Author Topic: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?  (Read 9394 times)

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Offline Reiska

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What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« on: July 21, 2012, 05:59 PM »
I just realised that I have only random Black & Decker quality brad point drill sets from 1.5mm to 10mm and a couple of different length 20mm ones and now a single 25mm auger drill that I purchased for a gate handle installation yesterday. I also have a few different size Bahco hole saws for larger electric socket/switch bottom installation holes.

I'm wondering
- Are there notably better drill makes and/or types of drills for wood than the run off the mill B&D's and Boschs brad points to invest in? (Though the Colt Rotastop Maxicut forstners are way too expensive @ 50-100€/pcs [eek])
- Any sets you can recommend that would cover larger sizes than 10mm as well? Or would you recommend buying separate drills?
- Are forstner drills worth the money and can they be used as all round wood drills for sizes of 15-35mm (thinking about the Festool Centrotec Zobo set or the Famag 15 piece set on this site)?
- Where is the cut off for you in drill diameter before moving over to hole saws?

I guess the same rule of thumb of 'you never have too many drills' is valid as for clamps, but I'm looking for a 'complete set' of descent drills that cover ground between 1mm and 50mm (or what ever is the largest size my Panasonic 12V drill can handle).
The sky's the limit in my workshop, literally. [big grin]

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Offline jobsworth

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Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2012, 08:20 PM »
I view tools like drill bits etc as disposables/ throw aways.

I usually buy cheapone and throw them away as they wear out.
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Offline Alan m

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Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2012, 08:55 PM »
i tend to buy  bits from the lower end of the top section (of quality)  for the shop and the middle of the lower section for site use . site use usually doesnt require the same percision and they can be broken or stolen or lost a lot easier  there.
for brad point i would invest too much. for forsners i think you could invest a good bit and get good quality ones are they probably wont break and can be resharpened.
i dont think there is a point  size wise that you should change to a hole saw. it is more about the power of the drill. also the cordless wont drill a large forsner  but might a holsaw. holesaws arnt built for accuracy, they are great for rougher work where the finish of the wall of the hole isnt important
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Offline Jesse Cloud

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Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2012, 09:41 PM »
I don't know if they ship overseas, but Montana drill bits are fast and leave a clean hole.  They are darn close to the specified size, too.  Their motto is "Rips wood a new one."   [cool]  In addition, they are a bargain.

Rockler, and probably many others also sell a set that has multiple bits of several common sizes.  For instance, I use a lot of 1/8th inch bits, so I buy cheap ones in bulk.

I save my Festool bradpoints and Zobos for critical jobs.

Offline PaulMarcel

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Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2012, 12:15 AM »
I was going to chime in with Montana bits, but Jesse is more awake :)  They are nice; web site looks nice, but a bit annoying to order from.  Worth it, though.  Bridge City is kinda picky about stuff; they went with Montana bits with their CT-16 hand brace.

Like the others, I have a "value box" of bits for less exacting work, like pilot holes in house framing where I'm not sure if I'll hit some crud in the wall.
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Offline Reiska

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Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2012, 04:05 PM »
Bummer that Montana doesn't make metric sized bits (as far as I can tell from their website) and since I work exclusively in metric don't want to invest in anything imperial regardless how good value it might be.

Any similar reasonably good quality drill makes that are metric and available in Europe?

What I find frustrating is that you can buy a bazillion different 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10mm sets in boxes but then anything larger you are stuck with single drills from different makes that come in those plastic sleeves and then I never find them from the toolbox when I need a certain size nor do you find a replacement to a snapped drill that will fit in the box it was from (usually longer than the box).

How do you keep your drills in order? Make custom inserts for them? Have boxfulls of each size to choose from? Rummage through your toolboxes to find the right one?
The sky's the limit in my workshop, literally. [big grin]

Offline bpitch

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Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2012, 04:41 PM »
I am a no pro in any way, but a mere hobbyist who likes to drill  [smile]
Nevertheless,W.L. Fuller is a great company to deal with.
Their bits stay sharp, and variety they offer is immense. Metric sizes as well.
For one project of mine I required a specific 2 step drill, and from all manufacturers I have found they offered the best price and were willing to make just one of them versus many have a minimum of 5 drill bits to order.




Offline Guy Ashley

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Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2012, 04:59 PM »
Like most replies here, I have two sets based on site or workshop.

The same holds true for chisels, planes, rules, etc. I keep the good stuff, Festool Zobo's and brad bits for the workshop and cabinetry.

If you want a general good set, Axminster do a Colt set which is reasonable value.

http://www.axminster.co.uk/colt-twinland-lip-and-spur-wood-drill-bits-set-of-8-prod818252/ 
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Offline neeleman

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Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2012, 05:02 PM »
The best wood drills come from Famag, Colt and Fisch.
I use the Famag HSS-G 1599 long versions in Ø3+4+5+6x150 mm and they are absolutely fantastic.
They also come in lengths of 250 mm. But the Festool drill bits are also very good, but limited to Ø3+4+5+6+7+8+10 mm.
There is also a very nice box with sizes Ø1 to 10 mm in ½mm steps.
The best place for online shopping is Dieter Schmid
Although I can buy them cheaper in Holland.
I do store the larger Famag drills in a Festool Sortainer which has an outside depth of 295 mm.

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Offline Alex

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Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2012, 06:33 PM »
- Are there notably better drill makes and/or types of drills for wood than the run off the mill B&D's and Boschs brad points to invest in? (Though the Colt Rotastop Maxicut forstners are way too expensive @ 50-100€/pcs [eek])

B&D is crap, it's for the hobby market only. When you say Bosch, you don't say if you mean green Bosch or blue Bosch. Green is Bosch's hobby line and is just as crap as B&D, but the blue Bosch line is for professionals, and is very good. And VERY extensive. I wouldn't say blue Bosch is comparable to Famag quality, but it's not that far behind and good enough for any professional, let alone hobbyists. 

- Any sets you can recommend that would cover larger sizes than 10mm as well? Or would you recommend buying separate drills?

I have not seen much sets of professional quality with normal drills bits over 10 mm. Generally drill bit sets for wood go from 3 mm to 12 mm, and above that you simply buy seperate bits, depending on what you need at a given moment. Many people go with spade bits above 12 mm, unless you're drilling through construction beams. 

- Are forstner drills worth the money and can they be used as all round wood drills for sizes of 15-35mm

What is worth the money is in the eye of the beholder. Many people say Festools aren't worth their money because they're double the price of other brands. Of course many people think differently. I think the same applies to forstner bits. Of course they are worth their money, but because there are cheaper alternatives, it's up to each and every individual person to decide if they want to spend their money on them. For professionals it is easier to buy them because they have a bigger budget for tools. For hobbyists the high cost of forstner bits can be prohibitive.

- Where is the cut off for you in drill diameter before moving over to hole saws?

That's not the way to look at it. It depends on more factors than size only. As Alan said, the power of the drill is also an important factor, and so is the material you're sawing in. In sheet material I'd prefer a hole saw over a forstner bit (less tear out). But when the material gets thicker, a forstner bit comes in handier, especially when you're drilling into very thick beams. A hole saw only goes to a certain depth (5 or 6 cm).
 

Offline Kev

  • Posts: 7647
Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2012, 07:04 PM »
Make an early decision on whether you will sharpen drills or not and keep it in you strategy.

You're likely to end up with a variety of specialist bits ... Countersink, pocket hole, etc.

A drill sizing gauge is handy ... Something like: http://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/i.html?_nkw=STAINLESS+STEEL+METRIC+DRILL+SIZE+GAUGE+SIZING+GUIDE

Sets are always a cheap initial option - good for organization if you can buy replacements ... very good for hole saws as they're annoying loose.

Brand wise I have no ideas as our local offerings are very different (Festool aside, which I feel are pretty good).

Offline Reiska

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Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2012, 10:33 AM »
Alex: I've been using B&D Piranha Bullet -series drill bits mainly and some blue Bosch ones for the larger sizes like 20mm. For the record, I've never bought a single green Bosch powertool in my life and hopefully never will  [tongue] And as for price - well I tend to take the view of trying to purchase my tools only once i.e. not both the cheap and the good one - so I usually shop for way more expensive stuff than would be strictly speaking logical for my hobby use  [big grin]

Kev: With the Drill Doctor 750X sharpening gadget costing 300€ and working only with masonry bits that can be bought for 10€ a set of 10 pcs. I don't see that sort of sharpening very logical or cost effective. Now on the other hand when thinking of Forstner bits that can cost 50-100€ a piece sharpening them is a must, but what I found on the net it seems that those and brad point bits are best sharpened by hand with a thin diamond stone or chisel(?)

When I've been perusing the catalogue at Dieter's site the different sizes that Forstners and brad drills are offered in sets it seems that 10-12mm is about the cut off between brads and Forstners i.e. brads =< 12mm and Forstners >= 15mm.

Looking at the different descriptions for Famag/Colt/Fisch Forstners and comparing them to Festools Forstner set I seriously don't know which make to go with...

The only drill (machine) that I own with a Centrotec chuck is my CXS, which probably isn't the best drill for Forstners in the first place, but I guess one can use a Centrotec bit in a normal chuck too.

I find that the Bormax3 carbide kit sounds interesting for long tern durability (and it's on special as a kit), but lacks the interchangeable pilot drill tip option which is a feature in the Festool/Zobo ones. I noticed that Famag has a similar exchangeable tip Bormax variety, but it's not carbide tipped and more expensive than the Festool ones. And Colt has the plus version which is even more expensive since (at least Dieter doesn't carry) there isn't a package price for them and singularly they are royally expensive. The Colt has an interesting locking system for the extensions but otherwise they seem quite normal and Fisch ones are allegedly the easiest cutting and cheapest at the same time, but lack in extension capability.

And looking at the brad point drills the large Famag 19 piece set looks really good as well as the Colt FCE 7-piece set Colt FCE. Has anyone tried the Colt FCE's - do they really make a cleaner exit hole than other drills or is it just marketing speak? I've sometimes needed a clean hole on both sides and I've usually drilled from one side until the tip comes through and then drilled from the other side in using the tip hole as a pilot to get both surfaces nice and clean. If their bit really can do a clean cut on the reverse side in one go it would be alot faster...  [scratch chin]

Are there real quality or usability differences between Colt/Famag/Fisch/Zobo or could a purchase decision be based more on price/accessories than cut quality?
The sky's the limit in my workshop, literally. [big grin]

Offline fdengel

  • Posts: 853
Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2012, 02:35 PM »
Festool makes some great drill bits, but the range of sizes/styles is somewhat limited.

Offline RL

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Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2012, 09:23 PM »
Recently I have started using Lee Valley's brad point drill bits. A set of 7 from 1/8" to 1/2" costs about $50. They cut as well as the Festool Imperial set for less than half the price, although obviously they are not Centrotec. They are also available in metric sizes.

I also have the Festool brad point metric set and the general metric bit set, and these are good too but pricey. I acquired them with the centrotec 2010 set but would not buy them separately in future.

http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=42247&cat=1,180,42240

Reiska, with regard to your questions about forstner bits, you can buy bits up to 3" or 4" in diameter. The largest forstner bit I used in a handheld drill was about 2 1/2" and it was somewhat awkward- would have been better in a drill press. (Technically speaking, most bits over 1" are saw-tooth bits not Forstner bits but they perform more or less the same function.) The 35mm forstner bit is definitely very useful. I wouldn't use a forstner bit instead of a regular drill bit unless I wanted a flat-bottomed hole or had nothing else available.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2012, 09:55 PM by Richard Leon »

Offline jussi

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Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2012, 01:52 AM »
Alex, you know if you can buy the blue bosch bits in the US? 

Offline Alex

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Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2012, 04:45 AM »
Alex, you know if you can buy the blue bosch bits in the US? 

Sure you can.

http://www.boschtools.com/Products/Tools/Pages/BoschProductCategory.aspx?catid=1095

You can find a dealer under the "Where to Buy" tab. Amazon also carries them.

As far as I've came to understand Bosch only sells their professional line in the States.

Offline nickwlf

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Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2012, 02:28 PM »
Hi, i run the machine shop for W.L. Fuller and i personally hand-grind some of the brad point drills we make.  I urge any of you to try our bits and compare them.  We strive to make/distribute everything of the highest quality.  Like it was mentioned previously we have a wide range of sizes and can custom grind any size up to about 38mm (we stock 1-1/2" brads) and we resharpen bits too (including forstner bits).



I don't believe we do a whole lot of shipping out of North America but we have plenty of distributors.  Feel free to email me with any questions - nick@wlfuller.com

Some of our larger diameter sets:
   

Offline GregBradley

  • Posts: 192
Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2012, 10:17 PM »
The WL Fuller drill bits are excellent quality and reasonably priced. A perfect example of a quality US made product.

Festool bits are also excellent but only worth the price to me for the bits that I prefer in Centrotec.

Bosch Blue for professional and Bosch Green for homeowner is not something that applies to the United States. Bosch also owns Skil and sells mostly low end tools under that name. The Bosch pro quality tools in the US cover a wide range of quality. The lower end Bosch branded tools can be pretty low end. Skil is mostly below that.

Bosch also bought another US drill/tool manufacturer, Vermont American, which used to be comparable in quality to WL Fuller but Bosch has steadily brought that company's product down in quality.

Bosch Rotary Hammer bits are excellent.

Offline jussi

  • Posts: 255
Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #18 on: August 07, 2012, 11:11 AM »
HSS or Carbide bits?  What are functional differences?

Offline jdw101

  • Posts: 67
Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2017, 12:30 PM »
The best wood drills come from Famag, Colt and Fisch.
I use the Famag HSS-G 1599 long versions in Ø3+4+5+6x150 mm and they are absolutely fantastic.
They also come in lengths of 250 mm. But the Festool drill bits are also very good, but limited to Ø3+4+5+6+7+8+10 mm.
There is also a very nice box with sizes Ø1 to 10 mm in ½mm steps.
The best place for online shopping is Dieter Schmid
Although I can buy them cheaper in Holland.
I do store the larger Famag drills in a Festool Sortainer which has an outside depth of 295 mm.



Having used all the brands you like, I would have to chime in and say W.L. Fuller in my view is every bit as good, possibly better in some areas.  Just my .02

Offline John Bates

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Re: What drills do you use for wood and which sizes?
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2017, 01:24 PM »
I just realised that I have only random Black & Decker quality brad point drill sets from 1.5mm to 10mm and a couple of different length 20mm ones and now a single 25mm auger drill that I purchased for a gate handle installation yesterday. I also have a few different size Bahco hole saws for larger electric socket/switch bottom installation holes.

I'm wondering
- Are there notably better drill makes and/or types of drills for wood than the run off the mill B&D's and Boschs brad points to invest in? (Though the Colt Rotastop Maxicut forstners are way too expensive @ 50-100€/pcs [eek])
- Any sets you can recommend that would cover larger sizes than 10mm as well? Or would you recommend buying separate drills?

- Are forstner drills worth the money and can they be used as all round wood drills for sizes of 15-35mm (thinking about the Festool Centrotec Zobo set or the Famag 15 piece set on this site)?
- Where is the cut off for you in drill diameter before moving over to hole saws?

Colt MaxiCut go from 18.30 Eu upwards, if you would like a price for a certain size or range of sizes let me know.





I guess the same rule of thumb of 'you never have too many drills' is valid as for clamps, but I'm looking for a 'complete set' of descent drills that cover ground between 1mm and 50mm (or what ever is the largest size my Panasonic 12V drill can handle).
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