Carbitool budget bit kit
Review and photos: Raf Nathan
Carbitool have been making woodworking machine knives and router bits here in Australia for over 40 years. They have grown as a business since their beginnings in Melbourne and were recently taken over by another Australian company, Sutton Tools. Carbitool make almost everything in the way of router cutters, saw and planer blades, drills and countersinks. If you’re looking for high quality woodwork cutters, they have it all.
Budget and Carbitool cutters seated side by side in the author’s existing storage cabinet. Note the extra thickness of the carbide tip in the higher grade cutter.
They also sell imported budget priced carbide tipped cutters such as this 1/4" shank 12-piece router set. Router sets are not necessarily the best way to buy cutters as usually there are a few that you will never use. Apart from 90° and straight cutters (which I use a lot), I always find some cutter profiles look exciting but never actually see use, ever. Priced at $86.20, this set includes three straight bits, one core box bit, grooving, dovetail and flush trim bits. There are also cove, rounding-over, chamfer and Roman ogee bits.
One test involved trimming a box base flush on the router table.
Looking at the cost alone, this set works out to around $7 per cutter, an almost ridiculously low price. A fully professional grade Carbitool cutter of similar specs would cost around $40. This is fair enough if you are wanting cutters for professional level use, in other words rugged tools that will stay sharp for a long time.
So, with some trepidation, I trialled these cutters on a few small workshop jobs. Trimming flush hardwood was easy and fast, even though I pushed it a bit. Chamfering edges with the 45° bit gave a perfect result. Throughout my limited tests, I thought the results were excellent. There was no vibration in use and the performance was as I would expect from any router cutter.
Edges chamfered at 45° – a great result.
Obviously, at $7 per cutter, you can’t expect these to be used for high production jobs, they will blunt. However for one-off jobs I thought them very suitable, which is exactly what they are designed for.
Review router bit set supplied by Carbitool and available from www.carbitool.com.au
Raf Nathan is a woodworker based in Queensland and a regular contributor to Australian Wood Review.