American Made Router Bits
The other day Tom posted an answer to a question on the SawMill Creek website. A gentleman asked his fellow woodworking community their opinion on quality router bits. Like any woodworker he needed good quality at a fair price, preferably American Made with a warranty/guarantee. Tom’s response was as follows:
You can certainly buy cheaper router bits but you typically get what you pay for. Some router bits are made to be sold in big-box stores at low prices. Router bits, such as Whiteside Machine and Southeast Tools, are made to be used by master craftsman, cabinet shops, and industrial operations.
These are typically about the third router bit that somebody buys. The first is a cheap combo set people buy when they get their first cheap router. At least that is the way I did it a few decades ago. Then I went in and bought router bits individually, typically a mid-range router bit. These were okay because I was still learning. Finally, I got to a level where I could appreciate a good tool enough to see the difference it really made.
Whiteside Machine and Southeast Tool router bits cut better. One of the reasons is that they use a very fine grain carbide classified as sub-micron. Tungsten carbide is actually tungsten carbide grains cemented together with a metal. The smaller the grains are the smoother the edge can be.
Top end router bits are beautifully balanced so that they go round and round instead of wiggly, wiggly. The common term for a way unbalanced tool cut is ‘potato chipping’. When you see slow-motion videos of unbalanced tools, you can see that they move in more than one dimension. Besides going round and round they also wiggle and go up and down.
The best tools are made with a braze alloy that is about half silver. There are certainly much cheaper braze alloys. The high silver braze alloys hold the carbide onto the steel as well as providing impact protection.
A big reason that carbide gets dull and makes poor quality cuts is micro fracturing. As the parts are run, the edges get rougher and rougher. Typically, people only notice that the edges get rounder. Micro fracturing greatly increases the rate at which edges get rounder.
We sell Whiteside and Southeast. Our background is tools in industrial use. Both these companies make tools that give very long service life, allow for many resharpenings, and run reliably.
We sell everything with a 100%, lifetime, satisfaction guarantee.
Whiteside has a limit on how low a price we can charge for their tools and we charge the lowest price allowed. Southeast tool does not have a limit we can sell their tools for a little less.”
If you have bought or used either Whiteside or Southeast Tool router bits, please comment your experience below! Or, if you have any questions not addressed in this blog, feel free to contact us here, or by email.
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