The New Era of Auger Bits – Misplaced Artwork Press

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The WoodOwl augers make insanely clear holes (when used appropriately).

I like spade bits, and I’ll at all times suggest them for folks getting began in chairmaking. The bits are filth low-cost, broadly accessible, sharpenable and are simply personalized to do issues different bits can not.

However like many chairmakers, I’m at all times sport to attempt new drill bits. If somebody advised me there was a brand new drill bit comprised of arduous cheese and rat pelvises, I might purchase just a few to attempt.

For the previous couple of years, I’ve been working with a few of the “new” auger bits made by WoodOwl of Japan. Particularly, the Star-M Japanese F-Sort Auger Bit and the OverDrive bits.

These bits minimize shortly and cleanly and – insanely – depart a clear exit gap with none backing board. For the chairs I construct, it is a huge deal when drilling the holes between the armbow and the seat. With these bits I don’t must clamp backing boards to the armbow. And I can simply drill by the seat – making the joint between the sticks and the seat extremely robust with extra floor space and wedges.

The exit holes for each WoodOwl bits. So clear.

However the bits have a studying curve. As a result of the flutes alongside the physique of the bit are sharp, it’s important to preserve a gradual hand when freehand drilling, in any other case you’ll make bizarre overly elliptical holes. And you have to discover ways to begin them correctly. And to cope with what occurs when the minimize stalls. 

The OverDrive Bits

These bits are broadly accessible in the US. However after utilizing them for 16 months in chairmaking, I don’t suggest them for making chairs. The bit’s middle spur is simply too brief for something however shallow angles. 

Why is that this unhealthy? Angles larger than 12° or so are tough. You must begin the bit vertical then transfer into the proper (generally compound) angle. And also you might need solely a second or two to do that.

Wait, can’t you do that at “sloth pace” and ease into the minimize? No. The bits are (in my view) designed for use at excessive pace. When used at low speeds, they have an inclination to tear up the wooden. The OverDrives are nice bits for furnishings making the place the bit is 90° to the work and in a drill press. However for chairmaking? Cross.

OverDrive bits (left) and Star-M bits (proper).

The Star-M, F-Sorts

I purchase these bits from Workshop Heaven within the U.Okay. If they’re offered elsewhere I don’t know. However I haven’t discovered them within the U.S. These bits are much like the OverDrive bits, however the middle spur is radically completely different, which makes all of the distinction. 

The lengthy middle spur and cone-shaped tip permit you to use this bit at radical angles (although I might argue that you just shouldn’t do that and not using a stern warning, which is beneath). And due to the bit’s form you will get the bit settled into the work with sluggish rotations till you spin issues as much as full pace.

STERN WARNING: Once you use any bit at a radical angle, you are inclined to deliver the flutes into the chopping equation. With a standard auger, the flutes aren’t sharp, so it’s not an enormous deal. However with many fashionable augers, the flutes are pin-sharp. So it’s simple to make the outlet an elliptical mess when the flutes begin whacking on the rim of your gap.

Over the past couple years I’ve discovered that whereas the bits permit you to begin the outlet at a 40° angle, that’s a nasty concept. As you strategy 20° off vertical, the chance of the bit’s flutes making a large number of issues will increase radically. Keep below 20° off vertical, and also you’ll be OK (with a gradual hand).

When I’ve to angle the bit greater than 20°, I swap again to spade bits, which minimize slower and don’t are inclined to ream the outlet as a lot.

So listed below are just a few ideas for utilizing the Star-Ms.

  1. Begin the bit’s spur slowly (or make a divot with an axe to start out the bit). In any other case the bit can skate throughout the work when chopping compound angles.
  2. As quickly because the bit is began, run up the bit to full pace with out pushing the drill downward. The minimize will probably be cleaner.
  3. One you get to full pace, plunge in and let the bit decide your feed pace.
  4. The bits are delicate to adjustments in grain course (like once you laminate two boards collectively. And once you drill by the far face of the board). Regardless of how highly effective your drill is, the bit will generally stall. When this occurs, ease off on any downward stress on the drill. Run the bit as much as full pace with no downward stress then plunge gently once more.

The Star-Ms might be tough to seek out in inventory, notably within the 16mm (5/8”) dimension, which is widespread for chairmaking. However they’re well worth the effort and the wait.

— Christopher Schwarz

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