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formariz

Auger bits and their maintenance

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formariz

 The auger is in my opinion the best woodworking bit there is within their size range. Normal ones range from a #4 to a #16. That is 4/16' to 16/16". That is the standard designation of size for augers in 16ths of an inch although there are exceptions.

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There are also numerous varieties of augers but the most common ones are the Jennings Pattern on right and the Irwin Pattern on left.

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Unknown to many is also the fact they are usually specialized for softwoods or hardwoods, the difference being the threads in the screw one being coarse fast threaded for softwoods and one being fine threaded for hard woods. What the difference does is it changes the feed rate into the wood.

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Augers are also slightly narrower along their lengths than at the cutting edge to provide slight clearance as hole is drilled to avoid binding. Within their size range there is not anything else like them that provides a perfectly started hole with no tear out, the best chip ejection with no clogging whatsoever in their entire length ( try drilling a 6" deep hole with any other bit without frequently backing it out), and the ability to drill a hole up to 7-1/2" deep using a standard bit.
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With practice one can also drill up to 45 degree holes without any type of jig. The Jennings pattern bit is in itself a beautiful piece of engineering, a complete vintage set in their original case commanding serious money. Luckily unless one wants shiny new bits they can be picked up at most flea markets by the dozens for next to nothing. Most are able to be restored and used to their full potential. Just look out for badly pitted ones and ones with a broken screw.

Sharpening them is really simple. I use a few small files, small tapered triangular files are best for this,and hone them frequently with some ceramic slips. The honing part is not necessary for most , it is just my way of always maintaining them perfectly sharp.

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First sharpen cutting edges by holding file  flat on cutting edge removing material from the entire cutting edge. Avoid doing just the tip of the edge. Doing so eventually one starts reducing the distance from that edge to the spur which is important and also quickly loosing cutting edge. There is a limit to how far back that edge can be sharpened. Hone any burrs on the underside of edge.

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Next do the spurs again holding file tight to the whole length of spur. Avoid reducing the height of the spurs and keep them at the same height. Equal height is important . Drastically unequal spurs create a sort of pulling to one side as one turns brace.

Last just remove any burs very lightly from outside spurs. Keep flutes clean. I use a dry lubricant spray on them. Keeps them from rusting and helps in providing a slippery surface for chips.

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Edited by formariz
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Mows4three

Amazing!    Thanks for posting.  Lots of great information in your post.  I inherited a lot of drill bits from my grandfather and enjoy using his old Irwin pattern set that is still in the original box, like yours.   I’ll be making some spoon bits soon for some chairmaking I plan to get into.  

 

I have several auger bits that I’ve accumulated over the years and are mostly used for electrical work.   Some are suited for drilling horizontal holes in rafters or joists (short and stubby), and others for drilling long vertical holes in girders or built up beams.    

 

I just used used a Rigid NOS auger bit for the first time three weeks ago (bought it in 1995) when I put together a new anvil stand for an old Fisher anvil of mine.  It worked perfectly and almost effortlessly.

 

By the way, from the looks of the background in your pics, you must have quite a nice shop.  I just built a new wood shop and a blacksmith shop last summer in expectation of having it organized form my pending retirement in a few years.   

 

Cheers!

 

Dave

 

 

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formariz

@Mows4three Thank you. That's a very nice set up you have there. I particularly like the way you set he post vise .This way there are no obstructions whatsoever. How heavy is the Fisher? I recently started also dabbling with blacksmithing and should be getting my propane  furnace soon. Great design with all windows up top where they are needed. Is that Plastic all around? Looks like some stuff I used years ago forget right now what it is called. Used it for the roof of a greenhouse. About 3/4" thick webbed in the center.

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jabelman

So there might be hope for those old hole hog bits I use to drill deep into the stumps to help them rot!  

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formariz
12 minutes ago, jabelman said:

So there might be hope for those old hole hog bits I use to drill deep into the stumps to help them rot!  

Absolutely. 

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