Skil 6 Piece Router Bit Set - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A good starter set for grooving and edge decoration


Skil 6 Piece Router Bit Set

This 6 piece router bit set consists of a 1/8" straight bit with a single flute, 1/4" and 1/2" straight bits with double flutes, a 1/4" core bit, 3/8" round over (with a 1/2" bearing), and a 5/32" Roman ogee (with a 3/8" bearing). Also included in the set is a spare 3/8" bearing and Allen key, and four detailed project plans. Everything fits into a snazzy wooden storage case.
All the bits have 1/4" shanks, which means they can be used in any fixed body or plunge router, or in a palm router. The type of carbide used is not specified, but I expect it is likely C2 or even possibly C3; premium grade bits are made of C4 micro grain carbide, which give a longer life and hold their cutting edge longer. The inserts on the 1/2" straight, round over and Roman ogee bits are 5/32" thick, those on the 1/4" straight and cove bits are 3/32" thick. The 1/8" straight bit appears to be made of solid carbide. The inserts look well brazed, chip free and are finely polished. I would imagine that, other than the 1/8" bit, you can, if so inclined, hone them once the cut quality begins to deteriorate somewhat. However, if they chip or when they no longer give a clean cut, toss them out - the cost of re-sharpening will be more than the original price of the bit.
I tried the bits on hardwood and MDF, and found that, apart form the 1/8" bit, they cut quite well. I couldn't discern any significant difference between a cut made by these Skil bits and my premium quality bits. Of course, the real test is how long the cutting edges will hold up. For the DIYer or home hobbyist who does occasional routing, they should give good service. The spare 3/8" bearing, by the way, can be used on the round over bit to obtain an alternate profile.

1/2" straight bit 
Roman ogee
The only bit I wasn't pleased with was the 1/8" straight bit, which has a 5/16" long single cutting edge. It cut fine at a depth of about 1/8"; routing to the full depth resulted in a lot of fuzz on the edges of the groove. I think a spiral up-cut bit would have been a better choice here. A spiral bit has two flutes ground around the body of the bit (as an added bonus, they smooth vibration by spreading the cutting action over a longer edge, and they are also better for plunge-cutting).  At 5/8" on the 1/4" bit and 3/4" on the 1/2" bit, I found the cutting depths somewhat shallow; most similar off-the-shelf bits I use are a minimum 1" long.
This set costs about $43, or an average of $7 per bit, which is pretty good value. There is a good choice of bits here for grooving and edge decoration, and on price alone, this offers good value in a starter set.
By the way, be careful taking the bits out of the plastic sleeves in the storage box; they're seated quite snugly. Best to wrap a scrap of material around the bit and pull it out with a vice grip. Once you clean up the shanks (a household cleaner like Simply Green works well), they should slip back in easily.



  • 1/4" shanks
  • 6 carbide bits: 1/8" straight (single flute), 1/4" and 1/2" straight (double flute), 1/4" core, 3/8" round over (with 1/2" bearing), 5/32" Roman ogee (with 3/8" bearing)
  • Wood storage box
  • Includes: spare 3/8" bearing, Allen key, four project plans

AVAILABLE FROM:Tool and equipment suppliers nationwide
MODEL #:91006

Carl Duguay, November 2009
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