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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, I'm in the process of making a set of adjustable height stands for the shop and I need to cut a 3/4" wide slot 1/4" deep. I have too many bits that could do that job but which is the best choice? I have several up spiral bits up to 1/2", I have a 3/4" straight cutter for a single pass, I have smaller straight cutters as well all being 1/2" shank. The 3/4" cutter is a two blade straight cutter whereas the 1/2" up cut spiral is 2 cutters but in a spiral which in my mind would make a cleaner cut. All would leave a flat bottom. The 3/4" bit is part of the MCLS 66 bit collection and what I would consider not as high a quality as my other Whiteside bits. The material being slotted is maple and this will be cut on the router table. The overall size of the boards is 1-1/2" x 2" x 28-/34" with a 3/4" centered slot cut 1/4" deep. What would you use, smaller cutter w/multiple passes, single pass 3/4" bit, or multiple passes with a spiral upcut bit?
 

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A spiral cut bit would be cleaner but I think you would want to use a down cut...that will cut towards the slot rather than away and leave a crisper edge at the opening of the slot.
 
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If you can control the cut then use the 3/4. I find it hard to make a nice straight cut without a double edge guide system. Somewhere along the way the bit starts to wander a bit without the other edge guide to trap the board in place for me but you may be able to hold the line on it. The spirals are a little easier to use because they clear the chips out of the cut but you're only going a 1/4" deep so not that big an issue.

MCLS bits are near the bottom of the scale according to bit tests I've seen. Whiteside always came out on top but the last bit test was a over 10 years ago now. Neither Freud, nor CMT, nor Amana did all that well back then (2007) but they may have upped their game since then. Lee Valley and Infinity did well and even Rockler scored better than the 3 big name bits.
 

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If you can control the cut then use the 3/4. I find it hard to make a nice straight cut without a double edge guide system. Somewhere along the way the bit starts to wander a bit without the other edge guide to trap the board in place for me but you may be able to hold the line on it. The spirals are a little easier to use because they clear the chips out of the cut but you're only going a 1/4" deep so not that big an issue.

MCLS bits are near the bottom of the scale according to bit tests I've seen. Whiteside always came out on top but the last bit test was a over 10 years ago now. Neither Freud, nor CMT, nor Amana did all that well back then (2007) but they may have upped their game since then. Lee Valley and Infinity did well and even Rockler scored better than the 3 big name bits.
https://www.canadianwoodworking.com/tools/router-bit-comparison
https://thewoodcraftsman.com/freud-router-bits/
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The two comparisons Stick referred to don't have Whiteside as a contender which seems odd as I think they are generally rated very highly. But for the record I did a test cut with a piece of scrap maple and set the bit height to 1/4" and adjusted the fence for the 1st cut, adjusted again overlapping the 1st cut maybe 50%, and then made the final adjustment for the last cut. The cut and groove is very fine with flat bottom and crisp sides. When I do this to the actual material I'll make a double pass for the height and just take off 1/8th or so each pass. While it did cut fine it seemed to want to not go as smoothly. The fence and feather boards ensure the straight cut while the push blocks hold the material down firmly although I may just use the Jess Em Clear Cut Guides along with the feather boards. I haven't tried that before.
 

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The two comparisons Stick referred to don't have Whiteside as a contender which seems odd as I think they are generally rated very highly. But for the record I did a test cut with a piece of scrap maple and set the bit height to 1/4" and adjusted the fence for the 1st cut, adjusted again overlapping the 1st cut maybe 50%, and then made the final adjustment for the last cut. The cut and groove is very fine with flat bottom and crisp sides. When I do this to the actual material I'll make a double pass for the height and just take off 1/8th or so each pass. While it did cut fine it seemed to want to not go as smoothly. The fence and feather boards ensure the straight cut while the push blocks hold the material down firmly although I may just use the Jess Em Clear Cut Guides along with the feather boards. I haven't tried that before.
I think (VOE) Whitesides are excellent bits w/ Freud being their serious competition...
1st and 2nd place are interchangeable between the two depending on the bit...

I choose Freud because of the longevity, availability, and CS...
one bit that never seems to get entered into the fray is the Freud Quadracut...
now that those are bits to be reckoned w/...
 

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Personally I would and have used a 3/4" bit with two passes and perhaps I'm just lucky, because I've not had a problem with chip-out.
 
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The two comparisons Stick referred to don't have Whiteside as a contender which seems odd as I think they are generally rated very highly. But for the record I did a test cut with a piece of scrap maple and set the bit height to 1/4" and adjusted the fence for the 1st cut, adjusted again overlapping the 1st cut maybe 50%, and then made the final adjustment for the last cut. The cut and groove is very fine with flat bottom and crisp sides. When I do this to the actual material I'll make a double pass for the height and just take off 1/8th or so each pass. While it did cut fine it seemed to want to not go as smoothly. The fence and feather boards ensure the straight cut while the push blocks hold the material down firmly although I may just use the Jess Em Clear Cut Guides along with the feather boards. I haven't tried that before.
Steve; Whiteside isn't readily available up here, N. of 49. Not saying you can't find them but Freud, CMT, Dimar, and Lee Valley are way more common and shipping is quick and easy.
Buying Whiteside from US sources is a non-starter (shipping to Canada).
 
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