Wise Buys: Forstner Bit Sets
Why buy? A workshop needs several types of drill bits: Standard twist, brad-point, and Forstner bits. The first two drill holes primarily 1/2" or less in diameter. But Forstner bits create holes from 1/4" to greater than 4". These bits not only bore clean, precise holes, but they also excel at angled holes and counterbores, and leave flat bottoms ideal for inserting European-style cup hinges, chair stretchers and spindles, or commemorative coins. Although you can use them in a handheld drill, for safety and best results we suggest using 1" or larger bits in a slow-running drill press, with your workpiece clamped to the table. After testing eight boxed sets of Forstners, we recommend these three, which all feature printed or imbedded diameter markings on the shaft--our preference--because markings near the ends tend to wear over time due to slippage in the chuck.
16 bits: 1/4" to 2-1/8" in 1/8" increments
Before testing this set, I used a generic, inexpensive set of Forstner bits in my shop, and got along fine. But what a difference when I began using Freud's Italian-made bits! It's amazing how my ordinary, cheap bits lulled me into accepting a little tear-out here or a little burning there. With a unique wavy-edge rim design, these bits never tore out any of the woods that I used for testing, including pesky veneered plywood and MDF. The wavy edges cut so smoothly and cleanly and required so little effort that it surprised me. They also cut flawlessly on angled-entry holes.
--Tested by Chuck Hedlund
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