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Thread: Drill Bits

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Vancouver Island, Courtenay/Comox Valley, British Columbia

    Drill Bits

    Can someone explain to me when you use augur bits?

    And what kind of bit you use to make a, say, 1/2" hole for a bolt? A spade bit?

    Thanks a's quiet tonight, so I thought I should ask some questions.....since I have no life.....
    AKA Young Grasshopper Woodworker
    AKA The Rookie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Central Illinois
    An auger bit is used with a Brace (hand held Drill with a "U" shape) It is one of the earliest designs of a hand drill. They accomplish what a spade bit will, but at a slower speed, since you are using human power instead of electricity. You might consider it a "Green", Neander tool.

    They can drill fairly large holes, using a pilot screw to start the hole. Some of the bits are adjustable, to drill a variety of hole sizes.

    For drilling a 1/2" diameter hole, I would normally use a standard wood twist drill, but for a 1", I would get out either a spade bit of Forsner bit. I lean towards the Forsner because it is heavier duty.

    PS: Auger Bits with screw tips, should NEVER be used in a power drill.
    Last edited by Bruce Shiverdecker; 10-17-2010 at 05:09 PM.
    Bruce Shiverdecker - Retired Starving Artist ( No longer a Part timer at Woodcraft, Peoria, Il.)

    "The great thing about turning is that all you have to do is remove what's not needed and you have something beautiful. Nature does the hard part!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    Cynthia , I tend to use a lot of brad point bits, now depending on how I wanted to put the bolt on the piece I might use a large brad point to counter sink the head of the bolt and a smaller one to finish the hole.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
    Hi Cynthia,

    I have lots of drill bits. I even have one of the old "Brace" and a bunch of "Bits" (the brace being the hand operated crank that drills the hole by turning the bit). These auger bits have numbers like 4, 5, 8 etc. A four would be 4/16 ths inch in diameter, a five would be 5/16, an eight would be 8/16, etc. I also have adjustable bits up to 3 inch diameter...takes a fair amount of muscle.

    What I actually use are the "brad point bits" and what I would call regular drills. The regular drills are the same as used in drilling metal. Each has its advantages.

    Brad points have a very fine center point. If you want accuracy you can put that tiny point in the middle of your pencil dot and drill away to your hearts content. There is a great difference in how well different brad point drills work. Some of them are great. Some of them work OK only in warm butter.
    Good brad points make a clean cut into the wood's surface because each bit has little pointy cutters at the periphery.

    What I call the regular drills (wait a sec. I will get a catalog and see if they have a real name) are not as critical about quality. A poor drill will probably drill your hole---a poor brad point will just spin at the surface. A cheap drill will drill your hole, however it will get dull sooner.

    There are times I start with a brad point for accuracy and then change to a (I have not looked it up yet) regular drill for speed. "Twist Bits" is what Woodcraft calls them. Rockler does not have them in their catalog.

    I have a set of "power bits." Now that is exciting. You put a 3/4 inch bit in your electric drill. Then place it against the 2 x 4, pull the trigger and hold on. If you can hold on, you go through the 2 x 4 in about three seconds.

    Forstner bits make very clean edged, flat bottomed holes. These are great for making dog holes in your bench---IF YOU CAN GET THE BIT TO BE TRULY VERTICAL. To make my dog holes I used a 3/4 inch router bit and a plunge router.

    Back to Forstner: If I were to make a twelve-inch walnut clock face and use 3/4 inch round birch "dots" to mark the hours, I would use Forstner bits in a drill press. The dots would fit in like inlay work.

    My very favorite one inch and up set of Forstner bits was purchased from Grizzly. They cut very clean and too fast for me. The center point is a screw and it pulls the Forstner bit through the wood very fast. I drill a pilot hole the diameter of the screw and feed the bit with the drill press. If you get a set PM me and I will give you, or anyone else, the details. These are great Forstner bits.

    If you have any questions give me a pm.



    I have "hole saws" that make round holes up to five inches in diameter. Inexpensive, large hole saws (say 3 inches and up) can seldom drill over 3/4 inches deep. There are deeper hole saws available, however big ones that drill over 3/4 inch deep are really expensive. Harbor Freights has some, very useable, regular, hole saws that come in a set, the largest is several inches in diameter. Then entire set costs five or six bucks.
    Last edited by Jim C Bradley; 10-17-2010 at 05:28 AM.
    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    North West Indiana
    Wow Jim! I never put the numbers together with the denominator of 16 to actually know the specific size. Thanks! Wealth of information in your answer and it is greatly appreciated by me.

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    My left overs from the Neander days include several auger bits and braces. I have a couple augers welded to long rods for special (weird?) work.
    For end grain boring (1/2" and over) I prefer brad points.
    For most other work I sharpen my regular twists with split points and they work just fine.
    Sometimes nothing else will quite do the job and I reach for spade bits.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    S E Washington State
    Just a side a question. sometime in my long years of life I aquired an augur bit, old and rusty that is about 30" long and 1" dia. What would someone used that for? Drill a hole through a telephone pole?
    "We the People ......"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Douglass View Post
    Just a side a question. sometime in my long years of life I aquired an augur bit, old and rusty that is about 30" long and 1" dia. What would someone used that for? Drill a hole through a telephone pole?
    A lot of those were used for running wires, telephone and such, in existing homes.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  9. #9
    Looks like everybody has answered your question but Ill just warn you, stay away from bits that have a screw on the tip to pull it through the wood. This is nice if your running wires and have to drill 100 holes in 2x4s, but they dont cut cleanly and bind easily causing the drill the spin

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