I am in need of a few sizes of flat-bottomed holes.
The difference between HCS and HSS is well established, and worth the
extra few bucks to go to HSS.
But what about carbide?
Any sets you guys like? ( 1/4 - 1" in 1/8 increments would be fine.)
Lee Valley has a nice set.
Any other suggestions?
Thanks in advance
> I am in need of a few sizes of flat-bottomed holes.
> The difference between HCS and HSS is well established, and worth the
> extra few bucks to go to HSS.
> But what about carbide?
> Any sets you guys like? ( 1/4 - 1" in 1/8 increments would be fine.)
> Lee Valley has a nice set.
> Any other suggestions?
I have a set of Freud carbide forstner bits.
I wouldn't leave home without them.
SFWIW, the set comes with a 1-3/8 for 35mm hinges, but no 7/8 which I
Use HHS brad points below 1/2" except for the 1/4 & 3/8 which are Freud.
If you want very good brad point drills, find a supplier to the die
cutting industry such as gasket houses.
My landlord is a gasket maker & has some very neat brad point drills.
Robatoy (in firstname.lastname@example.org)
| I am in need of a few sizes of flat-bottomed holes.
| The difference between HCS and HSS is well established, and worth
| the extra few bucks to go to HSS.
| But what about carbide?
In my experience, Forstners tend to heat up pretty quickly. I've been
excruciatingly careful with mine to avoid burning - and have been
wishing that I'd bought a carbide-tipped set. (The HSS set I have came
from Woodcraft Supply.)
| Any sets you guys like? ( 1/4 - 1" in 1/8 increments would be fine.)
| Lee Valley has a nice set.
| Any other suggestions?
Nope. On the basis of other purchases from LV (especially their
carbide-tipped lipped brad point bits), I'd be inclined to go ahead
and order 'em from Lee Valley - that way if it turns out that you
don't like them, you can return the set without a lot of hassle.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
In the interest of full disclosure, I have only used the set I own, so
this is not a compare/contrast endorsement.
I've got a $20 7-pc set of "Columbian" brand Forsner bits, and they've
been going strong for about three years. They see a fair amount of
use, and most of the work I do is in hard maple, so I wouldn't
hesitate to buy them again. The cuts are smooth and clean, and they
don't seem to be dulling at all, so I don't see how spending more $$$
would be an improvement. IIRC, they are HSS with a TiN coating, but
they could be carbide- it's been a while since I threw the info that
came with them away.
A few notes on carbide in general, though- while it's very hard, and
doesn't dull easily, you're not going to be able to touch it up with
anything short of a diamond hone. It is also a grained material-
which means that it is tough in one direction, but fairly brittle in
the perpendicular direction. I'm sure they work out the best grain
direction when they manufacture the bits, but you had better be sure
your drill press is pretty steady- I know that when using carbide
taps, even the slightest side-to-side movement can snap even a fairly
stout tap very easily. Don't know about the forsner bits, but it's
something to consider.
For the cost of a high-end set, I think I'd go with the HSS, so that I
had the option to touch them up with a file if they get dull. But
then again, I'm awfully happy with the cheap set. They're perfectly
servicable, and when they do eventually wear out, $20 won't put me in
the poorhouse to replace them.
If you keep your eye on all the HF catalogs you receive... you can find
their 7 piece forstner set in Titanium for $7.95 and once in a while I find
them for $3.99... yes I did say $3.99. I usually buy 3 or four sets at that
price and after a few holes, I sell them at my next garage sale and open up
a new box!
Hobbyist Wood Worker
I'll second that. I got a cheapo set from HF a few years ago, planning
to replace them as soon as they wore out. I've been using them
semi-regularly since then, and have yet to wear them out! I did get
some of the HSS forstners from LV in my more commonly used sizes, and
they do cut cleaner and spin truer, but I find I'm more worried about
burning them, just because each bit cost more than my whole HF set.
When I need a really smooth or precise hole, I look for the LV bits,
but if I'm drilling through melamine-coated chipboard or something that
would tend to dull the bits, or if I just need a quick deepish hole for
doweling or countersinking or something, the HF bits are more than
adequate. Mine aren't even the gold-colored TiN. Maybe $5 for the
7-piece set IIRC?
Hope this helps,
I'd recommend carbide Forstners. I've got plenty of HSS Forstners,
but tend to heat up and in one case blued, resulting in no sharpness
at all. D*mn! That's when I learned about the carbide tipped ones.
That carbide replacement stays sharp. Well, as sharp as carbide gets.
I'm not sure, but it seems a little more heat resistant too.
In my experience with the HF set, they cut fine without a center hole
(using a drill press). Maybe I just got lucky and have a particularly
good cheap set, but I've never needed a pilot hole when using them in
my drill press.
Heck, you can put an adjustable "wing" hole saw in a drillpress and
get it to cut. But a good Forstner bit will work in a handheld drill,
even when there is no center hole. (It does need to get a small bite first.)
The ones I'm talking about have a circular cutting edge on the rim,
like shown here:
I bought a cheapo set on sale, and it doesn't have the cutting
rim. Instead it has a spur on the edge, like the Stanley PowerBore
bits. I HAVE to use the cheapos in a drillpress when I can't use a
center guide. Otherwise they walk all over the place.
The cheap ones I have are easier to sharpen, like the PowerBore bits.
Sharpening the rim-type is tricky.
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Rob, Nice to see you back!
To me, its all about what and how often I need a particular size and what
I'm drilling. I have several carbide forstners and several HSS (Freud) and
a whole slew of HCS for the occasional hole. I don't know the name of the
HCS set as they are quite old.
As you said you only needed a few flat bottom holes, If it good hardwood,
get a good HSS bit for the size, If its into particle board, get the
specific bit in carbide.
Unless you'll be doing production work with them I don't think I'd spend
the extra money for carbide. I'd opt for quality HSS. Fisch bits are
an excellent choice. See:
Buy GOOD bits, and _only_ the ones you need. The urge to get the "free" box
with the set is strong ... resist it you must!
We did just that a few years back during a machine-building frenzy; the GOOD
bits did their job, and are still sharp, but are only taking up a fraction
of the space the others would occupy had they been purchased. Not to
mention, the few needed good bits were less than the "inexpensive" sets.
BTW, how's your Sis?
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