Better router bits. Everyone needs them.

cmjohnson

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I've been using routers since I was a kid. I guess it's been close to 40 years since my first attempt at making neat holes in wood, which didn't go so well, of course. Who ever was good with a router at the first attempt?


My experiences with router bits have usually been frustrating. HSS bits are
OK for a few minutes and then they're dull and start burning wood.

Carbide tipped router bits last longer but their rate of material removal is slow.

I'm not just a luthier, (or at least, an experienced guitar building hobbyist) I'm also an amateur machinist.

For cutting aluminum, I've been using high helix solid carbide end mills in my milling machine for a long time.

Even accounting for the much lower RPM range, I noted that with good
end mills I can remove aluminum from the workpiece at rates comparable
to what I expect out of conventional brazed carbide router bits.

So I got curious one day and installed one of my 1/2 inch high helix solid carbide end mills in my Hitachi TR-12 plunge router and started to play
with the use of these end mills in wood.

Wow. Unbelievable improvement. The difference in the rate of material
removal has to be seen to be believed.

Since trying this once, I have never since then used anything BUT high
helix solid carbide end mills for any routing jobs IF I could find the end
mill design that suited my needs for guitar making.

They do cost more but they deliver bigger cuts with less force required,
give smoother finishes, and outlast your standard brazed carbide router bit many times over.

A limitation is that they aren't available with a bearing on the top end of them as it's rather difficult to tap or thread carbide.

I've also found that there are a few brands that work best. The absolute
best brand of end mill I've found for wood routing applications so far is the Ultratool brand. They have the sharpest and best polished edge of any I've yet found, and due to the very high grade of carbide they use, they also last a very long time.

G.W. Schulz is another top brand that I highly recommend but they're quite spendy.

Other good brands are SGS and Mastercut, to name two, but I have
had the best results so far with Ultratool and Schulz. But ANY decent brand will outperform your best Whiteside bit.

If you have not yet tried high helix carbide bits in your router, you owe
it to yourself to try them. You'll never go back.


CJ
 

pinefd

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Hey, CJ, after doing a quick search, I was having a hard time trying to find anyone who carries any of these top brands you mentioned. Would you have any links you can post to specific suppliers and/or products? Thanks!


Frank
 

cmjohnson

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Just search the brand names plus "end mills" and you'll find everything. It's what I do. I used to buy them direct from the local machine shop supply company in my area, but they closed their walk-in location and only drop ship orders now and I no longer deal with them.

I'll try to identify good suppliers and post them for you.
 

SG John

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I'm also a machinist, and couldn't agree more. Since they are always readily available, I tend to use DataFlute, OSG, and some grades of Weldon endmills.
 

Jay Jillard

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Lol, i actually work for a company that manufactures the highest end custom carbide endmills you can get. I design, program, and make these carbide router bits/drills/endmills.


it is a lot of fun, and i do agree that the right bit for the job is a big benefit. The company i work for mainly deals to people in the milling industry. We have very special geometries for things like aluminim, Stainless, Titanium, p20, and stuff. and do some other crazy special form tools for some companies.

I do agree, most bits like these will be hard to find a bearing version, and although we do them on custom jobs, those are usually crazy expensive or have large quantity orders.

my recomendation is to find a company like this who has standardized solid carbide endmills and then use them in conjunction with a router sleeve guide thing, instead of a bearing. I started doing this recently and love it. and very small solid carbide bits for inlay make life easier.


I wish the compony i work for made mroe woodworking tools. We used to make compression routers and stuff that i would have found really useful. But the metal working bits usually do a pretty good job on wood.



Just thought you guys here might find that kind of thing interesting. =]
 

cmjohnson

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Well, I sure find it interesting!

I will say that I think there is a limited but viable market for high helix carbide router bits for binding applications. Once someone sees how much less chipout you get with a high helix bit, he never wants to go back to a straight bit again.

Whomever designs and makes this kind of bit set will probably bring in a fair profit.

CJ
 

Jay Jillard

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its really not just the helix angle that determines how much tearout you get.

a lot of it is the rake angles, clearance angles, core size and the harmonics of the bit.

i usually use a high rake-low helix (10-15 degrees) 3 flute bit for a lot of things. a higher helix will usually give a nicer finish, but it doesn't always mean lower tear out.
 

lee1964

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Yeah Not really sure what the Helix bit is? but Here in Australia I use a lot off "Carbitools" solid carbide spiral down cut and compression bits. I also use some bits that just have a slight down shear.

They really are so much better than straight bits, I find cutting in to the grain an easy task all I do is slow down slightly I never do climbing cuts and tear out has almost been totally eradicated from My vocabulary.

I use them in hand held routers as well as My Pin Router

Lee
 

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