits are somewhat tight in their holes and some caution is needed to avoid injury while removing them.

This case provides a good method for safely storing the bits.

Harbor Freight Warrior Router Bit Set (15 pc)
Wood case with hinged top and metal clasp. This set was sold in a cardboard box that was sealed with tape in two places: knife cuts were used to open it. Both that cardboard box and the wood case are very easy to open.

The bits are held in tilting wood strips with soft plastic inserts. Gripping the bits is fairly easy, only hampered by the adjacent bits on each side.

The bits are quite tight in those holes and a considerable amount of twisting is needed to remove them. This it the tightest fit of any mounting holes here and caution is required to prevent injury to the hand when removing them. Also while inserting them back for storage.

This case provides a good method for safely storing the bits.
In the long term I would like to make a better method for storing my router bit collection. Probably some kind of board or 3D printed stand with a number of holes in a grid. But I would also like some provision for labeling them, including dimensions. Another thought is to use some used Rx bottles. But that is a back burner project. For now I am storing them in their original boxes or cases. That is why I consider the OEM's packaging to be important.

A general note: many of the plastic cases have a very stout tab on the top with a hole for hanging them on a store display. These tabs take up a lot of space when I store these cases in a workbench drawer or bin. I plan to use the bandsaw to remove these taps before I store them again. It would be a very nice feature if these tabs would be made easy to break off after they are purchased.

In case you haven't figured it out, the Diablo case is the motivation for this review. In my humble opinion it is not only very aggravating but actually presents a danger both when it is initially opened and, if it is used for storage of the bit, at every occasion that it is subsequently used. I will need to find another way to store this bit.

If I have to pick a winner it would be the Irwin case. It is moderately easy to open initially, the bit is easy to remove and replace, it provides adequate protection against chipped edges in storage, and the case is small so it does not take up too much space in my storage drawer.
 

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I know it's awful but the stores are just trying to defend themselves from theft. If it was easy to get the router bit out of the package it would go out the door in someone's pocket. The only other option would be to raise the price of router bits to make up for the one's being stolen.

The last bit I bought I had to cut it out of the package with my bandsaw.
 

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Many of the observations here could fit just about any packaging of small items these days.


And, Steve is correct. As a former retail store owner (18 years) I can testify that theft of small items is a problem.


I too have often felt the problem of safety in opening packages. I solve that problem by having a significantly large/strong/sharp lock back knife at hand for the task. A decent sized kitchen knife will also work.



George
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I know the reason for making packages hard to open and I do sympathize with the stores. But other things are sold in packages that are easier to open. And some minor alterations would make that Diabalo case a lot easier to open at home. Just making the lip that surrounds it a bit wider would allow a knife or pair of snips to cut inside of that heat seal. Besides, none of the individually packaged bits have boxes that are large enough to prevent putting them in a pocket.



And I did include other features beyond just the ease of opening the package. As you can see, I have not had the time to set up a permanent storage system of my own. So, for the most part, I am using the original boxes. Except for the Diablo bit which is now in a used plastic Rx bottle.



Perhaps if there are enough complaints, things may change. It certainly won't happen without that. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. Squeak, squeak!
 
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