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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
SURVEY for a router bit selection guide for new users...

Kindly copy this and add your response. We'll compile and tell how it turned out.

If you were just starting, knowing what you know now, in order, which 10 types of bits would you start with? OK to add more if you wish.



In order of your quality perceived, which brands of bits do you like best?



Looking forward to your feedback.
 

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Is there a downloaded form, or just make up stuff as we proceed?

ie
-a bunch of different sized roundovers (the more the better!)
-a nice selection of straight bits, with bottom cutting ability
-mortice bits (for dadoing for plywood panels...1/2" 5/8" 3/4" )
Those would be my 'can't do without' ones
 

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Doug
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Spitball answer:

3/8, 1/4,1/8 round over
1/2 in flush trim
1/2 in pattern bit
1/2 and 1/4 in endmill
45 deg chamfer
Roman ogee
cove bit.

A surface planing bit would be nice, but I wouldn't put it in the top ten

As far as bit makers go, I am not that picky. I shoot for a balance of price and quality, but also availability. I like Magnate, Centurion, Whiteside and the other "upper shelf" brands, but have had surprisingly good luck with Grizzly "purple" bits, the "wood River" bits from Woodcraft (when they are on sale), Woodline, Oldham, etc. I have had mixed results with Eagle America ( shank was undersized), and didn't like the cheap MLCS bits.

Between estate sales, wood show deals, and the like I have bits of all makes and color, and most can be made to cut pretty well.
 

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Set of round over bits, both 1/4 and 1/2 inch shanks, depending on your needs
Flush trim bit
Pattern Bit
Several dado bits

Most of my bits are Yonico which serve my occasional needs just fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Freeform answers will do. We would like LOTS of responses so everyone is represented.
 

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Chuck's response reminded me about the shank size part. Yup, roundovers in both 1/4" and 1/2" shanks.
I've been buying DIMAR, CMT, and Lee Valley bits, mostly online. And the odd Freud one from my local lumberyard; their selection is really limited.
 

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Mike
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I would start with

1/2" pattern bit, this can be a straight flute or spiral flute, at least 2 flutes
1/2" flush-trim bit, if you do a lot of small projects I would also add a 1/4" flush-trim bit for tighter curves
1/8", 1/4", 3/8" round over bits
1/8", 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", straight bits and if you work with small slabs a lot that will be surfaced a 3/4" to 1" straight bit
If you will be working with larger slabs that require surfacing I would recommend 1" to 1 1/2" surfacing bit with 1/2" shank to be used with a large router. If you will be surfacing a lot I would recommend going with an insert bit so the cutting edges can be renewed easily.
a couple of round nose grooving bits 1/4" to 1/2" if you do smaller jobs or 1/2" to 3/4" if you do larger projects
V-bits in 60 degrees and 90 degrees, if you will be doing freehand signs a 45 degree would also be nice to have.
I would also add edge treatment bits, 45-degree champer with bearing, maybe one or two ogee bits wit bearings
If you will be doing a lot of freehand signs with smaller lettering or fine details an 1/8" collet and several different1/8" shank v-bits from 10 degrees to 60 degrees.
If you want to try your hand at small inlay work I recommend an inlay set with router bushing, collar and bit, 1/8" set for the smaller inlays or 1/4" for larger inlays. This takes the guesswork out of cutting both the pocket and inlay.

I like Whiteside and Amana bits but I also buy other brands if they are sale priced and I have a use for them now and then.
 

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I am fairly new to using a router--couple of years. I have found Infinity bits to be incredible. It is my go to. I also like CMT. Top ten bits for me would be

Flush trim double bearing 1/2" and 1/4" shafts
Mega Flush trim bit double bearing 1/2" shaft from Infinity (used as a cheap man's jointer).
Straight bit 1/2" shaft
Round over bits 1/2" shaft
Dado bits for undersized plywood 1/2" shaft
T-Slot bit
1/2" by 1/2" 14 degree dovetail bit 1/2" shaft
 

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If you were just starting, knowing what you know now, in order, which 10 types of bits would you start with? OK to add more if you wish.

1) SC50
2) 60 degree V
3) 90 degree V
4) Carving Liner
5) Sign Bit (sm. & lg.)
6) 1/2" Round Over
7) Spiral Up
8) Spiral Down
9) Chamfer
10)


In order of your quality perceived, which brands of bits do you like best?

Don't know about best, because I have a cheap set that I started with that I still use seven (7) years later, but I can't find them anywhere, and there was no name on them. However, over the years, I've evolved to using these, now.

Frued
Whiteside
Rockler

P.S. @DesertRatTom I read your instructions, Tom, as women usually do... :lol: :sarcastic:

Forgive my lack of detail in comparison of the others. Of course, everyone knows I use my router(s) for signs. These are the bits I use the most when making them.
 

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It seems that I use the round over bits more than not. I have them in 1/4 and 1/2 inch shank. And since I have a dual router table, I keep a flush trim bit in one router, and a 1/8th inch round over bit in the other. If I need to, I switch the 1/8th out for either the 1/4 or 3/8 inch.

3/8, 1/4, 1/8 round over
1/2 in flush trim
1/2 in pattern bit
cove bit
 

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Barb makes a good point that as primarily a sign maker her bit choices are considerably different than those of us who make cabinets and furniture.A separate list of basic bits for sign makers might be a good idea as we do get new members who are focused on sign making.

My basic set suggestion would be:
1/4" round over- maybe one or two other sizes but the 1/4" is perfect for 3/4" lumber
1/4" cove
1/4, 1/2, and 3/4" straight bits
Flush trim bit (probably 1/2" D)
Pattern bit (same)
45* bearing guided chamfer bit
1/4" and 1/2" round nose
Roman ogee bit for edge profiling

For early add ons I would recommend a slot cutter set with 4 cutters plus spacer and shim pack and a rabbet sett with different size bearing set.
 

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Further to Charles's comment, a lot of those elegant profiles are really aimed at old furniture and moulding styles. If you aren't doing that, then they're likely never going to get used. Which takes us back to that recurring discussion about buying "sets' instead of individual bits.
If you look at a particular set, and you can find say 75% of them as being on this survey then it's probably really good value, quality aside. If it's loaded up with ogees etc. then maybe not so much...
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I have a difficult time picturing the profile a bit will cut. So I keep a Sommerfeld catalog around because it shows both the bit and the profile it cuts. I think that would be a good step for anyone, order a bit catalog with profiles.
 

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I have a difficult time picturing the profile a bit will cut. So I keep a Sommerfeld catalog around because it shows both the bit and the profile it cuts. I think that would be a good step for anyone, order a bit catalog with profiles.
The Lee Valley online catalogue has been dramatically changed...don't think I like it much.
https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/tools/power-tool-accessories/router-bits?query=&resultOnPage=12&page=1&categoryId={E9CDD2D8-FAD5-4287-9143-DA20BC0DC473}&sortBy=default&includeCategories=false&dataItem={CCF16E47-16D8-4F1C-AC6A-936DFE31CEA3}

I can`t make that link work either. Not sure why.
Charles
 

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I have a difficult time picturing the profile a bit will cut. So I keep a Sommerfeld catalog around because it shows both the bit and the profile it cuts. I think that would be a good step for anyone, order a bit catalog with profiles.
I used to keep a couple of digital catalogs partly for that reason. I know from newbie comments I`ve seen that they often can`t either. The fact is many of those profiles we see when we look at furniture or trim work, we just don`t realize it.
 
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1/4 and 1/2" round-over
3/8" carbide spiral up cut
Ogee
1/2" pattern bit
1/4 and 1/2" flush trim
1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 plywood dado (undersized)

Most of my bits are from Grizzly, although I have CMT and Freud – one each. I also have some Woodcraft bits and some Carb – Tech bits. I have both quarter-inch and half-inch shaft bits. I also have some Craftsmen HSS and carbide bits, both quarter-inch shaft, that I got with my 1st router years ago. There is a noticeable difference between the HSS bits and the carbide bits from any of the other manufacturers. For the amount of routing I have done, all of the carbide bits perform well enough for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
@harrysin

That's quite a collection you have there. The point of the post was to survey members for a list of basic bits a router newbie might do well to have from the beginning. Something of a just the basics shopping list. I've collected a lot of bits over the years, including a few I bought because I was amazed actually exist, that I have yet to use. There was a time not long ago where I had lots more cash than I do now and I bought a few things just because I could.
 
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