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I'm new to woodworking and just got my first router (Bosch 1617EVSPK) but now need some bits!

Since I'm just beginning and don't really know which bits I'll want or what I can do with them, I really like the idea of getting a cheap entry/mid level set, experimenting and playing with them then replacing the ones I use the most with more expensive investments.

Given that, I was going to get the MLCS 15 set as it's decent quality, especially given the price and number of bits.

One of the first projects I'm building is a kitchen helper out of 3/4" maple and need to round the edges so it's easier on grabby toddler fingers. (Google "Wood Whisperer Kitchen Helper")

The problem is that the MLCS set comes with only a 3/8" roundover and if I use it on both sides of the wood, it'll make a completely round profile which isn't what I want. Would I be able to use the 3/8" bit but as a partial profile? Obviously it's not as ideal as using a smaller roundover with a full profile but would it even be noticeable?

Or perhaps there's a different set I should get? My second project has a table top (also 3/4" maple) that I want to put a 45 chamfer so whatever I get will need one of those bits too.

Woodcraft has a Woodriver 4 piece set on sale for $30 which has 1/4" roundover and chamfer but it's $10 for shipping making it basically the same price as the MLCS set so not sure if that's worth it.
 

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Hey,N/A; welcome! Check out the Lee Valley catalogue for profiles. Good bits at reasonable prices. The prices in the catalogue are in $Cdn so your prices are 25% less.
You want the 2019-20 Tool catalogue...
Lee Valley Tools - Online Catalogs
pgs 301-311

In my opinion, bit sets are a bit of a waste of money, having said that, a round over set is pretty useful.
Here's a CMT roundover set...
https://www.elitetools.ca/en/product/4-piece-roundover-bit-set-cmt-80004/
(CMT is Italian made from German steel and Carbide )
 

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The forum is divided on whether to get sets or not. I bought one from a Canadian chain with about 15 bits for $35 Canadian. I'm still using them years later. Even if I don't use 1/2 of them that works out to about $7 per bit. That's hard to beat and the bonus is you get a bunch of bearings with them. Why that is important is that you can change bearing diameters and get different profiles with the same bits, primarily round overs and coves. A round over bit with a smaller bearing will give you a profiled edge for example.

The most commonly used round over is the 1/4" so a set should have that one at least. 1/4 gives the best look on 3/4" thick stock. For really small round overs I usually just sand them round. I find that that's just as fast as you usually need to sand a little after routing anyway. I think I have round over bits as small as 1/16" but I never bother using them.
 

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The forum is divided on whether to get sets or not. I bought one from a Canadian chain with about 15 bits for $35 Canadian. I'm still using them years later. Even if I don't use 1/2 of them that works out to about $7 per bit. That's hard to beat and the bonus is you get a bunch of bearings with them. Why that is important is that you can change bearing diameters and get different profiles with the same bits, primarily round overs and coves. A round over bit with a smaller bearing will give you a profiled edge for example.

The most commonly used round over is the 1/4" so a set should have that one at least. 1/4 gives the best look on 3/4" thick stock. For really small round overs I usually just sand them round. I find that that's just as fast as you usually need to sand a little after routing anyway. I think I have round over bits as small as 1/16" but I never bother using them.



1 , welcome to the forum.


2 I am Charles' side on this one.
Buy a set and use it to learn how to use the router. Once you know what you are going to use, buy more expensive bits......eg one of my spiral upcut solid carbide cutters was over $A100...


3. Yes you can use just part of a profile to round over just a "smidgin" of an edge...
 

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I too agree with Charles, start with a low cost set and as you gain experience and find that certain bits are in regular use, if like Charles they're still giving a clean cut stay with them but any that are not the best replace with a known quality one. Here is a link to a company that I've dealt with for all manner of items, including of course router bits and found their quality great.
By the way, it would be in your own interest to complete your profile with a first name, type of woodworking experience, tools that you have and of course where about in the world you live. With this information members are able to answer all questions you may have in a meaningful way.

https://www.banggood.com/search/router-bits-for-wood.html
 
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One of the cool thing about using a router in a table is you can 'find' different profiles on the same bit. Most of the common sets of bits have an Ogee bit, which is both a cove and a round-over bit. If you experiment with bit height and reveal from the fence you can use just the cove or the round over. It's more work, but it works if that's all you have

I would recommend buying a couple of round over bits, because they see a lot of use in my projects. I use 1/8", 1/4" and 3/8" round overs all the time.

You can pick them up a la carte, or buy a small set. Some of the lower cost bits are actually pretty decent. I have had good luck with the Grizzly 'purple' bits, others swear by the Yellow Yonico ones for bang for the buck.

https://www.grizzly.com/products/Grizzly-Roundover-4-pc-Set-1-2-Shank/H3430

https://www.amazon.com/MLCS-8384-Ov...over+bit+set&qid=1568384678&s=gateway&sr=8-15
 

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Welcome to the forum and a great first question. As you can see there are mixed opinions on router bits and I fall into the camp of useful sets. While my best router bits are Whiteside almost exclusively although there are other good brands as well. With the 1617EVSPK you have the choice of using 1/4" or 1/2" shaft bits. I always go with 1/2" if possible just due to their beefier shafts. That being said keep in mind a smaller profile bit like a 1/4" straight bit is not any stronger as it has to be tapered to the 1/4" and any bit's weakest point is the thinnest part. With that in mind Stick will likely follow with a post that has links to some important and necessary reading for both safety and proper usage covering things like basic safety, proper use, proper material feed and so on. A must read if you care about your safety.

That said it's also important to realize that when your routing and doing cuts like grooves, dados and so on you need to make multiple passes instead of a single pass. If you're doing a 1/2" deep dado you may want to take 3 passes to get the final depth. You also want to pay attention to the speed chart that's in your manual or better yet print one out and post it in your shop where it's handy to reference. Speed is very important especially when using larger bits.

So to your original question, MCLS has a decent bit in my opinion. I have visited their showroom just outside of Philadelphia in Huntingdon Valley and they have some well informed people. I bought a set of theirs and have used maybe 1/3 of them without a problem except for a 1/8" straight cutter, again with a 1/2" shaft and the bit tip broke off. I suspect it was my fault by trying to cut too deep but they replaced it anyway. I bought the set while I was up there and got one of their "open box" returns. The box is a bit flimsy but does hold the bits well. Weak points are the small hinges and latch. A good set to learn with as it has a variety of bits in different profiles. I think it has 4-5 dovetail bits, maybe the same in straight, and so on depending on which set you buy. Can't say how long they will stay sharp as again I use my Whiteside bits for project work. If I'm trying to see what bit/style of cut I want I use these on scrap.

If you're nearby or in the area and visit the store you'll see these sets displayed at a reduced cost on the returns table. That's how I got mine. That probably muddies up the water a bit but that's what I did.

Should have added, if you really want to have some fun and extend the use of your router build a router table. I wish I had built mine years ago. What a huge difference.
 

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I'm not much for large it sets, especially if the larger bits are on 1/4 shafts. I do like a set of 3 roundover bits.

But I do suggest you make a table. You can use your fixed base to mount under a very flat piece of 3/4 ply. Simple to make, but FAR SAFET to use than freehand. I'd much rather have the 22,000rpm bit spinning in a fixed space and move the workpiece, than do it the other way around. You can even find the Bosch key that lets you fine tune bit height from above the table top. A really flat 2x makes an adequate fence to start with. There are lots of strings here on how to make one in a couple of hours.

Stick must be sleeping in, he hasn't posted his array of pdfs yet. Be sure to read through them before you start using that tool. A router is one of the most useful of all power tools--you can do a lot with one. There are a number of books, get used ones, on the topic as well.

I'm attaching a pdf of the 18 things that accelerated my learning curve, and they include a few mistakes and mis-buys I've made so you can avoid them. It's 10 pages but mercifully contains pictures so you can see what I'm talking about. It covers a span of about 12 years. You don't have to set up you shop tomorrow, you can take your time.
 

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Being in Canada I don't do a lot of business with US chains but in a router bit test a few years ago Rockler's bits scored well above MCLS's bits in quality. Grizzly wasn't in the test but I know their purple line is better than their green colored line.

If you use only part of the 3/8" bit you have two possibilities and both of them produce an asymmetric curve rather than a smooth one. If you don't have a router table then you'll have to use the bit hand held with the bearing riding the edge of the panels or boards. That will give you a sloped edge with a hard corner at the faces. If you had a router table you could use the outer edge of the round over bit which would give a sloped profile on the face with the hard edge on the edge of the board. In either case you can ease that hard edge with a little sanding.

The best way to sand a profile to change it is with a piece of ply or mdf with some 80 or 100 grit sandpaper glued to it. Sand it rounder and then use a sanding sponge to smooth the rough sanding down and you're good.
 

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Later on you may be buying individual bits, I like many of the brands posted above, but most often wind up with Freud bits, which are easy to find at Home Depot or at Rockler (the only woodworker supply anywhere near me). I also especially like sets from Sommerfeld tools. Pricey but highest quality.

BTW, Marc Sommerfeld has a series of videos on YouTube that are really good at showing basic router technique. Remember when watching that the safety guards have been removed so you can see what's happening in detail. But keep your guards, featherboards and other safety devices in place as much as possible. It's nice still having all your fingers when you're old. :wink:

The Sommerfeld videos feature his products, which are excellent, but he was a cabinetmaker for years and his methods are really good examples of doing things in the simplist ways and getting good results. I have three of his door making sets, where you use different bits to make different parts of the cabinet, the doors in particular. Freud also makes many of the same sets.

There are a lot of YouTube videos out there, but not all of them show good methods. But I'm sure you'll learn to spot the difference pretty quickly.
 

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welcome to the forums N/A...
being new to routers, here is a link to go to for a bit of reading...

as far as the MCLS bits there are better choices from most any one...
do a search on MCLS here and see what others have to say...
IMO, the only thing MCLS is, is cheap...
 

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welcome Weizilla I have a set of the "purple" bits from Grizzly which I got in a set of 12 bits with half-inch shanks. Here's the link, https://www.grizzly.com/products/Grizzly-Router-Bit-12-pc-Set-1-2-Shank/H5561 but I note they were about $10 less when I brought bought them a couple years ago. Most of the you'll look at are bits are in either quarter-inch shank or half-inch shank sets; I think most members would advised that the half-inch shank sets are more stable and give better results. I also have some Freud bits which are more expensive but you get what you pay for. Do yourself a favor and read the stuff that Stick has listed on his post, especially if you don't have a lot of experience with routers. Lots of good information there, including safety information. Send some photos of your work when you get it done.
 

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Thanks for all of the feedback and information! I'll take a look at the other set recommendations and all of the router resources posted.

I was browsing the forum and found this post with a video by Jim Heavey: https://www.routerforums.com/1929970-post13.html He does make some compelling arguments on not getting sets. The part where the ogee bit can be used for so many profiles blew my mind.
 

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I have not been pleased with the MLCS router bits. They dull very quickly. The best low priced router bits that I've found are those offered by Woodline https://www.woodline.com
They sell several brands, but the original Woodline blue bits will give you good service for a very reasonable price. The few times that I have had problems with an order I received very fast replacement too. One set that I ordered arrived with the box crushed, but the bits survived. I received a replacement box 2 days later. I once received a set that had one chipped carbide bit, and this was replaced without the need to even return the damaged bit.

Charley
 
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