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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I'm new to these forums and pretty new to routing as well. I'd like to get set up to make some cabinets and doors, but money is an issue, so I've been looking for used equipment. I posted a wanted ad on a local buy-and-sell site and someone sent me a couple pics of a Porter Cable plunge router (maybe a 690) in a table and a pile of bits. I haven't been to see any of it yet, and the seller admitted he wasn't too sure what it was all worth. However, he did say that some of the bits are worth about $150 each (I'm in Canada, so prices are probably higher up here then in the states) and I counted as many as 80 bits in the photos.

Any advice about how to determine a fair value for a lot like this? I know it's probably hard without seeing it, but any suggestions about value or other things to consider when I go to look at it would be much appreciated. There's a lot more stuff there than I need right now, but I don't want to miss a good deal either if the price is right.

Thanks very much.
 

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Hi impala - welcome to the forums - you didn't say what part of Canada you're from - I'm from southern Ontario - Niagara Region.

Looking at the pictures you posted, some of those bits look like old Craftsman bits - HSS (high speed steel). I've got some of those and haven't used them in years, so their not worth much, if anything. Some of the others are in cases so it's really hard to tell what's in there.

You've said, that he said some of those bits are worth $150 - I'm skeptical on that. I see there's also a set of PC template guides - they'll come in handy.

I bought a PC690 a numbers of years ago, used and paid $150 then, with some Mastercraft bits and template guides thrown in for good measure. I still use that router occasionally but prefer my Bosch 1617. My PC690 doesn't have soft start or speed control - the Bosch does. I've also got an old Black and Decker router that I've had for over 30 years and still running strong as well as an old Craftsman router I never use.

So, what's the seller asking for the whole kit and caboodle?
 

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Impala - I meant to also say - does that router come with both the plunge base and the fixed base? The labels on some of those bits show Busy Bee and Craftex - you could always go on their website and try to price out some bits to see what their selling for these days. I think Busy Bee is located just north of Mississauga - again, not sure where your're located.
 

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What are they asking? My experience is that, depending on age, most power tools go for about half to one third their retail price (not MSRP). Most bits can be sharpened with a small diamond hone so unless they've been abused or heavily used. At worst, the router needs a cleanup and maybe new brushes. I wouldn't want to pay very much per bit for them unless it was clear on inspection that they were in good condition, and would then be worth a few dollars more on average.

But in the end, you might wind up buying one, in which case, it's very hard to beat the Bosch 1617 kit, which often goes on sale, and you can sometimes get a reconditioned one at CPO, which units are good as new according to Stick.
 

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Personally, I would not put a lot of faith in the seller. Mostly because he claims some of the router bits are worth $150 each. I just did some googling, to find the most expensive router bit I could find. Found this. https://www.woodpeck.com/whiteside4pcroundover.html But it is not A bit, it is a set of four Whiteside roundover bits, for $110 and change. And Whiteside is not low quality. I haven't priced them for years, but Harbor Freight used to carry factory refurbished routers, Delta and DeWalt I believe, but I didn't need one, so paid little attention. Don't know if they still carry them, but that is an option, and they have a great return policy. I have bought a few things of off eBay, for very reasonable prices, and they worked; but if they don't work, gettin a refund can be a hassle. Another option. Then there are pawn shops - problem I have found with them is they are usually more than I feel whatever is worth, not always, but often enough to deter. Then there's craigslist - an advantage there is the stuff is usually close enough to you to go and actually see whatever before you buy, and often you can talk the seller down, or even work a trade.

Maybe you have friends with routers, that will let you borrow one, or play with one, to get sort of a feel of what you want/need. Nothing wrong with buying a cheap router to start, and upgrade when you can, or if it dies. Oh yes, perhaps you know someone close to where the guy selling the router and bits is, and can check them out in person for you, and tell you what he thinks.

Best I can come up with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
What are they asking?
Thanks for the quick replies. The seller hasn't put a price on everything yet. I posted a wanted ad, and he replied that he had a router and some bits and said "don’t know what it’s all worth". He said a few bits were worth $150 each, but I assume he means that's the new price. I've been shopping around and the only bits I've seen in that price range are matched sets of rail and stile bits. I don't see anything like that in the pics, but I'm not sure what's in all those boxes.

The Bosch 1617 seems to get great reviews everywhere and a new one is at the top of my list if I can't find something used. I already bought a used Veritas table and fence and was hoping I could make my dad's old Craftsman Electronic router work with it. He had a Lee Valley rail and stile bit, but I was doing some test cuts with it and the bit spun up and almost out of the collet. I tried cranking the collet tighter, but it happened again and now the bit shank is scored and scratched. I've since read that Craftman routers are notorious for collet problems and don't really want to use it.

vchiarelli said:
Looking at the pictures you posted, some of those bits look like old Craftsman bits - HSS (high speed steel).
Is there any way to tell HSS bits from Carbide if they're not labelled? I'm in Southern-Ontario as well, down near Sarnia.

Cheers.
 

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The only bits I have purchased new that cost $150 was the Freud precision rail and stile bits set. In those pictures, I see something like that but they may have been separated for use. If possible, I prefer 1/2 inch shank bits because they are more stable. Some of those shanks appear to be 1/4 inch.

Good luck.

...and welcome aboard.
 

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Hi Impala
The $150 price could be from years ago. I once paid $140 for a panel raiser about 25 years ago. In the group of photos I don't see anything approaching a bit in that price range. A lot of Busy Bee and Craftex both Chinese as well as high speed steel Craftsman cutters. Carbide cutters usually have braised on cutting edges. The most common solid carbide cutters are up and down spiral bits. But like you say there could be something worthwhile in those grey boxes and its a fairly well rounded out selection to start with but only if you get it for a decent price.
 

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After reading some of the posts, I'd suggest just going for a 1617 EVSPK. Search for best price since it's often on sale and even at $220 at HD or Lowes, its very reasonably priced. You can buy the most common bits one at a time (maybe a 3 piece roundover set). Freud are easiest to find and really nice quality. I have several Sommerfeld matched rail and style, door sets I really like and a few from Rockler that are very nice as well. Can't speak to other brands because I don't own any. I don't recall buying any bits in blue boxes like those shown, so they're likely very old or off brand.

The old saying still applies: Buy in haste, regret at leisure. I have no regrets about any tool I've purchased new other than a few I've never used. Someone on the Forum's signature line is "I hope my wife doesn't sell my tools for what I told her I paid for them." Some truth there.
 

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Price depends on value. The old HSS bits from Craftsman maybe (at best) $1 ea. The Busy Bee bits are low end to fair quality Chinese. They don't hold up as well or cut as cleanly as high end bits but they are still usable. In good shape and still feeling reasonably sharp with zero nicks in the cutting edges around $5 ea max. I've bought lots of bits on ebay and I've never seen a roundover, ogee, or straight bit go for more than that and some went for as cheap as $0.99. As said already, there are no $150 bits showing there. New price on a lot of those bits was around $30 and under.

The router looks like it might be a plunge so if it's in good shape and sounds good then probably around $50, maybe up as high as $75. I can't say about the router table without some pictures from a couple of angles.

If you want to do doors, as in raised panel type, then you'll need those bits in addition to what you see but you must have a router table to use bits like that. I have some extra sets of rail and style plus raised panel cutter that I could sell but shipping here is expensive so I don't know if it would be much cheaper than going to a store or ordering online.
 
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Personally, I take seller's valuations of router cutters in particular with a fair degree of scepticism. Sellers obviously want the maximum price they can get in many cases, but with tools when they don't know what it is they are selling (which sounds like may be the case here) then they seem even more prone to exaggerating the price in my experience. Firstly you can tell the HSS cutters from the TCT ones because TCT ones have rather obvious pieces of flat carbide brazed onto them - the HSS cutters aren't worth much, if anything untested, (at least not to me) because they won't cut hardwoods that long and they burn-out really fast on MDF and plywoods. The TCT ones may be worth taking a look at - but if they are burned, chipped, blunt or covered in resin from having been used hard, or if the shanks are anything other than smooth and rust free then they are potentially worthless as well. Same goes for cutters which have been sharpened so many times that the carbide is down to under 1.5mm thickness. Cutters with guide bearings need to be checked for the bearings being clean and free running and not showing signs of scorching. From the photos I personally wouldn't want to offer a whole lot for those cutters, but in the flesh I might form a different view
 

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Is there any way to tell HSS bits from Carbide if they're not labelled? I'm in Southern-Ontario as well, down near Sarnia.

Cheers.
You've got some great answers on the HSS vs Carbide bits and how to tell the difference. Too bad you weren't closer to me - Sarnia's a few hours away, but I'm currently in Florida until mid-March.

Some of the prices you've received from the members are based on U.S. prices - somewhat higher in Canada. Having said that CPO Outlets is a great place to buy from and they sell refurbished items as well, but they don't ship to Canada. I purchased my Bosch router from them last year while in Florida and had it shipped to my condo. Now if you had a U.S. address or a friend near the border on the American side, you could have it shipped there and slip over to pick it up. There was a member here from Detroit, @Mike McGrath, but I haven't seen him on for a while - very friendly, but I don't know if that's an option for you.
 

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I would walk away from this deal. Spend a few bucks, buy what you need and know what it is. Just my opinion. Cheap ain’t always good.
 
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You've got some great answers on the HSS vs Carbide bits and how to tell the difference. Too bad you weren't closer to me - Sarnia's a few hours away, but I'm currently in Florida until mid-March.

Some of the prices you've received from the members are based on U.S. prices - somewhat higher in Canada. Having said that CPO Outlets is a great place to buy from and they sell refurbished items as well, but they don't ship to Canada. I purchased my Bosch router from them last year while in Florida and had it shipped to my condo. Now if you had a U.S. address or a friend near the border on the American side, you could have it shipped there and slip over to pick it up. There was a member here from Detroit, @Mike McGrath, but I haven't seen him on for a while - very friendly, but I don't know if that's an option for you.
Daninvan found a shopping option that might be viable for those of us who live reasonably close to the border. I haven't tried it yet but I will be. It's called Kinek and they have locations all along the US - Canada border. What they do is receive your package(s) for you and hold them for up to 30 days until you can come and pick them up. The site says they charge from $4 to $8 (US of course) for the service depending on box size and possibly weight. I think the max weight allowed is 60 lbs but that covers a lot of stuff. https://www.kinek.com/find-a-kinekpoint/
 
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Daninvan found a shopping option that might be viable for those of us who live reasonably close to the border. I haven't tried it yet but I will be. It's called Kinek and they have locations all along the US - Canada border. What they do is receive your package(s) for you and hold them for up to 30 days until you can come and pick them up. The site says they charge from $4 to $8 (US of course) for the service depending on box size and possibly weight. I think the max weight allowed is 60 lbs but that covers a lot of stuff. https://www.kinek.com/find-a-kinekpoint/
Charles - I used to get items shipped to a UPS store in Niagara Falls, NY, then slip over on my lunch to pick the items up. At the time, quite a number of years ago, they only charged $1 / day to hold the item for you and most companies accepted the UPS store address for shipping. A side benefit was that they would email you when the item arrived. It was only a 20 minute drive for me as I worked only a couple of miles from the border. These days I find it a real PITA to cross the border and we never do a day trip for shopping any more, knowing that we head to Florida for six weeks every winter.
 

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Hi Impala,
Welcome to the Forum.

I love your user name, I have 2 Impalas in my driveway !

I own a set of Freud raised panel bits and paid $139 or so at Home Depot a few years ago. I do shop at Busy Bee for some supplies and anything that doesn't require the best quality or isn't used frequently. If you don't plan on using them often, less expensive bits within you budget might be OK, but if you want to make cabinet doors, I suggest you buy quality bits that will serve you well. The frustration of messy results from poor quality bits is not easy to deal with. It can be from much more sanding to scrapping a piece that you grain matched and now you are unable to find another match. Many woodworkers have a saying that I believe in strongly; ''buy the best you can afford''
It's nice to see another new Canadian member. I'm from south western Quebec, near the Ontario border.
Dan
 

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Hi Impala,
Welcome to the Forum.

I love your user name, I have 2 Impalas in my driveway !

If you don't plan on using them often, less expensive bits within you budget might be OK, but if you want to make cabinet doors, I suggest you buy quality bits that will serve you well.
Dan
Some years back got a close view of a El Pala (that's what the plate read). Someone had turned an Impala into a El Camino style pickup, and did a very good job of it.

Agree. El cheapo bits are OK to practice with, using cheap or what some people call scrap wood, but for the real thing, good bits are the only reasonable way to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'm just about exactly 1/2 way between Windsor and Sarnia. About 40 miles from each. I'll help anyone here receiving stuff for pick up.
That's a very nice offer, but I think I'll try to make this purchase locally. I like saving money, but hate having to deal with cross-border issues if there are warranty concerns down the road.

Hi Impala,
Welcome to the Forum.

I love your user name, I have 2 Impalas in my driveway !

If you don't plan on using them often, less expensive bits within you budget might be OK, but if you want to make cabinet doors, I suggest you buy quality bits that will serve you well.
Thanks for the warm welcome. I owned quite a few Impalas back in the '80s when I was a bit younger, my favourite being a '65 convertible. I'd love to buy one again someday, but I think I'd need to win the lottery to afford one now.

The seller of the used stuff wasn't very communicative and I never got a chance to look at it. So I'm going to pass on that deal. I'm definitely leaning toward a new Bosch, but it's really stretching my budget and I would like to have some money left for a few quality bits. It's also disappointing that Bosch doesn't include basic accessories like an edge guard or dust collection hoods with their routers. Buying those accessories separately will add another $100 or so to the total cost, and availability seems to be spotty. I can buy the routers at Lowes, but they don't stock any accessories in-store or online.
 
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