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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My husband bought a new drill press and I want to get him a very good set of Metal and/or Wood drill bits. Perhaps the best all purpose. I want fractional, number, and letter; the full fold out cased set. Does anyone have a recommendation? What brand(s) are the best? Titanium coated? Carbide etc? TIA!
 

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Wood and metal bits don't go together. Metal bits are capable of drilling wood, but the finish is poor. No on the carbide unless you are drilling masonry or hardened steel like grade 8 bolts.
 

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For home use I just buy a set from Cosco ect and just toss the smaller ones when they're dull.
For work ( metal working trades) we use Cleveland or Precision Twist Drill most often when an actual twist bit is used. Look for a local Industrial supply or maybe MSC-Direct.
 

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Titanium coated are good, keep your eyes open, those big set go on sale quite often, get one made in USA.
Twist drill will work for both metal or wood, you may eventually want to get some better drills for wood but that will get him started.

Rule #1 with those big sets, replace the bit right after using it so there are no empty holes, it is very hard to tell the difference between some of the smaller ones with old eyes.
 

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As has been mentioned, metal and wood bits are different beasts. A twist bit meant for metal will work in wood, but will leave less than desirable results. A brad point bit for wood makes perfect holes in wood, but wont work in metal. Personally, id say get a decent set of brad point bits, something like this, and a seperate set of twist bits for the metal working. If you can swing the price and drill mostly harder metals, like steel, a set of cobalt bits would be best on the metal working side, though titanium coating will work fine and is cheaper
 

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wood vs metal drill bits....

Fractional size twist drills, sizes from 1/64th to 1", will work for either wood or metal. I bought this Titanium coated set a few years back, and the price is quite reasonable:
http://www.heartlandamerica.com/214-piece-titanium-drill-bit-set-13cf86.html
Harbor Freight also has them in a set. Home Depot will have a smaller size set and will Tractor Supply.


Specific purpose wood bits like brad points, spade bits and Forstner bits will NOT work in metal. These bits are strictly meant for drill clean holes in wood, except for the spade bits which can leave a ragged hole. The Forstner types are also available in many local home stores as well as Amazon and Woodcraft. They are really good for larger size holes over 1" and should be used in a drill press for best results.

Very nice thought to buy some bits....:yes:

BTW you left the "l" out of your user name.... "sliver" is a common occurence in most woodworking shops......
 
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I've been happy with a set of fractional & a numbered set made by Norseman in the USA, bought from Harry Epstein online. Total cost was about $100, including the metal index boxes.
 

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Skip the carbide twist drills, way too brittle for average home use. Used with proper care in a heavy drill press, they will be fine, but as soon as someone chucks them up in a hand drill that is it. HSS can take a lot more abuse. Cobalt drills will be almost as tough as HSS and will hold a slightly better edge than HSS if you take care of them. 90 percent of drill bits in a large set will likely see very little use, so I would get a HSS set and then just upgrade the most used bits to cobalt as they need replacement.

Aside from speed/feed issues and lack of lubrication drilling metal, drywall is generally the worst thing home users do to their drill bits. Keep your home shop tools separate from what you use to hang pictures;)

Also, skip the really cheap import sets, those are barely even acceptable as sacrificial bits for plowing through drywall.

MSC is a decent mail order source if you don't have a local supplier you wish to use, but make sure you get on their mailing list for sales codes and catalog sale prices.

You can still view the sales fliers on the website:
http://www.mscdirect.com/special-offers/monthly-sales-flyers
Hertel drill indexes are on page 12 of the current metalworking flyer, those are perfectly fine quality for a starter set. I would go with the "Bright" finish for general use.

On their emailing list, they send out "Metalworking Mania" coupon codes a few times a year that are usually good for a certain percentage off metal working tools at a certain threshold(usually something along the lines of "up to" 25% off of $250 or more or 35% off of $350, but don't quote me on this). Sales flyer price and MWM code price is usually fairly comparable at the end of the day, so unless you already have a very big order, it is not worth stressing to figure out best price or ordering extra just to hit the MWM threshold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you all for taking the time to point me in the right direction. It is very much appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
He has been drilling aluminum and likes to make his own fittings for building little roadsters for our boys and custom speakers. He also drills plastic and wood. But mostly metal. I don't want to get the carbide due to its brittleness and because he can get those one at a time for specific projects if needed. I'm looking at the tri-fold sets of the most useful. Cobalt and TiN are sounding the best. I am definitely not looking at the cheap imports and am expecting to spend $150-$300. we prefer made in the USA first but I'm actually not finding many decent options that truly are made here.
 

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I would not recommend that you purchase any bits as a gift unless you KNOW specifically what he wants. Good bit sets can be expensive.

The array of bits that you mentioned cover a lot more than what a normal home hobbyist wood worker would want. Letter bits, in my experience, are seldom found in a home environment.

I would recommend that you get a gift card in the amount that you want to spend. I would also recommend that gift card be from Amazon as normally that is the best place to find a large variety and get the most bang for the buck.

George
 

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I would not recommend that you purchase any bits as a gift unless you KNOW specifically what he wants. Good bit sets can be expensive.

The array of bits that you mentioned cover a lot more than what a normal home hobbyist wood worker would want. Letter bits, in my experience, are seldom found in a home environment.

I would recommend that you get a gift card in the amount that you want to spend. I would also recommend that gift card be from Amazon as normally that is the best place to find a large variety and get the most bang for the buck.

George
Most home shop owners don't realize how valuable a complete set is until they get their hands on one, letter and number bits allow for an exact fit, not a compromise which happens with basic fractional sets.
 

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He has been drilling aluminum and likes to make his own fittings for building little roadsters for our boys and custom speakers. He also drills plastic and wood. But mostly metal. I don't want to get the carbide due to its brittleness and because he can get those one at a time for specific projects if needed. I'm looking at the tri-fold sets of the most useful. Cobalt and TiN are sounding the best. I am definitely not looking at the cheap imports and am expecting to spend $150-$300. we prefer made in the USA first but I'm actually not finding many decent options that truly are made here.
Perfect info to clear things up:thumbsup:

I stand by my recommendation of the Hertel HSS bits in bright finish as a decent starter set. If you decide to ease into it rather than get a FULL set, then get the #1-60 set to cover smaller things and smaller tap drill sizes and fill out the letter and fractional as needed later. This can be a nicer way to develop your drill bit stash as smaller sets are far less cumbersome to get in and out of (edit: and can make it a little easier to spring for the cobalt or a higher quality brand if you wish). A good set of wood specific drills will also help keep your sets for metal in better shape.

Eventually you might also consider screw machine length (stubby) drills as they speed up work quite nicely. Took me a bit to get here, but I now have a full set of screw machine length drills in very easy to access stand up style holders similar to this one, and I barely go into my folding sets anymore unless I need the longer length bits to get around a part feature.

Coatings are really only needed for production shops where you can squeak out a bit faster speeds and feeds and better tool life. In home use the parameters are never really tuned enough to take advantage of that. In that scenario the coatings are maybe good for a little corrosion protection, but mostly it is just marketing. Aluminum also tends to gall on TiN(and especially black oxide) coatings, rendering the coating next to useless. Use a good cutting oil or wax and wipe down tools with wd40 as you put them back after use. Often kind of hard to find at big box stores, but I do like this particular cutting fluid that OSH stocks locally somewhat regularly.

Finally a quick note about taps. Pick up some quality 2 or 3 flute HSS taps in bright finish if he is doing any tapping in that aluminum. 4 flute taps get packed full of chips too easily with aluminum. Tap sets from the hardware stores also tend to be junk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Most home shop owners don't realize how valuable a complete set is until they get their hands on one, letter and number bits allow for an exact fit, not a compromise which happens with basic fractional sets.
Yes, my husband is a perfectionist and always goes for exact. He will not cut corners. 😊 basic sets are not for him ha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I would not recommend that you purchase any bits as a gift unless you KNOW specifically what he wants. Good bit sets can be expensive.

The array of bits that you mentioned cover a lot more than what a normal home hobbyist wood worker would want. Letter bits, in my experience, are seldom found in a home environment.

I would recommend that you get a gift card in the amount that you want to spend. I would also recommend that gift card be from Amazon as normally that is the best place to find a large variety and get the most bang for the buck.

George
The GC is a great idea but I haven't seen what I want on Amazon. I'm delicately prying him for info as we work in the garage together. Hopefully I will have the last clues to my puzzle soon! This is all great info, thank you!
 

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If he primarily works with metals I would go with a Cobalt set, that's really the best type for longevity in metals.

As has been mentioned dual purpose bits claimed for metal AND wood usually aren't excellent at either, just adequate.
 

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If he primarily works with metals I would go with a Cobalt set, that's really the best type for longevity in metals.

As has been mentioned dual purpose bits claimed for metal AND wood usually aren't excellent at either, just adequate.
Unless you're drilling in stainless, or doing boring more than three times deeper than the diameter, you will not see any difference between quality HSS or quality Cobalt.
 

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If he's drilling primarily aluminium, titanium nitride twist bits would be the best bet. Cobalt bits are meant for harder, more abrasive materials like stainless steel and from what I've heard don't work as well as softer on softer metals
 
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