Why use a forstner bit over a spade? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 12-22-2012, 09:24 PM Thread Starter
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Why use a forstner bit over a spade?

Doesn't a forstner bit do the same thing as a spade bit?
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post #2 of 26 Old 12-22-2012, 09:29 PM
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Yup

They both make holes. A spade or paddle bit is about like a chainsaw, where a Fortsner bit is more like a table saw with a good blade. If you just need a hole, not very precise and spade bit will do, but if you need a consistent diameter hole with smooth sides, use the Fortsner.
If you are running wires through floor joists, that might be were you would use a spade bit. If you are making holes for dowels or round tenons that's where the Forstner would be best.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 26 Old 12-22-2012, 09:32 PM
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+1 to Woodntuings. The smooth outside edge of a forstner bit h
keeps the bit centered and prevents wobbling and walking, as a spade bit is prone to do.

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post #4 of 26 Old 12-22-2012, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Bledsoe View Post
Doesn't a forstner bit do the same thing as a spade bit?
They both make flat bottom holes per se. The spade bit creates a much rougher cut. A spade bit will likely have a longer and wider pilot spur in the center than a Forstner bit.





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post #5 of 26 Old 12-22-2012, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Can you use a forstner bit in a hand held drill, or are they too heavy?
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post #6 of 26 Old 12-22-2012, 10:02 PM
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Sure

No they are not heavy. They are study compared to a spade bit but the difference in weight is minor.
There are different types of Forstners. Some have a saw tooth around the edge, others just have a single or twin cutters that remove material from the bottom of the hole.


Here's some examples:
http://www.amazon.com/Steelex-D3647-4-Inch-Heavy-Forstner/dp/B003GUFDCQ/ref=sr_1_7?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1356260472&sr=1-7&keywords=forstner+bits
http://www.amazon.com/Steelex-D3647-4-Inch-Heavy-Forstner/dp/B003GUFDCQ/ref=sr_1_7?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1356260472&sr=1-7&keywords=forstner+bits

  • http://www.amazon.com/Steelex-D3647-4-Inch-Heavy-Forstner/dp/B003GUFDCQ/ref=sr_1_7?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1356260472&sr=1-7&keywords=forstner+bits
  • Order in the next 29 hours and get it by Wednesday, Dec 26.
  • Only 3 left in stock - order soon.
  • Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping.


http://www.amazon.com/Steelex-D1004-Forstner-Bit/dp/B0000DD0II/ref=sr_1_8?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1356260472&sr=1-8&keywords=forstner+bits
http://www.amazon.com/Steelex-D1004-Forstner-Bit/dp/B0000DD0II/ref=sr_1_8?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1356260472&sr=1-8&keywords=forstner+bits

  • http://www.amazon.com/Steelex-D1004-Forstner-Bit/dp/B0000DD0II/ref=sr_1_8?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1356260472&sr=1-8&keywords=forstner+bits
  • Order in the next 29 hours and get it by Wednesday, Dec 26.
  • Only 2 left in stock - order soon.
  • Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping.
  • More Buying Choices
  • http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/B0000DD0II/ref=sr_1_8_olp?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1356260472&sr=1-8&keywords=forstner+bits&condition=new


http://www.amazon.com/Fish-040002500-Universal-Speedcutter-Forstner/dp/B000VCZJXU/ref=sr_1_9?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1356260472&sr=1-9&keywords=forstner+bits http://www.amazon.com/Fish-040002500-Universal-Speedcutter-Forstner/dp/B000VCZJXU/ref=sr_1_9_m?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1356260472&sr=1-9&keywords=forstner+bits
http://www.amazon.com/Fish-040002500-Universal-Speedcutter-Forstner/dp/B000VCZJXU/ref=sr_1_9?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1356260472&sr=1-9&keywords=forstner+bits

  • http://www.amazon.com/Fish-040002500-Universal-Speedcutter-Forstner/dp/B000VCZJXU/ref=sr_1_9?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1356260472&sr=1-9&keywords=forstner+bits
  • Order in the next 29 hours and get it by Wednesday, Dec 26.
  • Only 16 left in stock - order soon.
  • Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping.
  • (http://www.amazon.com/Fish-040002500-Universal-Speedcutter-Forstner/product-reviews/B000VCZJXU/ref=sr_1_9_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1)


What are you wanting to drill and what material and how large or small a hole...

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 12-23-2012 at 06:03 AM.
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post #7 of 26 Old 12-23-2012, 01:35 AM
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Like what has been said. A forstner bit will give you smooth sides and a smooth bottom hole.
Spade bits are more for that not so clean or a rough cut into studs for wiring or plumbing.
Spade bits are more aggressive than forstner bits. Ask chaincarver Steve. Lol

Why use a forstner bit over a spade?-image-2245874597.jpg

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post #8 of 26 Old 12-23-2012, 05:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Bledsoe View Post
Can you use a forstner bit in a hand held drill, or are they too heavy?
A Forstner bit can be used in a handheld drill, but are very hard to control...at least for me. You guys might be better at it. They want to skip around. Very difficult to get a clean start and maintain a clean hole. They are intended for use in a drill press.





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post #9 of 26 Old 12-23-2012, 05:43 AM
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A suggestion for use of spade bits. As in the picture below, there are different configurations of the cutting edge. The bit on the left is difficult to sharpen. The bit on the right is easily dressed to a sharp edge. The design on the right is getting more difficult to find, and I pick them up at flea markets and garage sales if a local supplier doesn't have them.
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Name:  resDrillBits.jpg
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post #10 of 26 Old 12-23-2012, 06:39 AM
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I agree with Cabinetman, while forstner bits can be used and I often do, I try to stay to the smaller diameters. It's hard to run my handheld drills at the consistent, slower speed required for some of the forstners. I have heard that it isn't good for the drill too, but I can't verify that. If you do use it handheld, either style, it helps to pop a guide hole. I use an old, worn out forsterner bit. One tap with the hammer creates the perfect little guide mark for these bits.
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post #11 of 26 Old 12-23-2012, 11:14 AM
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I just learned something. I just used a bilt like the one above on the left to make some holes then had to plane the pieces to get down past the tear out. Looks like I will be buying some forstner bits.

"wood does not do well outside.....well....except for trees"
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post #12 of 26 Old 12-23-2012, 12:03 PM
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Forstner bits are unique

They can drill/bore hole unlike any other bit..... like on the edge of a workpiece with only partial contact, at an angle into the surface of a workpiece (drill press required) and in multiple holes next to one another to remove waste stock, like from the center of a solid body guitar:



Here's a pretty good article on their use:
http://americanwoodworker.com/blogs/...tner-bits.aspx

A review of the types here:
http://www.finewoodworking.com/tool-...tner-bits.aspx

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 12-23-2012 at 12:17 PM.
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post #13 of 26 Old 12-23-2012, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Bledsoe View Post
Can you use a forstner bit in a hand held drill, or are they too heavy?
A forstner bit is more like the old fashioned auger bit then it is a spade bit. A forstner bit has (or should have) a sharp leading edge that cuts the wood. A spade bit is more likely to just tear the wood even with the edges sharp.

A forstner bit would be easier to use in a hand drill (brace) that a spade bit because it does cut easier. Auger bits are most often associated with the hand drill.

George
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post #14 of 26 Old 12-23-2012, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post
A suggestion for use of spade bits. As in the picture below, there are different configurations of the cutting edge. The bit on the left is difficult to sharpen. The bit on the right is easily dressed to a sharp edge. The design on the right is getting more difficult to find, and I pick them up at flea markets and garage sales if a local supplier doesn't have them.
.
Attachment 57829




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The bit on the right can be bought at Walmart in sets from 1/4 up to 1 1/2 inch for about $10. Stock up.
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post #15 of 26 Old 12-23-2012, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duane Bledsoe View Post
The bit on the right can be bought at Walmart in sets from 1/4 up to 1 1/2 inch for about $10. Stock up.
I never thought about shopping at Walmart for tools. Cheap tool steel doesn't hold an edge very long.





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post #16 of 26 Old 12-23-2012, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
A forstner bit is more like the old fashioned auger bit then it is a spade bit. A forstner bit has (or should have) a sharp leading edge that cuts the wood. A spade bit is more likely to just tear the wood even with the edges sharp.
Is a Forstner Bit a type of Hole Saw or does the Forstner Bit do something a Hole Saw won't / make a cleaner cut?

I had to use a spade bit for something recently, my drill just wouldn't do the job with a regular brad point bit and I could not fit my bigger drill into the workspace (standing on a ladder drilling inside of a cabinet.) I later thought maybe I should have used the hole saw, but the hole was not in a visible place so I did not worry about the tear-out. Spade bits sure are messy though.

I've never even used a Forstner Bit unless it is the same thing as a Hole Saw.
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post #17 of 26 Old 12-24-2012, 08:33 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post
I never thought about shopping at Walmart for tools. Cheap tool steel doesn't hold an edge very long.





.
You're right, these don't stay sharp long but they're cheap and resharpen easily. I mainly use them in construction for bolt holes and running wire. I can use a 3/4 bit all day long boring studs before it needs a few quick passes with a file to semi-restore its edge. Don't let them get hot or they dull quickly.
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post #18 of 26 Old 12-24-2012, 11:30 AM
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The Irwin speedbore leaves a nice hole and it is easier to use in a hand drill then a forstner. It won't leave a flat bottom since the lead screw is a bit long. If the wood is thick enough it would be OK.
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post #19 of 26 Old 12-24-2012, 12:05 PM
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See, I don't even really like the speed bores for rough stuff, I think personally they're a bit aggressive. I've had them split out the whole backside of a stud before

The tools don't make the craftsman....
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post #20 of 26 Old 12-24-2012, 12:23 PM
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woodnthings: your solid body guitar: was there a reason to overlap the Forstner holes?

I cut the bulk of the waste away with a Forstner when I'm carving dishes. I go fast and leave a 1/4" web in between the holes.
I can knock all that away with a mallet and a 1" (bevel down like a gouge) in just a few minutes.

Plus, Forestner bits make an interesting mess.

Is anyone running Forstners without the center points? They do not appear in the original patent application.
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