I see a lot of router bits made in China — none branded — which appear to be bargains when it comes to price and appear to be well made. Are they a good buy or should I pass them by?
Rob Johnstone: My father used to tell me, “Buy the best you can afford and you will only cry once.” There is indeed a difference in the quality of steel, carbide and machining as you move from bit maker to bit maker. As with most things, the old saw: “you get what you pay for,” is true for router bits. The quality of steel, carbide and machining, along with the geometety of a router bit’s design, are all things that are hard for average Joe’s like you and me to evaluate. So the way that I make my first quality assessment is by looking at price. Then, when I use a bit, I do my second evaluation.
One question I ask myself with any tool purchase is: Am I going to be using this tool a lot, or just once or twice? If the answer is the former … I opt to spend more money on the tool; the latter, and I look for a bargain.