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Thread: Review Wood Owl Drill bits

  1. #1
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    Review Wood Owl Drill bits

    I just spent a week at a chair making class at Country Workshops where we had the opportunity to use several bits for drilling those difficult holes for Irish Stick/Windsor chairs. The particularly hard job was drilling 3/4" holes 1 1/2" deep in kiln dried oak chair backs at precise angles. The LV green wood bits and other auger bits were painfully slow, needed to constantly be sharpened and would over heat very quickly making them dangerous to touch. The frustrating thing about drilling the holes for these chair seats and arms is they need to be placed precisely in very hard wood. Holding a bit precisely on a sight line and resultant angle is not easy. Holding the bit along both planes, applying large amounts of pressure for more than a few seconds can be very challenging.

    We finally decided to try the Wood Owl Ultra Smooth bit I had and the difference was amazing. The work was all of a sudden practically effortless. We did three chairs with the one bit with no problems dulling the three spurs or spirals. Probably the most impressive thing was the bit was much cooler after drilling an entire hole than the other bits were after just piercing the surface. Another benefit of these bits is they are so precisely made and hard to bend they produced very precise holes. The lead screw on the bit worked exceptionally well at engaging in a hand awl punched hole, keeping the bit on track, even when powered by a corded heavy duty electric drill. The lead screw never lost purchase or spun in place. We actually had to reverse the drill to back the screw out of the wood.

    I was a fan of these bits before my class. All the students and our instructor were very impressed especially when they found how reasonably priced these bits are compared to other auger bits.

  2. #2
    This is a great nugget of info. Thanks. Duly filing it away.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prashun Patel View Post
    This is a great nugget of info. Thanks. Duly filing it away.
    Yes and doing the same.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  4. #4
    Chris Schwarz has been singing their praises for at least the last two years.

    Interestingly his March 11, 2015 Lost Arts Press blog, regarding his chair building toolkit, mentions them specifically.

  5. #5
    I looked at those, but was not sure how to sharpen them. Are they sharpen-able?

  6. #6
    I used long Wood Owl auger bits extensively when I was timber framing. They were vastly superior to any other brand that we used.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Reinis Kanders View Post
    I looked at those, but was not sure how to sharpen them. Are they sharpen-able?
    Yes, they can be sharpened.
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  8. #8
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    Just took a class with Schwarz at Highland Woodworking a few weeks ago. I believe the Wood Owls Chris has are the Nail Chipper Tri Cuts. I tried a Nail Chipper and it works well in an electric drill but can make a mess of a nice surface with a slower brace. The Nail Chipper has three cutting surfaces but there are no spurs as this bit is designed to cut through anything, including nails. I think this is why Chris used classic auger bits with spurs to drill the holes in the 8/4 poplar boards for our class. The Ultra Smooth has a spur on each of the three cutting surfaces which makes a nice clean entry without chipping.

    Another fine woodworking tool from Miki City Japan.

  9. #9
    I happened on one in 2010 when building my roubo. Great drill bit. I used it for the 3/4 in holes in my 4 in thick Roubo top and they were all clean. I think that is partly why my gramercy hold fasts work so well.
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  10. #10
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    + 1 on the Wood Owl Ultra Smooth Tri-Cut Auger Bits. No backing board was required on the underside of the workbench. I would recommend you take the time to make up a simple pilot hole jig, and clamp it down securely to the workbench surface before you start boring your holdfast holes. These bits have a tendency to bite hard. As such I wouldn't recommend a high speed drill for this job task.







    Last edited by Stewie Simpson; 12-08-2017 at 4:43 AM.

  11. #11
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    Good looking bit. Thanks for the heads up.
    Doesn't this chair making class use a clamped drill jig for each hole to be drilled, or is it a visual alignment approach to train one in drilling at an angle?
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    Shouldn't dog holes have a slight 'lean' to them toward the vise?

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  13. #13
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    Jim, I'm probably all wet but I thought the dogs had the angle to "lean in" toward the clamping device, not the holes????
    Chet

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chet R Parks View Post
    Jim, I'm probably all wet but I thought the dogs had the angle to "lean in" toward the clamping device, not the holes????
    Chet
    My round dogs do have the tops cut at an angle. Maybe it is rectangular dog holes that are cut with a bias toward the vise.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  15. #15
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    Jim, Derek drilled his dog holes in his bench 2 degrees toward vise.

    http://www.inthewoodshop.com/ShopMadeTools/BuidingaBench2.html


    Al, different instructors use slightly different mehods to drill the holes for spindles, legs, arm rests etc.. The holes may be at different angles, so a jig may not work unless you make enough to have one for each angle required. The most common method is to use a sguare, 90 degrees, on the “sight line” and a bevel gauge set at the correct angle 90 degrees from the square. The tricky part is keeping the bit in the correct plane to the square and bevel gauge at the same time. Yes, it is a little complicated. Good chair plans show exact angles, to a “sight line” for all the: spindle, arm, legs....The sight line concept is much easier to understand once you have seen it in person. Schwarz, Peter Galbert and Drew Langsner explain it, with illustrafions in their books. Pete uses a mirror to help students see both the bevel gauge and square at the same time.
    Last edited by Mike Holbrook; 12-11-2017 at 2:33 AM.

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