Buy a set of straight bits, and you’ll get four to six bits, each a different diameter, but each essentially the same. Carbide-tipped two-flute bits, 1″-long cutting edges perfectly aligned with the shank axis, identical shank diameters. The symmetry of the set is tidy, but what sort of woodworking does it reflect? It takes a working woodworker to break out of this mindset.
West Coast router guru Pat Warner is selling a straight bit set on his website www.patwarner.com. Warner selected four straight bits from the catalog of Paso Robles Carbide and bundled them with a mortise-cutting bit of his own design. With his set, you can rout mortises and tenons, cut grooves, dadoes and slots, joint on the router table, and do template-guide cuts.
“Each one is unique,” says Warner. “Not one of them looks like another. All were selected for their functionality, durability, deflection resistance, quality of cut, safety and the ability to be reground four or five times.”
The set includes:
– 1/4″ solid carbide, two-flute straight with a 3/4″ cutting length and a 2″ overall length
– 5/8″ carbide-tipped, two-flute downshear straight with a 1″ cutting length and a 3″ overall length
– .508″ carbide-tipped, two-flute mortiser with a 9/16″ cut length and a 3 1/2″ overall length. Warner calls it “a long, strong, short-fluted tool for deep excavations.”
– 1-1/8″ carbide-tipped, two-flute slow-upspiral with a 1 1/8″ cut length and a 3″ overall length
– 1-1/8″ carbide-tipped, two-flute slow-upspiral with a 1 5/8″ cut length and a 3 3/8″ overall length and a shank-mounted bearing
The set comes with Warner’s knowledgeable backup. His web site has information on applications for each bit, and a telephone call or e-mail will elicit “advice on safety, routable material, setup, practicality and general support.” Just don’t expect step-by-step guidance.