James Krenov, whose work and writings I admire, taught me how
to take ordinary HSS twist drill bits and make them into high quality
wood boring bits.
Master woodworker James Krenov says, "A simple way to make what we in
Europe call a cabinetmaker's drill is to regrind an ordinary
straight-shank metal drill. This may sound complicated but...you can
easily produce drills with a sharp center spur and very sharp,
clean-cutting edges." (The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking, page 133) A center
spur or brad point reduces the chance of error. I use my belt sander to
regrind my drills. Some supply houses are selling brad point drills in
slightly under and over sizes today. Years ago I had to make my own and
still do. It's much cheaper.
You can see a photograph of one resulting bit on page 31 of my free
downloadable book at
The availability of number and letter sized bits has really added to the
quality of my dowel joinery and I encourage anyone
to try Krenov's technique. The mass produced letter sized bits are cheap
and bore wood
very nicely with the simple regringing Krenov suggests.
john the toymaker
Spam? I'm a bit surprised. I thought I was talking about drill bits. I
thought long and hard about giving my woodworking book away for free. The
lessons learned in 4 decades of woodworking seemed like they might be
helpful to those new at the craft. I know Krenov's "A Cabinetmakers
Notebook" sure inspired and educated me 30 years ago and he didn't give it
away. I still recommend it to any woodworker I meet. Now, I'm not claiming
that my book approaches Krenov's in any way, probably wouldn't be free if
it did. Yet, should I keep my hard won lessons to myself? Might others end
up competing and taking my means of making a living? I'm not too worried I
guess. I'm always behind in my work and will no doubt retire before the
Chinese become real threats in fine toymaking, though those of you making
furniture better look for back up careers. I guess I'm fool enough to
always respond to questions I get about technique or sources of supply.
Seems only decent to help others in the craft.
(BTW- Krenov's homemade drill bits do work very well.)
Take a look at my book and see if there is good information there. It
really is free and beginners can use my experience to save lots of hard
knocks. The info presented can help on many projects and I would be
pleased to receive feedback to make it a better book. You must have read
where I offer full size rocking horse plans for sale. Am I wrong to ask
compensation if someone wants to benefit from my creative energy by using
my toy design? My attorney tells me this payment helps secure my
copyright. There seem lots of sites benevolently giving away free plans
(often mentioned in rec.woodworking). I can't as I am not independently
wealthy like they must be since they no doubt have no hidden revenue goals
in mind or their mention would call forth your accusation of spam. But,
you can use my book and their plans and likely make a fine horse and not
spend a nickle. You can have my hard won woodworking lessons for free.
But, my rocking horse design will cost you about the price of a
woodworking magazine, or a couple of stops at Starbucks, not that I think
rec.woodworking would be a profitable place for my marketing energies.
Most of what I see posted suggests a very frugal readership.
By the way, there is also a link on my site pointing to an article in the
New York Times. Please don't think that I am shilling for them and asking
you to subscribe.
Get a life! Enjoy the book! Or not! Its free! Don't buy the plans if
my need to protect my copyright or feed my family offends you. And
certainly don't venture further into my site where I actually ask folks to
buy my toys. Oh, the capitalistic evil!
john the toymaker
I was going to drop you a note via e-mail when I saw this ... figured one
good comment outweighs at least one bad comment!
I downloaded your book and I have to say I sat and read the whole thing
through ... AFTER I jumped to the brad-point drill bit information.
Nice writing style, easy to follow directions, and well laid out. Only one
photo encroached on the text but I could still make out what you were
getting at, so absolutely no complaints.
Now ... IF ever I should make any rocking horses it will be for the local
pre-schools (when I get the time ... sigh). I certainly know where I'll
start off. I missed the plans section on your website ... I'll have to go
back and take a second look.
Thank you for sharing your work and your knowledge.
I'm still trying to understand the constant tension between people looking
for free plans, and those complaining when someone provides them with a well
written, thoughtful set of plans, or a link to them (Hi JOAT). I don't know
... maybe it's because you're running a business (like Steve Knight, Tom
Planman, Rob Lee, Ron Hock and a host of others) and DARED to put a link to
your website (like some of them do) ... or perhaps MP was just having a bad
Anyway, don't let MP's comments speak for all of us. He certainly doesn't
speak for me on this subject.
I'm quite surprised when I see how few comments are generated on straight
information on the wreck, yet let an opinion out and it's discussed
endlessly (the word THRASHED comes to mind ... upper case letters and all).
To counter that, I've started what can be described as a sport ... one that
(a) plant a phrase in people's heads and see how often it turns up in
unrelated topics as a means of judging readership or
(b) absolutely KILL a running argument by posting facts. Guess I'll have to
(c) thoughtful thanks for outstanding deeds. Might work if people wouldn't
keep looking down, shuffling their feet and saying "oh gosh" and going the
Guess it's time to remember the following:
It is not necessary to understand things in order to argue about them --
Beaumarchais (LJ ... do you have this in a XXL?)
On Mon, 14 Feb 2005 20:29:34 GMT, the inscrutable "Rick"
Heh heh heh. With whom are you playing this sport, Rick?
Looks like fun.
Sure, I can make custom tees. $30 gets you any saying on the front or
back. What's your white/light color choice? (I don't do black tees.)
(P.S: I was skipping through/past this message when my vewwy own
initials caught my eye.)
VIRTUE...is its own punishment
http://www.diversify.com Website Applications
Mon, Feb 14, 2005, 8:29pm (EST+5) email@example.com
(Rick) waves wildly and calls out:
<snip>Hi JOAT <snip>
Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong.
- David Fasold
I agree. The info on drill bits was hardly the central topic and there was
nothing there but a picture of one stating that you can do it on your
beltsander for cheap.
Nice book, but wrong approach towards promoting it.
Look at all the publicity he got though. The book is FREE, so he didn't try
to sell anything that was not mentioned. IMO, the book is pretty good and
the author has a lot of time invested. So what if he happens to sell plans,
he gives a good start for free.
If Krenov taught you about spam, perhaps you should have paid closer
attention while he was talking instead of putting the pencils in your
ears and nose.
If someone responds to a question about left-handed widgets by posting a
website where one may purchase them is that SPAM? Not really,
especially if it's the site of a third party.
If someone posts a site showing an example of a drill bit that was
home-made and responsive to the topic of woodworking AND offers the
entire book from which the example comes for FREE, is that SPAM?
Only to someone who doesn't know what they are talking about, I think.
Bob - who has absolutely no confusion about this.
Why? If he had just promoted his book someone would have jumped on him about
I downloaded the book and it looks good to me. Of course, I am not a
professional woodworker, just a novice that has fun making a lot of saw dust
on the way to some fun projects. I've received some good advice and some
good opinions form some of you, and I guess I have been lucky enough (to
this point) not to sound stupid enough is some peoples minds to require some
of the venomous replies I have seen as evidenced in this thread.
Too bad this is becoming such a pain in the ass group to read and
Oh and JT, I'm sure there are a couple punctuations and spelling errors in
here to whine about.
To be precise, he's promoting the give-away.
Actually, he promoted a method for making your own brad-point bits,
but when I went to his site to read about I found nothing of the sort
which I found to be very annoying as I was hoping to see how to make
my own brad point bits.
He wasted my time, just like I'm wasting yours....
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