This edition of the woodworking tip of the week is all about Forstner bits. Forstner bits are a special kind of drill bit that is made especially for wide diameter holes. They also drill with clean perpendicular sides, and leave clean holes. If you do a lot of drilling, there are advantages to using Forstner bits.
Twist bits can betray you. Unless you are using a drill press, and have a small indent for the bit to use as a starting point, they can walk. Drill bit walk simply means that the drill can move as it enters the surface.
This can do a couple things. It can enlarge the hole at the top, making a hole with differing diameters. While this doesn’t sound terrible for assembly work, its a disaster if you are trying to drill for a round inlay like a homemade fret dot.
A twist bit that walks can also miss the mark, moving the location of the hole slightly. Again, this may not be a huge issue. However, if you measured for a centered hole, it will now be off center.
Forstner bits are one way to solve this problem. I discovered Forstner bits after several years of woodworking. They come in several sizes, and can be found up to a few inches in diameter. They operate like any other drill bit, but with several distinct advantages.
Forstner bits have a center point that helps the bit guide well. It penetrates the surface easily, ensuring that the bit enters the wood exactly as intended. This makes drilling precise projects like when making wooden rings much easier.
These bits also leave perfectly straight and smooth sides, because they remove wood from the bottom of the hole as they drill. The nice straight sides are perfect for inlay work. If you are working with round inlays, Forstner bits leave perfect cavities.
There are a number of great Forstner bit sets available online, and they can also be found in most hardware stores. Try out a set the next time you are working in the shop. You will be happy with the results, as well as the ease of use.
If you have any questions about Forstner Bits, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Also, please share my work with your friends on Pinterest! Happy building.
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