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  1. #1
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    Default Cheap router bit set for beginner

    Hey Guys,

    I appreciate quality tools as much as the next guy, but as a beginner I run the risk of making silly mistakes and ruining expensive tools, as well as not using something enough to justify it's original purchase. With that in mind, I want a set of cheaper router bits that I can learn with and potentially ruin. As I ruin/wear them out, or otherwise want higher precision/better cuts, I can then replace those individual bits with higher quality bits. That's the idea anyway. I'm planning on pairing it with a Ryobi router from Bunnings (https://www.bunnings.com.au/ryobi-16...outer_p6210608). I realise it's not going to be the best quality router or necessarily last, but it's at least got variable speed and many of the important functions that many consider essential features, and at least I'll be able to appreciate a higher quality router if I ever upgrade.

    With all that in mind, what would be my best bet in terms of a router bit set? I'm currently considering the Carbatec set and the 12 piece Ultra set from Bunnings. Leaning more towards Carbatec as a couple of people on here have noted they weren't too bad.

    Cheers

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  3. #2
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    Hi, I bought the Carbatec router bit set but I find I only use 2 or 3 of the bits. Most people will recommend that you purchase the bits you need on a project by project basis and after buying the Carbatec set I think I agree with that statement.

    Since buying the set I have purchase 6 or so other bits that I needed that weren't in the set. The Arden branded bits from Carbatec seem to be of decent quality and you could but 3 to 4 bits for the price of the kit. The Carbitool bits are nice too which you can pick up at Total Tools.

    How often do you see yourself needing a roman ogee, cove or ovolo bit? And if you do need them chances are the kit wont have the size you need.

    So in summary, better of buying on a bit by bit basis.
    Last edited by samo; 19th May 2019 at 02:19 AM. Reason: edits

  4. #3
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    Good advice above from samo. I would add that a quality router bit will last far longer and will almost certainly have a better quality and higher precision bearing (where fitted) and more generous carbide tips etc.

    Whilst router bit failures aren't headline news they do occur occasionally so I'm one to put the odds in my favour by using quality manufactured items such as router bits. Another matter to consider is that there are limits on what size router bits can be reasonably and safely used in a hand held router and with 1/4" or a 1/2" shank.

    Much of the technology that goes into a router bit isn't all that obvious even to an experienced user,
    quality brazing, generous shank lengths, thicker higher quality carbides, well honed cutting faces / edges, "non-stick" coatings, anti-kickback designs, larger mass which helps dissipate heat, precision balancing, but perhaps most importantly a decent quality assurance system. All of these factors help to produce a router bit with fewer bad manners, one that is quieter, cuts smoothly, isn't "grabby" or "bitey", with less risk of kick back.
    Mobyturns

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  5. #4
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    I agree with the above, I have bits that are over 20 years old that have never come out of the box.
    I think it is better value to buy bits specific to the job at hand

  6. #5
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    What they said. I, too, have bits that I have never used nor likely to use

    They can be a bit like screws - you have plenty but never the correct one for the job at hand. Just last week I had to buy an 8mm straight bit for a project.
    Tom

    "It's good enough" is low aim

  7. #6
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    The bits that I commonly use are 1/4" and 1/2" spiral upcut bits for mortising. 1/2" and 3/4" flush trim bits for producing same same components on a router table with template. 1/8" round over bits for knocking off sharp edges. 5/8" and 3/4" roundover bits for adding some detail which is easy enough to sand. 5/8" cove bit for producing 3/4" x 3/4" scotia moulding, which is also easy to sand. And then other random bits n pieces for odd jobs....which is exactly why I will go against the grain and say buy the Carbatec set. It gets you started with most of what is commonly needed and from there you can pick up what you need, when you need it, if you need it. To this day, I still use bits from this set every now and then https://www.bunnings.com.au/craftrig...t-set_p6370152 For 20bux, I reckon it was good enough value, but the straight bits break kind of easy. Possibly I am too rough, but probably I got what I paid for

  8. #7
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    Both Carbatec and Timbecon, and I am sure others, sell a cheaper line of bits. I have a couple from Timbecon. The quality is very decent and certainly good enough to last years, and they are quite cheap. I would advise that you buy a couple, but only the ones you need. Like you, when starting down the router path, I purchased a cheapish box of 10 from (what is today) Carbatec. That was nearly 30 years ago, and half have not been used!

    I tend to use straight bits (preferably upcut) for morticing and dados, chamfer bits, and round over bits. I have a couple of dovetail bits and a beading bit, although I prefer to do these by hand. Others would use them more often. Select what you will need now, and in the size needed. Buy as the job requires.

    Regards from Perth

    Dereq
    Visit www.inthewoodshop.com for tutorials on constructing handtools, handtool reviews, and my trials and tribulations with furniture builds.

  9. #8
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    Better to buy what you need in quality. Unless you hit a screw/nail, you're unlikely to damage anything beyond recovery; the worst you'll do is overheat it and a $10-20 sharpen will make it good as new.

  10. #9
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    I have over $1000 worth of Carbitool bits. Each one has been bought for specific tasks, like the two I bought to create a groove to fit a tongue in my clock restoration. Carbitool bits are brilliant!
    i also have a cheap set I bought from Aldi that give me a range of common profiles that I sometimes use on the odd job or roughing out.

    So id buy a cheap range to try out and then buy the individual dearer units when you require them.

  11. #10
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    I'm with Kuffy on this one; many years ago I purchased a couple of generic very cheap router bit sets comprising of a mixture of straights, roundovers, and flush trims, they also held at least one dovetail, a rebate cutter, a chamfer cutter and an ogee. There is the odd one like piercing laminate trimmers and keyhole cutters which are destined to remain unused forever. By buying a set you have the ability to choose the most appropriate cutter for the task rather than limiting yourself to what you have available, or having to go and purchase one. You also get to practice with cheap cutters; if you take too big big a bite and break one you don't cry too hard. The nature of whatever work you do will dictate which ones of the set are used most often.

    My advice is buy a cheap set and when you've figured out which ones you use the most replace them with top quality. My cheap blue painted Chinese No-Name cutter set is liberally sprinkled with orange CMT cutters; any that are original have barely been used. The difference between a cheap cutter and a high quality cutter set is mainly the finish you will get from them; but accuracy and strength aren't far behind. A cheap roundover will leave a scalloped finish and possibly tramlines down that will all need to be hand sanded out. The same sized roundover made by CMT or Freud will leave a finished surface ready for varnishing or painting, and will only need a light sanding for an oil or similar thin finish.

    When I purchase cutters this is my order of brand preference:

    CMT or Freud - simply the best you will ever buy, priced accordingly but will last forever.
    Carbitool - high quality and Aussie made, wide selection and readily/quickly available
    Diablo - Owned by Freud and have good reviews; haven't tried them myself BUT have used Diablo saw blades and they are better than most; Irwin for example.
    Anything else physically on the shelves of a reputable tool shop; Torquata at Timbecon for example.
    Online Chinese made products.

    If I know I'm going to use it often or need to ensure the best finish, CMT/Freud. If it's a one-off or needed quickly, Carbitool. Desperately needed yesterday; Diablo/Torquata/Arden.
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  12. #11
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    I'm with Kuffy and Chief Tiff on this one too.

    I have the proverbial "cheap set" of 1/4 inch bits for my 1/4 inch router, a Makita trim router I bought to use in a router pantograph. But now that I have it, and the box of cheap bits I often use it for those annoying one off jobs that would previously have sent me out to buy a half-inch bit for one of my bigger routers. It saves me time and sanity not having to go to Bunnings when I could keep working. When I find a bit is being used more than a couple of times I buy a good one next time I am at somewhere that sells quality tools.

    1/4 inch bit sets are CHEAP. I would only buy 1/2 inch bits for a particular purpose rather than buying a set as they are not as cheap to buy.

    But 1/4 inch bits in a set - I have never regretted buying them just for the time and inconvenience they have saved me for a minimal outlay.

    And yes, as others have said - there are bits that I haven't used and probably never will, but so what?
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  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Tiff View Post
    CMT or Freud - simply the best you will ever buy, priced accordingly but will last forever.
    Carbitool - high quality and Aussie made, wide selection and readily/quickly available
    I'd put Carbitool in the same group as any other premium bit.

    Just for a quick comparison, a 19mm roundover bit is $91 for a CMT and $61.60 for a Carbitool. Is there a difference in quality? Maybe. Is the CMT 50% better? I highly doubt it.

    My old work was running exclusively Carbitool bits in our CNC (except for some huge spirals that they don't make) and we got incredible tool life, even in endgrain, and I'd push that machine hard.

  14. #13
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    Just after buying my first router I quickly ended up with 3 sets of bits

    One set was a 1/4" shank version to the current CT budget set.
    The second I won as a door prize to a woodies even which was similar to the current CT set .
    Number 3 was a mixed bag set of about 15 bits my bro gave to me along with his router as he was moving and decided to give me his tools.
    This set had a couple of larger round over bits which have been used more than all of the others.

    I have used 3-4 from each set and bent and mangled a couple but have still had to end up buying about another dozen more over the years.

  15. #14
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    I'm in the "buy OK quality bits as needed for specific tasks" camp. Brand of choice is Arden (from Aliexpress), or Huhao when what I need isn't available from Arden.

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by NZStu View Post
    I'm in the "buy OK quality bits as needed for specific tasks" camp. Brand of choice is Arden (from Aliexpress), or Huhao when what I need isn't available from Arden.
    You said "quality" and "Aliexpress" in the same sentence?
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