Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Making holes in things.

Making holes in things.
I use my two cordless drills a lot when boatbuilding, one for pilot holes and the other as a powered screwdriver.  I have a friend who was an electrical engineer in the Merchant Navy and he tells me that if these had been around he’d still be at sea instead of teaching kids who don’t want to learn and rueing his occupational overuse sore wrists and forearms.
But drilling wood, especially small sized holes, tends to clog the drill bit which if one is not careful can break the bit off which then requires some work with a chisel ( which then requires grinding and sharpening to get the nick out of the edge after digging the broken drill bit end out ) to retrieve it.
The ordinary engineering twist drill is not intended for use in wood, they work, and like everyone else I use them most of the time, but the above problem is only one of the issues in using the wrong tool. 
Years ago I came across specialist brad pointed woodworking drill bits on boring machines, they had special chucks which is just as well or I’d have been collecting them for my own use,  but at that time I could not buy them to suit my own drills for love nor money.
Recently though, while they are uncommon  I’ve seen them about, even managed to buy the occasional one.  I use 1/8in (3.2mm) bits a lot, and had been working away using the last one in my collection and it was getting desperately blunt, when I was in a local hardware store looking for other things.  Thought I’d look at the drill stocks in the tool section just in case, and while asking the lovely young lady there if they had any of these things, then explaining in detail what it was that I wanted ( be polite! ) , and looking over the display with her we were interrupted by a gent who was obviously a trade rep restocking.
Turned out that Neil Palmer was the local Territory Manager for Robt Bosch, and like some of the other better power tool manufacturers Bosch are supplying an increasingly wide range of tooling and accessories for their tools.
Neil had heard my request, said he had samples in his car and went out to get same. He came back with a set of seven drill bits from 3 to 10 mm in 1mm steps, ( no 9mm one). We discussed the use, he noted that I was boatbuilding and showed me the new tooling range for their oscillating Multi Cutter tool.  He was keen to show me the titanium nitride coated saw blade which will cut wood infested with nails and screws, fiberglass, plastics, copper tubing and just about anything you’re likely to hit when doing repair and restoration work on an old boat.  If you’re like me of course you manage to do this when building something new as well.
Heres a link to the multitool itself. They do a cordless one as well.
He mentioned too that these fit Fein multi cutters as well!  Nice gear. I want one, but it has to wait until I’ve bought one of their new 14.4 volt cordless drills.
Back to drills, on asking how much, I was presented with the sample pack and told to go and try them.  Wow!  So I did.
These drill bits have a steeper flute than the engineering ones, the outside of the spiral being relief ground to reduce binding and lessen the chance of breaking the bit in a deep hole.  The point in the middle is longer (higher?  Something like that) than the usual ones which makes it easy to target, just put the point where you want the hole,  press and you’re on your way, no wandering.
They drill quickly and cleanly, much less breakout than the usual twist drills, and seem to hold their edge very well even when pushing through reinforced glue and plywood.
Nice work Robt Bosch, and thanks Neil.  Ten out of Ten.
I’m sure that your local Bosch stockist will be able to get these .

Yes I sound as though they are paying me, but I have several Bosch tools, their random orbital sanders in particular have had a terrible amount of abuse as had the angle grinder and they both do a good job and survive very well. These specialised woodworking drill bits are superb,  I’m a fan.
John Welsford


  1. The multi tools are amazing. It is really fun to plunge cut little slits straight down 2" in hardwood.

    I have just about given up on cordless electric drills. I go between an eggbeater drill and my brace when things are not done on the drill press.

    One of the best modern inventions is the replaceable screwdriver tip holders for a brace. Lee Valley carries some:


    The brace drives screws effortlessly. It provides unbelievable torque. If you are overly enthusiastic, you can easily rip the heads off of 3/8 in. lag screws.

    They also have a really wide selection of the brad point bits up to 20mm and 1" in "the other measurement system."

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