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  • Need Advice On Forstner Bits!

    Hi Folks!!

    It's been a while since I've posted here!

    I'm planning a project where I need to bore 3 3/4" to 4" flat holes into some barrel staves. Ok, you know what I'm making!! I'm assuming the forstner bit is the tool for this? I have a bench mounted Delta drill press with a 1/2 chuck, it's pretty stout. I'm going to try and make a rig out of plywood to hold the stave level and horizontal in the press.

    So, what are your forstner bits of choice? I've looked at a few websites and these sizes seem to be ranging from $30 to $50 dollars?

    Thanks!
    Routerman

  • #2
    When it comes to Forstner bits, it's a lot like router bits. Name brands, such as Amana, CMT & Freud, are usually better quality and higher priced. If the bit will have infrequent usage, then you can get a way with a cheaper one. I bought a generic set from Grizzly many years ago and frankly, it was fairly cheap, but I've gotten good service from them and am still using them. There is probably a good argument to be made that it's better to buy higher quality in the very large bits, in that they are removing so much material, you really need a clean cut, compared to say a 1/2" size.
    Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

    Comment


    • #3
      If you don't need a real smooth sided cut I would get a hole saw instead of the Forstner bit.
      Less material removed and easier on the drill press.
      A lot cheaper too for a one time thing.
      Tom(tas2181)

      "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. ...[They] justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."
      -T. S. Elliot

      Comment


      • #4
        With a name like routerman I'm suprised you have not built a router sled to do this job. With a template you could control the diameter of the hole and avoid the small center hole and slight depression on the Dia. that a fostner bit leaves. If you have a couple of flat bottom router bits it will save buying a fostner bit.

        Tom

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by tas2181 View Post
          If you don't need a real smooth sided cut I would get a hole saw instead of the Forstner bit.
          Less material removed and easier on the drill press.
          A lot cheaper too for a one time thing.
          I had given that a thought but I need to bore a flat bottom hole.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Tom J. View Post
            With a name like routerman I'm suprised you have not built a router sled to do this job. With a template you could control the diameter of the hole and avoid the small center hole and slight depression on the Dia. that a fostner bit leaves. If you have a couple of flat bottom router bits it will save buying a fostner bit.

            Tom
            It would be fairly easy to set up a rig for this but the barrel staves are arched and the hole needs to plunge in a vertical fashion when the stave is standing on its ends with the arch up. I thought that it might be easier to do in the drill press.

            I have a router and use it once in a while. It's always been the scariest tool I've owned so I picked RouterMan Tenfingers as my handle for this forum as a joke!!

            Comment


            • #7
              I was thinking the jig you were going to make to hold the staves for the drill press would also hold them for the router.

              Having explained the name I understand your respect for a router and perhaps the Fostner bit is the way for you to go.

              Cheap Fostner bits will likely give your rough edges due to tear out. A good Fostner bit should have a slight spur at the circumferance to cut the wood before the blade portion starts to remove the center material.

              Tom

              Comment


              • #8
                Sorry I misinterpreted what you were doing, thought the holes would be through the wood. If you are needing the flat bottom, a forstner bit is the way to go.
                Tom(tas2181)

                "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. ...[They] justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."
                -T. S. Elliot

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tom J. View Post
                  I was thinking the jig you were going to make to hold the staves for the drill press would also hold them for the router.

                  Having explained the name I understand your respect for a router and perhaps the Fostner bit is the way for you to go.

                  Cheap Fostner bits will likely give your rough edges due to tear out. A good Fostner bit should have a slight spur at the circumferance to cut the wood before the blade portion starts to remove the center material.

                  Tom
                  I stopped at my local lowes and hd on the way home. Hd had milwaukee but nothing near 3 1/2 to 4 inch, which is what I'll need. I've seen the bits with the teeth around the edge on-line everywhere. Any thoughts on a good brand? I'd rather get good ones as I'm cutting into oak.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Personally I only have a cheap set so I can't really recommend by brand name. I have purchased a coupl of better ones from these folk and have been happy with them. They also have up to 4in Dia.

                    HCS Forstner & Saw Tooth Bits - Lee Valley Tools

                    Tom

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tom J. View Post
                      Personally I only have a cheap set so I can't really recommend by brand name. I have purchased a coupl of better ones from these folk and have been happy with them. They also have up to 4in Dia.

                      HCS Forstner & Saw Tooth Bits - Lee Valley Tools

                      Tom
                      Thanks Tom. Seeing as this seems to be the one site that has both 3 3/4 and 4"bits I'll probably get them fom here. They look like decent bits. Thanks again.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Routerman,
                        Here is another site that has the larger sizes of forstner bits.
                        Individual Forstner High Quality Steel Bits
                        Tom(tas2181)

                        "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. ...[They] justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves."
                        -T. S. Elliot

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I'm not sure what you're trying to make - but would it be possible to split the thickness of the wood into 2 pieces glued together to match the desired thickness of the finished product. That way, you could cut your desired hole into a thinner piece of wood, glue it onto another undrilled to make the desired thickness of the finished product. I've done thing like this before and if you're careful about the selection of the pieces, by choosing matching grains, they appear as 1 piece of wood.
                          It's never hot or cold in NH, it's always seasonal!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            My father and i used to make quite a bit of wine and where we purchased the barrels from they did not have holes in them. So we would build a rack to hold the barrel and then select the best looking stave. Then we used the old school method of a bit and brace to make the barrel opening. We had a one of those auger type bits and yes it took some armstrong effort. Once the barrel hole was made we would pour about a 1/2 bottle of ever clear into the barrel and slouch it around a bit and burn the inside of the barrel. Then we rinsed the ashes out of the barrel. we then filled the barrel with water for 24 hours or over night to get it to swell. The next day we would pour the wine in and put in a barrel plug with vapor lock. Once the vapor lock showed that fermentation was done we changed the plug to a solid one and let it age for a year before we opened it again. Usually worked well.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If you don't have to drill too many holes, you might try a mix of machine and hand work. Start with a hole saw to define the edge and set the depth, then chisel out the remained. You can ease the burden by drilling out the waste at the center with a "small" Forstner bit (say 1 3/4").

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