Using a good router bit is important whenever you start a woodworking project since it ensures that your end product has a good finishing and zero errors. In this article we are going to review MLCS router bits and also see how they stand against the very popular Freud and woodcraft router bits. The brand MLCS is a US brand which has been manufacturing routers, router bit set and other woodworking tools since a long time now.
If you are new and don’t know much about router bits, they are basically pieces that attach to your router enabling operations like cutting, drilling and engraving. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can even be custom ordered. Today, we will explore MLCS router bits.
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MLCS: A Major Player in the Woodwork Industry
Located in Huntingdon Valley Philadelphia MLCS Company Limited strives for excellence in the quality of their router bits. Born out of a burning frustration felt by woodworkers in the 1980’s, the company sought to fulfill the need for variety in router bit options. Therefore the business of MLCS centered around mail order router bit set.
With the years, the offerings have indeed grown. Now MLCS offers hundreds of router bit options geared towards solving any specific woodworking problem. After all, it is a company created for woodworkers, by woodworkers. Naturally, with the advent of technology MLCS was able to capitalise on the options available via the internet.
Customer service is of paramount importance and the catalog of products that they offer can be found on their website. In addition to the ease of selection, they also offer excellent technical support teams ready to advise you and walk you through the most effective selection to meet your individual needs.
In addition to router bits MLCS also offers a variety of drill bits, rail and stile, shaper cutters, Forster bits, tongue and groove router bit set and other unique woodworking supplies and accessories. You can see the passion for woodwork in their offerings.
Why should you choose MLCS router bits?
First off, let us be real. MLCS does not offer the best router bits in the market. That is not to say that their router bits are not best, it is just that there are better options out there. We will explore some of these options later on in this article.
You purchase router bit set based on your individual needs. Router bits and the decision to purchase them may be looked at in the same way that you look at batteries. Of course for sheer power and longevity, you would naturally invest in Duracell. However Duracell batteries are not recommended for a child’s toy, as the power may be too much for the often simple mechanics. You buy router bits based on your needs.
1. MLCS bits are perfect for beginners
MLCS offer a wide selection with flexibility and versatility in mind. They stand in a position to offer beginners the opportunity to learn, experiment and grow. You get to choose from many different shanks and different bit types.
2. MLCS router bits are not expensive.
Another aspect of these router bits sets from MLCS is that make them ideal for beginners is the affordability. What the company does is take a wholesale approach to their products which result in an overall reduction in cost when compared to other similar products. Because they are offered in sets of fifteen, thirty or sixty six pieces you will find that the per unit cost is lower than that of an individual bit. In other words, you get a whole set of bits for a lot less than if you had purchased bits separately.
3. MLCS router bits are sharp enough for soft woods.
Here we see the concept of quality. MLCS router bits have performed extremely well when one is working with softer wood. In fact, they work flawlessly. However if you are working with harder material you may want to look elsewhere. That is not to say that their router bits do not have acceptable results on harder wood. MLCS bits just may not offer the same fineness. On harder wood, you may have to cut the edges or utilize sanders for a perfect cut.
In all fairness however in some cases technique and skills plays a huge factor in the results.
4. MLCS router bits are carbide tipped.
These bits are carbide tipped, resulting in less vibration. This helps to preserve the longevity of the bits. The tips are in fact on par with those offered by bigger brands such as Whiteside or Freud.
1. Lack of Longevity
In our advantages, we mentioned the fact that their carbide tips allow the MLCS bits to last longer. However while they do retain their sharpness for a long period of time, other offerings in the market possess better longevity.
Again, the longevity of your bit may come down to technique. No matter how good or what brand a router bit is, technique is very important. One tip is to not rush a project. You can make several passes over a hollow for optimal results. That being said, under normal circumstances, these router bits on average do not last as long as the offerings from Freud or Whiteside. Especially Whiteside which are considered to be the industry leader when it comes to router bits.
Top 5 MLCS Router Bits Reviews
1. MLCS 8377
This fifteen piece is undoubtedly perfect for those who are just starting out. It has the perfect balance to get anyone acquainted with the art of using a router. With its variety, it will provide enough for simple tasks. This makes it a worthwhile investment for its price. Speaking of price, the MLCS 8377 retails for approximately USD$46.00.
In addition to the fifteen pieces, the set includes an Allen key which is ideal for adjustments. All of these are snugly placed in the wooden storage box (yes, a storage box is included.)
On amazon, the this product was reviewed over 450 times. Average customer review is 4.1 out of 5 stars.
2. MLCS 200
This offering takes a more wholesale approach. There are only three pieces as it is advertised as a starter set. However these three pieces serve a variety of purposes. The ¼ inch, ¾ inch and ½ inch shank’s pieces available here boast upwards shearing. This helps to remove sawdust and wood chips from the work area. It is priced at approximately USD$100.00.
This product was reviewed on Amazon fifty seven times. It has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
3. MLCS 6077
Like the 8377, this is also a 15 piece router bit set. It is another recommendation for those who are just starting out, as it offers fifteen diverse pieces in an attempt to cover most of your cutting needs.In addition to the bits, the MLCS 6077 comes with an Allen wrench a bearing and a sturdy wooden storage box. With all of this, it retails for an average price of USD$42.00.
On Amazon this product was reviewed 209 times. It currently has an average review score of 4.1 out of 5 stars.
4. MLCS 8781
Here, we have an individual bit with a specific purpose. It is encouraged that you purchase this to add to and enhance your current set. The manufacturer even goes as far to recommend that you pair the MLCS 8781 with a raised panel router bit for optimal results in raised panel doors. It is currently priced at approximately USD$50.00.
On Amazon, this product was reviewed 7 times. It has an average review score of 4.6 out of 5 stars.
5. MLCS 8369
Now here is an exercise in versatility. Just like the offerings available in the MLCS 6077 and MLCS 8377, it offers a variety of choices for your woodworking needs. However this bit set takes it up a notch with 30 pieces as opposed to the 15 offered by the other two. Just like the 8377, this set of bits are carbide tipped with all the advantages of this. This is the most ideal option for professionals and novices alike, as the sheer volume in choice is tailored to most of your cutting needs. On Amazon, it is priced at approximately USD$120.00.
This product was reviewed on Amazon 56 times. It has an average review of 4.3 out of 5 stars.
Interesting Read: 40 Cool Woodworking Projects
MLCS vs. Freud vs. Woodcraft
Ok. Here is where the debate gets interesting. Brand loyalty aside, we have to admit that some of these brands differ in quality. Naturally, most people agree that Freud and Whitecraft stand leaps and bounds ahead of MLCS in terms of quality. This is obviously reflected in the prices of these products, as Freud bits can be as much as three times the price of MLCS’s bits.
On the other end of the curve are Woodcrafts offerings. These are less expensive, but avid woodworkers agree that the cheapness of Woodcraft’s bits is also reflected in the quality. This does not mean that they do not have a place in the market. In fact, some people argue that they are on the same level of MLCS router bits.
It all comes down to your needs. If you value quality bits and you are willing to invest in that quality, all the experts agree that you should choose Freud’s products. However if you are on a budget, then you can find some value in MLCS or even Woodcraft’s bits.
MLCS router bits are going to be best for beginners and not for professionals. Precision is everything and routers are there to compliment your vision in that regard. MLCS provide sturdy bits that can arguably stand toe to toe with the high end offerings in the market but lack few details necessary for professional woodworkers.
Bits are not immortal and while MLCS’s router bit set may not possess the longevity of Freud’s offerings, they make up for this with versatility and affordability. Always remember that with proper technique you can get the maximum value out of your router bits.