Seems like I've seen this question asked on this forum numerous times. Well, I just received my new copy of Wood magazine (May 2004, issue 155) and lo and behold, there is an article comparing premium priced vs low cost router bits. They compared bits from 4 manufacturers, two of premium bits and two of low cost bits (didn't give the names of the makers) and the jist of the article is that the low cost bits were either not up to par from the git-go or wore out very quickly compared to the premium bits. (edit in: one had the carbide come off in use and one would not stay tight in the collett, kept shifting.)
If you always do what you've always done, You'll always get what you've always got.
Cheap bits suck... period. They don't cut well, they aren't sharp, they aren't well made for chip removal and heat disapation, they wobble, they are brazed cheaply and can be dangerous.... and on and on....
So why the hell do people buy them?
... cause they're cheap.
Ask yourself this.... Is there any way that a bit that can be bought for $3 in an el-cheapo kit possibly be anywhere near the quality of a bit that costs $25?
What I tend to do is to get midrange priced bits in a set, and as the ones that get the most use begin to dull, replace them with Whitesides or other top of the line bits. No sense in spending the money for those that get little use. The mid-range, such as Woodcraft, bits will suffice to have around for the occassional use, while it is extremely frustrating to have an oft used bit go dull on you in the middle of a project. At some point the less used bits will start crapping out, and be replaced with premium bits that will, hopefully, outlast me.
The el cheapos need to stay on the shelf at the store, not even good for occassional use cause they are dangerous.
In the year since I've been particpating on woodworking boards, I've heard about 3 cases where the carbide tips came off a cheap bit. Gotta love some sharp carbide being thrown from a bit moving at 25,000 RPM.
I've heard of one 1/4 shaft failure resulting in a death, and one 1/4 inch shaft failure resulting in a bit that hit the subbase and bent at a 45 degree angle, damaging the router base, but fortunately not coming out and hurting anyone.
So, I'd have to say no. I buy 1/2" shaft bits and stick primarily to Whiteside, which had the top marks from Fine Woodworking's review for clean cut and longevity.
Yep, that too. I stay away from 1/4" bits except where I don't have a choice. In addition to being more prone to shaft failure, they have significantly less mass which makes for a less than perfect cut at times.
I was amazed at the difference in the cut when I first switched over to a 1/2" collet router. previously I avoided using a router as much as possible because it was always a battle to get a decent cut.
Wow! a death from 1/4 shank.... I'm a little curious on the story behind that one.
Anybody know anything about the Rockler router bits (1/2" shank)? They seem pretty middle of the road priced, and they seem pretty good to me (I have a rabbitting bit and an undersized plywood straight bit), but then again, I'm sort of a newbie w/out a lot of experience with router bits.
A long time Friend of this Forum, who is on sebatical, posted of just this incident. Dano.
The cheap bit broke, cut the man's femal artry, and he bled to death on the jobsite in front of his co-workers.
You can bleed to death in under two minutes with a femal artry wound.
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