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Thread: router bits - thinking to get more soon

  1. #1
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    router bits - thinking to get more soon

    Now that I've actually been trying to make things instead of merely collecting tools, I'm thinking that my next tool purchases will actually be tooling purchases. Specifically, I am hoping to expand my router bit collection.

    I'm using 1/2" shank bits for the most part. I'm mostly interested in expanding my joinery options right now.

    What I have so far are a few straight bits of various sizes, but none of them are spirals. I do not have a humongously long bit though, I think 2" cutting length or so is the longest. I also have a variety of roundover bits and a couple dovetail bits (including the bits that came with my PC jig). I have a 1/2" core box bit (I think this is the right name - it looks like a ball mill - and no, I do not in general know machinery words more than woodworking words, but I do have a close friend who is a machinist by trade and am slowly learning a few things).

    I also have a 1/8" slot cutter, Amana brand, which is a subset of the stacked slot cutting set that is one of the bits I am looking to add to my battery. In addition to variable width slots, this set can be used to make 1/8" finger joints, cutting two at a time (three if I add the cutter I already have). If I add a bearing set, this should also take care of most rabbets I would like to do.

    Also on my wish list is a lock miter bit.

    Given that I am still pretty new at making stuff, are there any other bits that aren't somewhere on my list that you find indispensable or just really nice to have? And why?

    I don't have any immediate raised panel plans, but if I did I would probably go with a flat angle raise with the panel body a bit proud of the raise with the panel also proud of the rails and should be able to do this with the bits I already have and my RAS.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    The viewpoints on which router bits to have are as numerous as the different kinds of bits themselves. Personally, I'm of the school of thought that you only purchase bits when you need them. At one time I bought one of those multi piece sets thinking that I'd be set for whatever project came up. Long story short, I've never used 80% of the bits in that set.

    I usually buy top quality bits, Whiteside, if I feel it will be a bit that I will use quite often. On the other side of that coin, I'll go for the middle of the road quality bits, Holbren, for bits that I feel I will only use a few times.

    This system works for me but YRMV.
    Dave

  3. #3

    Router bits

    First buy Hylton's router book, it has a wealth of information. Then buy pattern and trim bits. One has the bearing on top, the other has it on the bottom. I have a variety of them (both length and diameter) and I use them more than any other bit. Next think about a router table. Expensive? Yes, but it makes your router so much more versatile. Again read Hylton's book, it contains excellent advice and plans to build your own.

    DKT

  4. #4
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    Mark,

    I second the vote on the pattern and trim bits. Very useful.

    I seem to recall you have a router table. I do very very little hand held routing anymore, and I'm trying to find ways to do even less...

    There are those who say they use lock miter bits with no problem, and they look at you askance if you say the bits are pretty fussy for setup issues. As far as I'm concerned, those people can go jump into any nearby lake. Setting up one of those things is one of the most frustrating things I've ever done in woodworking, and that's saying something...

    Many and many a year ago (like, say, in 2005) I bought a set that had a panel raiser (with backcutter), a rail and stile set, and a drawer lock bit. I've used it a bunch, and especially found the drawer lock bit useful... that's how I made all the drawers for my lathe cabinet...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  5. #5
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    mark,
    what do you want out of your bits?
    i look at router bits like sandpaper......use `em `till they`re dull and pitch `em.
    some folks look at bits the way i do antique planes.....kinda like a thing of beauty.
    do you have a sharpening service that does a good job?
    if you sharpen any bit it will change the geometry so don`t expect it to match a new one.
    sharpened pattern bits or flush cuts will no longer cut to the pattern.
    very few sharpening services will sharpen spirals.
    most applications don`t require a spiral, straight carbide set on a shear works wonders!

    soooo, do you know what you`re lookin` for besides "bits"?
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Lantry View Post
    Mark,

    I second the vote on the pattern and trim bits. Very useful.

    I seem to recall you have a router table. I do very very little hand held routing anymore, and I'm trying to find ways to do even less...
    Yes, I have a router table, which I use far more frequently than any other mode of router operation. In fact, not counting EZ Smart or dovetail jig usage, I don't think I've done any freehand routing since making the hole and rabbet for the router table insert.

    I do have a trim bit, 1/2" maybe 2" tall blade, 1/2" shank. It goes shank - blade - bearing. This is the flush trim, right? And the bearing is on the bottom, even though I have table fixation and think of it as the top?

    I don't have a bit that goes shank - bearing - blade yet. This is the pattern bit, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Lantry View Post
    There are those who say they use lock miter bits with no problem, and they look at you askance if you say the bits are pretty fussy for setup issues. As far as I'm concerned, those people can go jump into any nearby lake. Setting up one of those things is one of the most frustrating things I've ever done in woodworking, and that's saying something...
    With or without the ice on said lake?

    Quote Originally Posted by tod evans View Post
    mark,
    what do you want out of your bits?
    i look at router bits like sandpaper......use `em `till they`re dull and pitch `em.
    some folks look at bits the way i do antique planes.....kinda like a thing of beauty.
    do you have a sharpening service that does a good job?
    if you sharpen any bit it will change the geometry so don`t expect it to match a new one.
    sharpened pattern bits or flush cuts will no longer cut to the pattern.
    very few sharpening services will sharpen spirals.
    most applications don`t require a spiral, straight carbide set on a shear works wonders!

    soooo, do you know what you`re lookin` for besides "bits"?
    I don't think I'm in any danger of needing to toss too many bits yet. No, I don't have a sharpening service yet and while I knew about sharpening changing size, thanks for bringing this up - as an example, after sending a 1/2" straight bit for sharpening, instead of 0.5" it might be 0.49". Maybe this matters or not.

    I don't have a spiral yet - if I decide to try one, I'm likely to go to an end mill supplier instead of a proper router bit.

    No, I don't know what I'm looking for. That's why I'm making this thread. I'm looking to get this Amana stacked slot cutting set and maybe a lock miter. Already, I've learned that I may want to add a pattern bit. Maybe also a rabbet set with multiple bearings, especially if the bearings are compatible with the slot cutter set.

    I'm hoping folks will chime in with things like "This project either wouldn't have happened or would have had a major irritation factor to do without this bit that you don't list having - if you're gonna make something like this you should get this bit."

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Sweeney View Post
    The viewpoints on which router bits to have are as numerous as the different kinds of bits themselves. Personally, I'm of the school of thought that you only purchase bits when you need them. At one time I bought one of those multi piece sets thinking that I'd be set for whatever project came up. Long story short, I've never used 80% of the bits in that set.

    I usually buy top quality bits, Whiteside, if I feel it will be a bit that I will use quite often. On the other side of that coin, I'll go for the middle of the road quality bits, Holbren, for bits that I feel I will only use a few times.

    This system works for me but YRMV.
    I have discarded the big set idea for similar reasons - too costly for the quality I'd want and most sets either duplicate too much what I have or have profiles I can't imagine ever using.

    As far as brands, I'm leaning toward Amana or maybe CMT. I'm happy with how my Amana bits and blades have performed so far. CMT I haven't used yet, but after the ribbing I've taken over the curtains in the shop that came with the house, maybe it is time to color coordinate bits and tool - the CMT orange should go well with the Ridgid router I just bought for the table.

  7. #7
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    Hi Mark - I think one of my must haves would be a thumbnail edge forming bit for tables, coffee tables, end tables, dressers, etc. I've got one from MLCS and one from Holbren that both work fine....neither too expensive. It's hard to beat Whiteside or Infinity for top shelf quality.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails c1371z.jpg  
    Last edited by scott spencer; 01-16-2009 at 08:03 AM.
    Got Wood?

  8. #8
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    Im with you here mark, I have only a few, and those are well worn.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Kosmowski View Post


    I don't think I'm in any danger of needing to toss too many bits yet. No, I don't have a sharpening service yet and while I knew about sharpening changing size, thanks for bringing this up - as an example, after sending a 1/2" straight bit for sharpening, instead of 0.5" it might be 0.49". Maybe this matters or not.

    I don't have a spiral yet - if I decide to try one, I'm likely to go to an end mill supplier instead of a proper router bit.

    No, I don't know what I'm looking for. That's why I'm making this thread. I'm looking to get this Amana stacked slot cutting set and maybe a lock miter. Already, I've learned that I may want to add a pattern bit. Maybe also a rabbet set with multiple bearings, especially if the bearings are compatible with the slot cutter set.

    I'm hoping folks will chime in with things like "This project either wouldn't have happened or would have had a major irritation factor to do without this bit that you don't list having - if you're gonna make something like this you should get this bit."
    whiteside and ammana make fantastic bits!........but i no longer buy `em
    like i said i buy cheap because i`m going to pitch the bit when it dulls.
    check around for rabbiting bits.....you`ll find that you can get separate bits, even slot cutters for the same money and you don`t have to worry about fussing with miniture screws and small bearings.
    as far as spirals........end mills work but........the cutting geometry is different, they`re designed to cut metal at 500-1200rpm.....life is short and burning is a problem. for plunge cutting i use plain `ol straight bits, if larger than 5/8" i`ll buy the ones with a small carbide spur in the center.
    as far as profile bits, start with inexpensive and if you get poor life out of it because you`re using it a lot then upgrade. you`ll find as time goes on that what you think is a cool pattern now may not be so cool later and it`s better to only have invested 30-40 bucks than 70-80. thumbnail, ogee, coves and roundovers are the staples of profile bits.
    routers are cool and limiting yourself to a table mount limits what you can do, sometimes it`s better to take the tool to the work, others the work to the tool.
    plan on "stuff" happening to your bits......gun-nails are pretty hard and carbide doesn`t fare well if you get into one.....

    on the otherhand i`ve had the same 1/8" roundover (from woodline) in my laminate trimmer for over a year and i`ll bet it`s eased the edges of 5-10 miles of wood.
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  10. #10
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    Maybe I missed something in the post but if you are just wanting to have a collection of bit you'll end up having bits you may never use. When I got my first router (an old 1/4" B&D) I wanted to have a drawer full of those things and bought anything that was on sale. In reality most won't get used. I've got some bits that are over 20 years old and have never been used I now only buy a bit if I need a specific profile for the job at hand.
    Aloha,

    What goes around, comes around.

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