Poor man's forstner bit - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 Old 01-22-2013, 05:52 PM Thread Starter
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Poor man's forstner bit

This is common sense really but some might not have thought of it, especially if you're new to woodworking.

A while ago, I was working on a small project that needed a few flat bottomed 1/4" holes drilled to recess some pan head screws. I just got a new drill press a week ago but have not bought any forstner bits for it yet. It occurred to me to throw a straight router bit into the chuck and just plunge the holes with it. It worked like a charm. I just set the chuck drilling depth and carefully plunged it right in.

Any plunge router would do this also, but set up would have been worrisome, not to mention the view would have been a lot more obstructed. The drill press left it wide open to see and all I had to do was move the board from mark to mark, plunge the hole, and move on again. As it happened, I was drilling straight sided wood so I could have used a router with an edge guide, but if this had been an irregular shaped piece that would not have been an option. So keep this in mind if you run into something like this. Router bits will work in a drill press on a limited basis.

Just thought any newbies here might appreciate that quick tip. I'm still a newbie myself in lots of ways so I was glad that idea occurred to me. Made things simple and fast.

Last edited by Duane Bledsoe; 01-22-2013 at 06:06 PM.
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post #2 of 16 Old 01-22-2013, 06:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Bledsoe View Post
This is common sense really but some might not have thought of it, especially if you're new to woodworking.

A while ago, I was working on a small project that needed a few flat bottomed 1/4" holes drilled to recess some pan head screws. I just got a new drill press a week ago but have not bought any forstner bits for it yet. It occurred to me to throw a straight router bit into the chuck and just plunge the holes with it. It worked like a charm. I just set the chuck drilling depth and carefully plunged it right in.

Any plunge router would do this also, but set up would have been worrisome, not to mention the view would have been a lot more obstructed. The drill press left it wide open to see and all I had to do was move the board from mark to mark, plunge the hole, and move on again. As it happened, I was drilling straight sided wood so I could have used a router with an edge guide, but if this had been an irregular shaped piece that would not have been an option. So keep this in mind if you run into something like this. Router bits will work in a drill press on a limited basis.

Just thought any newbies here might appreciate that quick tip. I'm still a newbie myself in lots of ways so I was glad that idea occurred to me. Made things simple and fast.
Hi Duane, not a bad tip. I've use router bits as well as carbide burrs in my drill press. I do need to point out that ANY straight bit will not work, especially if the hole is very deep. You may be able to get a fairly shallow counterbore from most straight bits but unless it is a bit designed for plunging, you may just end up with a burned up bit. Plunge cutting bits are designed with an extra cutting surface that extends completely across the bottom. Most standard bits leave a gap in the center. Amana is one of my favorite brand bits but they have one advertising ploy that irritates the out of me. They have a line of straight bits they call "plunge" bits which do not have the aforementioned cutter. Their claim to truth in advertising is that they are plunged in a "ramping" operation. This simply means you move the router while simultaneously plunging it down... That said, Amana is still a high end bit and I have been very impressed with their insert/replaceable blade lines.

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post #3 of 16 Old 01-22-2013, 08:00 PM
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I tried using my router bit that same way the other day and didn't work so well. So I went out and bought some forstners
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post #4 of 16 Old 01-22-2013, 08:08 PM Thread Starter
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I started to do this with my upcut bit since it is spiraled and I thought it might work for clearing the chips like a drill bit would. It's a 1/4 inch bit, and it has the cutters across the tip as well. But the pan heads of the screws were slightly too large for it so I actually went with one slightly larger, I think 5/16, and all I had for it was the straight bit. Since I wasn't going very deep I thought it would work, which it did, but I wondered about how well it would also since it was made like you described without the cutters going all the way across the tip.

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post #5 of 16 Old 01-22-2013, 09:49 PM
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Sometimes, you can get around the issue with non-plunge bits by drilling the hole first, then counterbore. This way you don't have to worry that it doesn't cut in the center, as long as it cuts to the edge of the hole. If you want a larger counterbore, you might be able to step up incrementally (1/4, then 3/8, then 1/2 for instance).
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post #6 of 16 Old 01-22-2013, 11:15 PM
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Ok - What happened Duane, is you used a spiral upcut to get your hole to to proper depth, found the diameter wasn't right and switched to a 5/16" to open the hole up. That was just cutting the edges with the 5/16" as Tman pointed out. I think if you try it again on a piece of scrap and starting with the regular, straight 5/16" bit you will see what we mean. You will likely end up with a circle, corresponding to the cutters around the circumference of the bit and a depth equal to the chip relief area beneath the cutters.
Spiral bits will always plunge, AFAIK.

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post #7 of 16 Old 01-23-2013, 12:42 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jschaben View Post
Ok - What happened Duane, is you used a spiral upcut to get your hole to to proper depth, found the diameter wasn't right and switched to a 5/16" to open the hole up. That was just cutting the edges with the 5/16" as Tman pointed out. I think if you try it again on a piece of scrap and starting with the regular, straight 5/16" bit you will see what we mean. You will likely end up with a circle, corresponding to the cutters around the circumference of the bit and a depth equal to the chip relief area beneath the cutters.
Spiral bits will always plunge, AFAIK.
Ok, I think I'm beginning to see. I originally had bored a 1/8 hole all the way through for the shank and threads of the screw. Then from the back side I needed a recess hole for the screw head. So I flipped the piece and centered the router bit on the predrilled hole to make the recess.

Before I used the bit on my work, first, I tried the spiral bit on scrap and found out it wasn't large enough. So I switched to the straight bit and tried it on the same scrap and it was the right size. So once I knew that, then I just drilled all 6 needed holes in my project piece with the straight bit. It went right in, but I will say I only went about 3/8 into the wood so it wasn't very deep. It must have worked better than I thought due to the pilot hole having the center already cleaned out, so in a sense, it did just simply enlarge the hole only.
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post #8 of 16 Old 01-23-2013, 01:13 AM
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Years ago I bought a set of 16 fostner bits at HF for $22. I have used them a good bit and can't complain especially for the price. I think this qualifies for a poor mans set.

I would like a better set. However after 7 years, I still haven't found the need to replace them with a more expensive set.
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post #9 of 16 Old 01-23-2013, 02:50 AM
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On another thread, the "hate my mortiser" one I believe, someone mentioned using a drill press to hog out most of the mortise then go to the mortise machine. I could see using the carbide spiral router bit in a press for that too.
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post #10 of 16 Old 01-23-2013, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by DST View Post
On another thread, the "hate my mortiser" one I believe, someone mentioned using a drill press to hog out most of the mortise then go to the mortise machine. I could see using the carbide spiral router bit in a press for that too.
Holy crap this is a great idea! i dont have an edge guide for my router, but ive got a fence on my drill press. Now, my press doesnt spin as fast as my router, obviously. whats the best way to do this? Just go slow and easy?
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post #11 of 16 Old 01-23-2013, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Masterofnone View Post
Holy crap this is a great idea! i dont have an edge guide for my router, but ive got a fence on my drill press. Now, my press doesnt spin as fast as my router, obviously. whats the best way to do this? Just go slow and easy?
I have a 5 speed press. I had mine on the second slowest speed and it cut right through the wood with ease. It was only pine but I'd say it had plenty of power for the job, even if I'd have had to bump up the speed which I didn't.

You can make an edge guide for your router with all thread and some straight wood and a few nuts and washers to tighten it all down with.

Last edited by Duane Bledsoe; 01-23-2013 at 01:55 PM.
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post #12 of 16 Old 01-23-2013, 01:37 PM
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You want to be careful with the drill press though because it's not built to handle the side-to-side loads. You would ideally want a mill for that, but not everyone has several thousands of dollars for it. I personally would be more comfortable buying the edge guide for my router. Otherwise, you run the risk of severely increasing the runout on your drillpress.
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post #13 of 16 Old 01-23-2013, 01:53 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JMartel View Post
You want to be careful with the drill press though because it's not built to handle the side-to-side loads. You would ideally want a mill for that, but not everyone has several thousands of dollars for it. I personally would be more comfortable buying the edge guide for my router. Otherwise, you run the risk of severely increasing the runout on your drillpress.
If by this you mean not to plunge the bit and then feed the wood, I agree. I'd plunge the bit and retract, then move the wood, then plunge again, to remove material in a mortise.
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post #14 of 16 Old 01-23-2013, 02:06 PM
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Got it. I thought you were feeding the wood into the bit.
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post #15 of 16 Old 01-23-2013, 04:33 PM
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Depending on stock thickness, size, and a few other factors, a router mortise jig can be ridiculously easy to make.
The one in the pic, I actually made to pop in a couple of dowels a few inches apart but the only difference would be whether you pop the router up and down or just down and run it's length. Made for 3/4" stock with a 3/4" guide bushing for centering.
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John

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post #16 of 16 Old 01-23-2013, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by jschaben View Post
Depending on stock thickness, size, and a few other factors, a router mortise jig can be ridiculously easy to make.
The one in the pic, I actually made to pop in a couple of dowels a few inches apart but the only difference would be whether you pop the router up and down or just down and run it's length. Made for 3/4" stock with a 3/4" guide bushing for centering.
That's a great jig idea too!
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