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Thread: Ratings of Forstner Bits

  1. #1
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    Ratings of Forstner Bits

    My close friend owns a cabinet shop and builds for customers with a lot of money. He told me that the best drill bits were ones sold by Lee Valley.

    I'm getting ready to buy a set of Forstner bits ranging from 1/4" to 3". It was puzzling to read the latest issue of FWW magazine. Their test of about 8 or 9 brands of Forstners didn't even include a representative product from Lee Valley.

    The winners were two German-made products sold through WoodCraft. Are these guys anti-Canadian, or do they know something I don't know?

    By the way, I'm looking at HSS for the material. I like to hone my tools with a diamond-impregnated paddle and the volume of my work is relatively low.

    Gary Curtis
    Northern California

  2. #2
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    I hear very good things about the LV brad point bits, but haven't heard much good or bad about the LV forstner bits. I have a few LV forstner bits but haven't used them enough to give you an opinion.

    If the volume of your work is low, almost any brand will work for you. In my opinion, the major difference is in lifespan. I have Freud, LV and MLCS bits and they all work fine.

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 05-15-2008 at 10:35 PM.
    Ancora imparo
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  3. #3
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    The LV bits are in the online extra:

    http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworki...line-extra.pdf

    If it is the article I am thinking of:

    (http://www.taunton.com/finewoodworking/ToolGuide/ToolGuidePDF.aspx?id=30232)

    they tested 18 brands and listed the top 9. Grizzly was the best value and Famag was best overall. I have to take FWW reviews with a grain of salt. There is a little too much opinion in them for me. There are a few standouts that have come under fire on a few forums. I'm not saying they are bad, they're just not the last word for me. I do factor them in to my other research.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
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  4. #4
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    I have a set of Fisch - about 25 years old - from 1/2 ~ 2" by eighths, and they've been excellent bits. They were considered the 'best available' when I bought them. I also have all the 1/16" increment bits in HSS for Lee Valley, and a few replacement bits for the Fisch ones that I've worn out. The Lee Valley bits are of excellent quality, and I actually prefer them over the Fisch.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  5. #5
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    Glenn, one of the FWW charts you posted must be an old issue. The March/April FWWing doesn't include Lee Valley. Nine other brands, two of which are carbide.

    Their Best Overall award went to Famag. Fisch was tested, but that might be Swiss. Can't imagine why they didn't include Lee Valley. I've tried their Brad Point drills. Great stuff.

    Gary

  6. #6
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    Just found the magazine reference to the second chart, published online only. So Lee Valley came out in the 'Also Ran' category. I notice that the winner -- Famag -- is about double the price for a 1/2 bit.

    And why no mention of CMT Forstners?

    Gary

  7. #7
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    Just found the magazine reference to the second chart, published online only. So Lee Valley came out in the 'Also Ran' category. I notice that the winner -- Famag -- is about double the price for a 1/2 bit.

    And why no mention of CMT Forstners?

    Gary

  8. #8
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    Gary, I have a set of Lee Valley Forstner bits and am happy with them. They don't get used a lot, but when I have used them, they have performed well. But, I have never used Forstner bits from another source, so I have nothing to compare them to.
    Cheers, Frank

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gary curtis View Post
    Just found the magazine reference to the second chart, published online only. So Lee Valley came out in the 'Also Ran' category. I notice that the winner -- Famag -- is about double the price for a 1/2 bit.

    And why no mention of CMT Forstners?

    Gary

    Yeah, interesting that the online articles both reference issue 197 March/April 2008. I guess if you only get the hardcopy you don't get to see the rest(?) On the other hand I guess showing the top 9 and saving mag space for other stuff makes sense too .

    I imagine the Famags are good but I have and good luck with lesser bits. I notice a few folks have used the LV bits and been happy. I run some Freud and have good results. I also have run some cheap-o Woodcraft bits (set of 7 for $20 IIRC) for a couple years and if treated kindly they do pretty well. If I was cranking on my bits all day long it would certainly make sense to spend more up front for longer life between sharpening.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 05-16-2008 at 04:22 PM.
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