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I've been slowly progressing as a woodworker over the last few years, and have recently stepped up my router game. I started with an old pair of Craftsman 1 HP routers and a benchtop table that I inherited, and have since changed over to three Bosch routers, a Colt and a pair of 1617s, one of which is table mounted in a JessEm Rout-R-Lift II. Since I started with the Craftsman pair, almost all of my bits have 1/4" shanks, but I do have a decent collection of name brands. They work fairly well with most smaller jobs, but don't feel all that robust on heavier stuff. I'd like to do more intense jobs on the router table, like mitering, rabbeting, dadoes, and dovetails. My understanding is that I'll get less chatter and a smoother result if I use the 1/2" collet and meatier bits. Right now, the only 1/2" shank bits I have are 1/4" and 3/8" solid carbide spiral upcut bits for mortising, and a 1 1/16" chamfering bit, all Whiteside. I've looked at the sets of 9-13 bits that are pre-packaged by Whiteside, Amana, and Freud, but it always feels like a few are either redundant (because I can do roundovers and some other jobs just as well with the 1/4" bits) or unnecessary 90% of the time. I will also be making templates as well, and need bits for that.

Given what I already have, what 6-9 1/2" shank bits should I get to run on my table? I'm sure I'll still need things I don't have as I do more projects, but I'd like to get the basics squared away.

Thanks in advance for any help!!
A good variety.of straight bits. 1/2" shank if possible. 1/2" straight boy, 1/4" straight boy, a couple of 1/2" ball bearing pilot bits, and at least one 3/4" or 1* top pilot ball bearing bit. Get a couple of router base inserts for other pattern routing.

Eventually you may wish to move up to one or two heavy duty routers - much steadier, less chatter.
 

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I've been slowly progressing as a woodworker over the last few years, and have recently stepped up my router game. I started with an old pair of Craftsman 1 HP routers and a benchtop table that I inherited, and have since changed over to three Bosch routers, a Colt and a pair of 1617s, one of which is table mounted in a JessEm Rout-R-Lift II. Since I started with the Craftsman pair, almost all of my bits have 1/4" shanks, but I do have a decent collection of name brands. They work fairly well with most smaller jobs, but don't feel all that robust on heavier stuff. I'd like to do more intense jobs on the router table, like mitering, rabbeting, dadoes, and dovetails. My understanding is that I'll get less chatter and a smoother result if I use the 1/2" collet and meatier bits. Right now, the only 1/2" shank bits I have are 1/4" and 3/8" solid carbide spiral upcut bits for mortising, and a 1 1/16" chamfering bit, all Whiteside. I've looked at the sets of 9-13 bits that are pre-packaged by Whiteside, Amana, and Freud, but it always feels like a few are either redundant (because I can do roundovers and some other jobs just as well with the 1/4" bits) or unnecessary 90% of the time. I will also be making templates as well, and need bits for that.

Given what I already have, what 6-9 1/2" shank bits should I get to run on my table? I'm sure I'll still need things I don't have as I do more projects, but I'd like to get the basics squared away.

Thanks in advance for any help!!
Realistically there are only a few bits that you may use the most.
Friends -

I've been slowly progressing as a woodworker over the last few years, and have recently stepped up my router game. I started with an old pair of Craftsman 1 HP routers and a benchtop table that I inherited, and have since changed over to three Bosch routers, a Colt and a pair of 1617s, one of which is table mounted in a JessEm Rout-R-Lift II. Since I started with the Craftsman pair, almost all of my bits have 1/4" shanks, but I do have a decent collection of name brands. They work fairly well with most smaller jobs, but don't feel all that robust on heavier stuff. I'd like to do more intense jobs on the router table, like mitering, rabbeting, dadoes, and dovetails. My understanding is that I'll get less chatter and a smoother result if I use the 1/2" collet and meatier bits. Right now, the only 1/2" shank bits I have are 1/4" and 3/8" solid carbide spiral upcut bits for mortising, and a 1 1/16" chamfering bit, all Whiteside. I've looked at the sets of 9-13 bits that are pre-packaged by Whiteside, Amana, and Freud, but it always feels like a few are either redundant (because I can do roundovers and some other jobs just as well with the 1/4" bits) or unnecessary 90% of the time. I will also be making templates as well, and need bits for that.

Given what I already have, what 6-9 1/2" shank bits should I get to run on my table? I'm sure I'll still need things I don't have as I do more projects, but I'd like to get the basics squared away.

Thanks in advance for any help!!
When it comes to the shaft size, I use the 1/4" shanks the most. I've not had problems with shatter. You should make multi-passes, not deep-passes all at once. But 1/2" shaft is prefered.

As stated by others, you can order manufacture catalogs, for Free. You can browse through them to see what patterns, cutting lengths, widths, shanks, radius, etc. that you may like. Whiteside Machine Company (whitesiderouterbits.com)

I started with a 30 count router bit set. I actually only used six of the bits in the last ten years. Nice to have, but was a waste of money that I could have used for specialty bits. All the others I bought individually. I have over 150 router bits. Whiteside, Freud, Craftsman, CMT, Porter Cable, Skil, Eagle American, MLCS. Many multiples of the same bit. The brands I like best are Whiteside (made in the USA) and Freud. What bits you use will primarily depend on your project and style pattern bits you like for the job. MLCS router bits can save you some cash, and they offer free shipping.MLCS Router Bits and Woodworking Products (mlcswoodworking.com) Same quality as CMT.

The type of router work I primarily do is; Wooden Urns, Hope Chest, Cedar Chests and Picture Frames.

The bits I use most are;
1/4", 3/4" straight.
1/4" round-over.
flush-trim.
locking miter for stock ranging 3/4" through 1" thick. Primarily for boxes.
Oval-Edge (1/2 bull nose) for chest lids.
key-hole.
Chamfer 45 degree for boxes.
Multi-Rabbit set Whiteside #1955.
Ogee with Fillet. for top and bottom accent on boxes.
Plunge-Ogee 3/4" wide for center accents around the boxes.
Stile & Rail for making panels sides on Hope Chests.
Raised-Panel bit for the panels on the Hope Chests.

Don't forget a sharpening to extend the life of the bit. I use the Diamond Credit Card sharpener DMT - Dia-Sharp - Credit Card Diamond Stone Sharpener - Fine (woodcraft.com)
 

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I am with the "buy as you need" crowd. Early in my woodworking career, i succumbed to the "buy a set" urge and ended up with bits that did not get used. I too tend to buy 1/2" shank even though I don't think i have ever bent a 1/4" shank.
 

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Can't resist chiming in. I see Wooden Dreams has miter lock bit in his list. Bought one years ago just because and, if it is possible, it is simply my favorite router bit. Silly, I know. But WTH. Other than that, I've gotten by over the years with half a dozen bits, and there are bits in my 'starter' kit that I've never used. Best of luck...
 

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Considering routers but cost around $5 each to sharpen, it doesn't pay for me to have a lot of loose bits I don't need or will never use unless I force it. If you do a lot of something it pays to have several. One in the router and one sharp in waiting.

When I had my cabinet shop I bought in bulk. On sanding belts for a 6x80 Grizzly edge sander. The belts are now 10 years old. Recently I tried to change belts. I snapped all of them. I bought several boxes of 10 a box klingspor sanding belts. All snapped from age. Luckily I had a different brand that didn't snap., but it doesn't pay to invest if you can't cycle them fast enough ..

I have probably 10 boxes of 100 pc of sticky sandpaper for a 5" ROS. Now I want to go to H&L...
 

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Considering routers but cost around $5 each to sharpen, it doesn't pay for me to have a lot of loose bits I don't need or will never use unless I force it. If you do a lot of something it pays to have several. One in the router and one sharp in waiting.

When I had my cabinet shop I bought in bulk. On sanding belts for a 6x80 Grizzly edge sander. The belts are now 10 years old. Recently I tried to change belts. I snapped all of them. I bought several boxes of 10 a box klingspor sanding belts. All snapped from age. Luckily I had a different brand that didn't snap., but it doesn't pay to invest if you can't cycle them fast enough ..

I have probably 10 boxes of 100 pc of sticky sandpaper for a 5" ROS. Now I want to go to H&L...
I have the Grizzly 6x80 edge sander also. It's probably my second most used machine I have, next to the table saw. (I will often use it as a jointer instead of my jointer). I supply some of the local Funeral Homes with wooden urns. So it pays me to have extra router bits on hand. I do have a router table and a router table extension wing on my table saw. been planning on making a Horizontal Table also.
 

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It has a lot of value making cabinet doors. I wanted the Grizzly oscillating sander when it was $700. Too late now..j
I went with the Grizzly 6x80 benchtop model. Because I wanted storage space for wood under the bench. Love it. Got mine in 2017 on sale about $550 plus shipping, at the time. Prices nowadays, I scratch my head. I'm glad I got my equipment when I did.
 

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Can't resist chiming in. I see Wooden Dreams has miter lock bit in his list. Bought one years ago just because and, if it is possible, it is simply my favorite router bit. Silly, I know. But WTH. Other than that, I've gotten by over the years with half a dozen bits, and there are bits in my 'starter' kit that I've never used. Best of luck...
I have two large locking miter bits and three small locking miter bits (for 1/2" stock). I use locking miter joints on all of my Wooden Urns. Easier to clamp up boxes square with locking miter bits verses a 45 degree chamfer or miter cut. Also adds a the selling point. Customers like the locking miter joint better, especially if they see them side to side.
 

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So, there you go. Buy a set of cheapo's and you can create to your hearts content. It makes it hard to imagine what a few bits added together will look like without actually having the bits to experiment with. I've seen a lot of boring trim that was made out of a single bit. I never limit myself to a set of plans or drawings. I can see it in my head as I go along.
 

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So, there you go. Buy a set of cheapo's and you can create to your hearts content. It makes it hard to imagine what a few bits added together will look like without actually having the bits to experiment with. I've seen a lot of boring trim that was made out of a single bit. I never limit myself to a set of plans or drawings. I can see it in my head as I go along.
I woukdnt...

#1... Router bits don't last long. Cheap carbide.
#2....Bearings arent tge best and eventually fail..

It's been discussed on forums in past years.
 

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I'm glad that router bits don't know any of this. If they did, the ones I bought at Sears in the 70's wouldn't work any more. You're missing the point/. For everyday bis but good ones. For experimenting or seldom used bits buy cheap ones.
 
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