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I'm curious about MCLS router bits. I have a set that I picked up back some time ago when I was in Huntingdon Valley, Pa doing some telescope work and was wondering about others experiences. These are carbide tipped bits but as I've come to find out there's a big difference in bit quality. The set I have is lightly used being only a few used so far and have for the most part been buying Whiteside individual bits as needed and a few Infinity bits that are somewhat unique and/or on sale. I read a few posts on Sommerfeld bits and visited their website which is quite dated I think. Seems their last catalog is a few years old, at least according to the website. I did email them and inquired where their bits were made and was advised in China.

I bought the MCLS set because it was a bargain and I wanted 1/2" shank bits for the router table and my Bosch 1617EVS. That plus I was there and the discounted price seemed to good to pass up. I figured it would be a quick start until I figured just what I needed and I'm a bit impulsive. I also picked up a scratch and dent drill press table that at their price I couldn't have built for less.

I also added to my tools a Bosch Colt router that takes 1/4" shank bits only so I need to determine what use that will serve. So far I'm thinking that will work fine for my Porter Cable Dovetail jig and trim work. So I imagine most everyone has their own preferences for bits and what they consider good value but I'd be interested in hearing about that. I own a few Freud bits, the above mentioned 66 piece MCLS set, and now about a dozen Whiteside bits not to mention about 5 Infinity bits. And I haven't used any enough to decide on which I like best. I do have a Lapped Miter bit and setup blocks coming from Infinity that seem to be taking forever to get here. I ordered them on 6/3 but it's like waiting on an IRS refund.....
 

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MCLS... won't touch them... had one lose it's carbide and hit me in the ear.. the wasn't any fun and expensive too... reconstructive surgery wasn't any picnic either...
PC dovetail... re-gifted the one I got as a gift... it has since been re-gifted several times... real partial to my Leigh D4R...
Whiteside.. good stuff...
Freud.. my preference as I was a commercial operation... better bits w/ high mileage and most excellent CS... very good overall value...
 

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MCLS... won't touch them... had one lose it's carbide and hit me in the ear.. the wasn't any fun and expensive too... reconstructive surgery wasn't any picnic either...
Reading reviews on MLCS bits on Amazon there is an alarming number of people reporting carbide came off, the bit broke in half, sheared off etc. Something drastically wrong with quality control.

I bought a Bosch set and although they are not the sharpest bits in town do the job, I used to use Carbitool an Australian made high quality bit but they cost a lot. I have been buying Huhao industrial grade and Arden professional grade from China, now before you say anything these are not your regular cheap Chinese rubbish. I have found them to be the sharpest, cleanest cutting bits I have owned and seem to last as long as Carbitool for a lot less money, I don't do that much routing so they will outlast me. The only caveat is you have to wait a couple of weeks to get them.

Of course you can't go wrong with Freud, Whiteside etc but if like me your not using them every day cost is a factor.
 

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I have one or two but don't use them much. My preferences are Whiteside, Amana, Infinity, CMT, and on occasion Freud. One of my favorites was PRC (Paso Robles Carbide/Ocemco) that the late Pat Warner liked. But they went out of business in 2009.
 

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How about Diablo?

Diablo bits & saws are available in Bunnings Australia.
Is Diablo = Fleud or is inferior like "Marktec of Makita"
 

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Reading reviews on MLCS bits on Amazon there is an alarming number of people reporting carbide came off, the bit broke in half, sheared off etc. Something drastically wrong with quality control.
chinese junk...
remember..
w/ the chinese made shid you are the QC department more often than not...
 
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Diablo bits & saws are available in Bunnings Australia.
Is Diablo = Fleud or is inferior like "Marktec of Makita"
if Diablo is made anywhere but Italy it's a knock off even counterfeit...
this applies to the bits also..

Here is a response provided by the top Freud tech guy a number of years ago.

All Freud blades come from the same machines in the same manufacturing plant. We make our own micrograin carbide in numerous formulations that represent various degrees of hardness. The carbide is selected depending on the intended application (the hardest is used for laminates the softest for ripping) as are the tooth angles and tooth quantity. The steel for the blade plates is all the same grade. The brazing is all the same. The key differences between the 3 main lines of Freud blades are:

The LU/LM Industrial blades have the thickest tips for the most resharpenings and are generally full kerf. We also offer the most selection of specialty blades in this line. These have the most appeal to professionals who need to get a lot of sharpenings out of a blade and to artisans who need specialty blades for their projects.

The TK and Diablo lines are very similar. Both are thin kerf blades and the tip thickness is the same. The key difference is in the way we market these blades. The Diablo line has blades intended for purposes like framing, siding, decking and general home improvement and is packaged and promoted in ways that appeal to contractors and DIYers. The TK line has blades for similar purposes (as well as laminate blades) but is sold with different or no coating and different packaging and POP material to appeal more to woodworkers.

Do professional woodworkers shop for blades at Home Depot? Probably some do and they can get excellent performance from a Diablo blade for a lot of their uses but with a shorter overall life (and lower cost) due to the tip thickness. Same with the TK blades at Lowe's.

Why not compare a TK or Diablo blade to Forrest? Consider this analogy: Toyota cars and Lexus cars share a lot of the same components and are made by the same company. Would you compare a Camry with a BMW?

We make a fourth line of blades (F400 Premier series) that is very similar to the WWII and is priced similarly. The difference between ours and Forrest's is that ours is made by computer controlled, super modern equipment and theirs is made by hand. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages but I leave the final verdict to the consumer.

Charles M
Freud, Inc.
 

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chinese junk...
remember..
w/ the chinese made shid you are the QC department more often than not...
Yes, that's why I only buy quality Chinese bits, never had a problem with one and they perform far beyond my expectations. I only buy from official manufacturers stores and they have exemplary feed back. A lot of people don't realize that there are completely different levels of quality coming out of China, you can buy cheap bits for a few dollars or pay many times that for an Arden bit. Take golf clubs for example, TaylorMade one of, if not the best are made in China along with the other top names. You can of course get cheap rubbish clubs from China that even "look" like TaylorMade and some even have the TaylorMade markings but that's where the similarity ends.
 

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I'm curious about MCLS router bits. I have a set that I picked up back some time ago when I was in Huntingdon Valley, Pa doing some telescope work and was wondering about others experiences. These are carbide tipped bits but as I've come to find out there's a big difference in bit quality. The set I have is lightly used being only a few used so far and have for the most part been buying Whiteside individual bits as needed and a few Infinity bits that are somewhat unique and/or on sale. I read a few posts on Sommerfeld bits and visited their website which is quite dated I think. Seems their last catalog is a few years old, at least according to the website. I did email them and inquired where their bits were made and was advised in China.

I bought the MCLS set because it was a bargain and I wanted 1/2" shank bits for the router table and my Bosch 1617EVS. That plus I was there and the discounted price seemed to good to pass up. I figured it would be a quick start until I figured just what I needed and I'm a bit impulsive. I also picked up a scratch and dent drill press table that at their price I couldn't have built for less.

I also added to my tools a Bosch Colt router that takes 1/4" shank bits only so I need to determine what use that will serve. So far I'm thinking that will work fine for my Porter Cable Dovetail jig and trim work. So I imagine most everyone has their own preferences for bits and what they consider good value but I'd be interested in hearing about that. I own a few Freud bits, the above mentioned 66 piece MCLS set, and now about a dozen Whiteside bits not to mention about 5 Infinity bits. And I haven't used any enough to decide on which I like best. I do have a Lapped Miter bit and setup blocks coming from Infinity that seem to be taking forever to get here. I ordered them on 6/3 but it's like waiting on an IRS refund.....
Cost is always a concern unless your filthy rich, but the quality of cut for me is a bigger concern. I was using an MLCS bit on a project and posted a question about my problem concerning tearout. Stick here on this forum ask me if my bit was sharp and I said it was. He then ask me what brand and I told him MLCS. He said try Whiteside and I did and the problem was solved. I now only buy Whiteside or Freud bits unless they don't have a profile I need.
 

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Some people think all stuff coming out of China is rubbish, that's their prerogative, I will continue to enjoy saving money and having quality products. :smile:
okay...
 

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The Chinese do seem to be quite good at high-speed trains and top-of-the-line supercomputers.
To Stick and others, I am not trying to offend anyone and I am the first to admit that a lot of what comes out of China is rubbish and not worth anything like the cheap prices they charge, my wife bought me a HD Dash Cam god bless her. It wasn't HD and most of what it recorded was a blur, luckily we got our money back and didn't need to even return it.

But on the other hand they do make good stuff as well, and I firmly believe they will transition like Japan did from having a reputation of making rubbish to a reputation of making quality goods, it may take a while, but in the interim bargains can be had if you know where to look and what to buy, I have to correct myself though on Arden they are actually made in Taiwan and have a stall at the upcoming (August 22-25, 2018) International Woodworking Fair in Atlanta Georgia if anyone is interested. No Affiliation.
 

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To Stick and others, I am not trying to offend anyone and I am the first to admit that a lot of what comes out of China is rubbish and not worth anything like the cheap prices they charge,
Not offended in the least...
I see things differently...

while in business I did spread sheets on what came into the shop...

I factored in a lot of things..

initial cost.. (tangible)
support cost.. (intangible)..
safety...
CS... did the product's manufacturer stand behind the item..
quality..
performance.. did it do it's job well..
longevity..
availability..

initial cost.. (tangible)
OTC/delivered into my hand...

support cost.. (intangible)..
cost/time to get it warrantied if need be...
a carry back to the seller or postage and the trip to the post office isn't free...
cost/time of related down time..
cost/time of damage repair..
cost/time of a connected call back...
cost/time of related down time and job set back...
cost/time of rework because of

all of this relates in unit LF...
(unit cost ÷ LF)

I think Whiteside bits are better than equivalent Freud bits fresh out of the box..
but...
Freud stayed in production the longest..
Freud beat Whiteside in unit cost..
CMT bits are very good but fall short in support by a long ways...

every bit from China I found to have one or more issue(s)...

poor QC...
Balance... out of balance bits are rough on the router...
poor brazing.. you can ask my ear about that...
softer carbide.. short production life due to dulling...
fragile.. carbide chipping/breaking when hitting a dense knot..
two piece construction.. body to shank which under duress would separate...
same part number/same manufacturer/same profile... but one bit to the next won't/doesn't match..

NOTE:
Freud Quadracut bits are a force to behold/reckon w/...
there is a lot of knock offs and counterfeits coming out of china..
(there are a feww threads here on this...

.
 

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if Diablo is made anywhere but Italy it's a knock off even counterfeit...
this applies to the bits also..

Here is a response provided by the top Freud tech guy a number of years ago.

All Freud blades come from the same machines in the same manufacturing plant. We make our own micrograin carbide in numerous formulations that represent various degrees of hardness. The carbide is selected depending on the intended application (the hardest is used for laminates the softest for ripping) as are the tooth angles and tooth quantity. The steel for the blade plates is all the same grade. The brazing is all the same. The key differences between the 3 main lines of Freud blades are:

The LU/LM Industrial blades have the thickest tips for the most resharpenings and are generally full kerf. We also offer the most selection of specialty blades in this line. These have the most appeal to professionals who need to get a lot of sharpenings out of a blade and to artisans who need specialty blades for their projects.

The TK and Diablo lines are very similar. Both are thin kerf blades and the tip thickness is the same. The key difference is in the way we market these blades. The Diablo line has blades intended for purposes like framing, siding, decking and general home improvement and is packaged and promoted in ways that appeal to contractors and DIYers. The TK line has blades for similar purposes (as well as laminate blades) but is sold with different or no coating and different packaging and POP material to appeal more to woodworkers.

Do professional woodworkers shop for blades at Home Depot? Probably some do and they can get excellent performance from a Diablo blade for a lot of their uses but with a shorter overall life (and lower cost) due to the tip thickness. Same with the TK blades at Lowe's.

Why not compare a TK or Diablo blade to Forrest? Consider this analogy: Toyota cars and Lexus cars share a lot of the same components and are made by the same company. Would you compare a Camry with a BMW?

We make a fourth line of blades (F400 Premier series) that is very similar to the WWII and is priced similarly. The difference between ours and Forrest's is that ours is made by computer controlled, super modern equipment and theirs is made by hand. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages but I leave the final verdict to the consumer.

Charles M
Freud, Inc.


Thanks for excellent info.

One statement corrections.
Feud makes their bits and saws in Italy and Switzerland.
So your statement "if Diablo is made anywhere but Italy it's a knock off even counterfeit...
this applies to the bits also.."
should be
"if Diablo is made anywhere but Italy and Switzerland it's a knock off even counterfeit...this applies to the bits also" ??
 

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Thanks for excellent info.

One statement corrections.
Feud makes their bits and saws in Italy and Switzerland.
So your statement "if Diablo is made anywhere but Italy it's a knock off even counterfeit...
this applies to the bits also.."
should be
"if Diablo is made anywhere but Italy and Switzerland it's a knock off even counterfeit... this applies to the bits also" ??
yes, that additional information is correct... up to a point..
''other tooling'' in HW, HSS, cobalt/titanium, is/are made in Switzerland, ie; drills, bores, sizers, inserts, spurs, knives (for planers/shaper), jigs for sharpening same, Blanks for profiling, specialized CNC tooling, Chucks/pull studs/accessories for CNC's and multi-cut cutter/planer heads... even Maintenance tools for cutterhead sets....

so I guess Freud tooling and accessories are made in Switzerland... SNORK!!!
so, getting back Mr. McCracken's statement, carbide bits and saw blades are made in Italy.. ya know.. the stuff us non-commercial rank and file types use... which is the subject of this thread and w/ the hair splitting and semantics getting left out...

for those that want to know...
those bits that cut/drill the holes for European style hinges are called bores... (think specialized Fostner bits w/ replaceable inserts)...
and before I forget... Freud Fostner bits, more often than not, are made in Germany and Austria...
 

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But on the other hand they do make good stuff as well,
point...
An Amana FJ bit made in Israel is a long lasting quality bit....
the same brand/bit/profile made in china doesn't last but hours and the china made profile doesn't match the Israeli made profile...
same price too... about 170$ at the time...
same thing w/ CMT bits too...
VOE... this is how I know the CS for these companies leave a lot to be desired...
they cost me money and hurt my bottom line and they may have upgraded their CS since but I'll leave that to somebody else to find out...
 

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You said it all in one line " And I haven't used any enough to decide on which I like best." I use a set of bits I got off of Ebay and have used them for over 20 years. When I need a specialty bit I go to MLCS and pay about half for one sells for at the other places and yes I'm still alive to talk about it. For a bit that I always use such as a cove bit I then buy a good quality brand but I do so only because in the long run it's cheaper than buying one from MLCS. A router bit is not like a saw or any other tool not even a saw blade. A router bit has no resale value and is an expendable item. For the most part the bits stay in their package and only get used occasionally if ever. I have never run across a bit that wasn't good for at least the first few times I used it, and I can't say how long the cheaper bits last because I have never worn one out. If I did I would take it back and ask for a new one. If the new one didn't work I would get my money back. A router is for occasional or for specialty work It's not a table saw or a planer or a jointer or a mortising machine or any other thing that people use it for. Yes you can use it for those things but you're just making your work harder. To sum it up buy MLCS bits and use the money you will save to buy a mortiser or whatever. Just MHO.
 
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