I have been considering moving to carbide insert tooling for my rail and stile shaper cutters, and the panel raiser. But the selection seems limited and the price range is unbelieveable. Are there other vendors that I should be considering? Are there opinions on these?
Amana has an inexpensive set - $351 with replacement cutters at $154, and all three cutters (rail, stile, and panel raiser) in a single head/cutter. I don't like the fact that the raised panel is held in a 3 mm groove (less than 1/8 inch) rather than the usual 1/4 inch - it seems flimsy, and rules out using the cutters for shaker-style flat panels.
Freud has a Rail and Stile set (RS2000) with a wide assortment of cutters, and a Raised Panel set (RP2000) with a wide assortment of raised panel cutters, that are available as a "package" deal for $1055 (ouch). I haven't been able to find the details on the cutters (e.g. does it use 1/4 inch panels?), but the assortment probably means that I could do glass doors as well as wood panel doors. One of the reviews on Amazon says that setup time is so long, it isn't suitable for professional use. Since I would describe myself as semi-pro, does that mean the setup time is semi-long?
Freeborn has rail and stile sets for $850, and panel raisers for $475 with back cutters for $425. (I still haven't found the price for replacement cutters). You need a separate set for each profile, so this could get really expensive.
Schmidt rail head is $369, Stile head $369, Panel head $289, but then the cutters cost more than the head. That doesn't make sense to me... is Schmidt a brand that I need to research?
I have been talking to DeHart tooling. They have lots of options and their stuff sounds good, but I may have to sell my shaper to pay for the set of cutters I would like.
Your input would be appreciated.