Because we make tools, I hesitate to criticize other toolmakers. Today I am making an exception because the manufacturer is Irwin Industrial Tools, which is owned by Stanley Black & Decker, a company that is worth $28.4 billion (that’s with a “b”).
So no toolmaker is going to go hungry because of this blog entry.
For 18 years I’ve used Irwin Speedbor spade bits in my chairmaking. They are inexpensive, they cut fast, they don’t clog and they are perfectly fine for chairs.
In the 2000s, lots of Irwin’s competitors started making crappier spade bits. They ruined the cutting geometry, didn’t surface-grind the cutting face or they added a screw tip, making them almost worthless for furniture making. But Irwin kept making good bits, and you could get them everywhere.
About two years ago, however, Irwin “improved” its Speedbors by removing the cutting teeth at the rim, replacing them with little chamfers.
These new Speedbors are supposed to last twice as long and cut twice as fast.
My first experience with the new bits was terrible. They cut slow and tended to leave a rough entry and exit hole.
I talked to my supplier at the hardware store about it. She said many of her customers also disliked the new bits and had the same experience I did.
I slapped together a rant about the bits and almost posted it. Then I thought: Maybe I should wait and use the bits some more. Maybe I’m doing something wrong. Maybe the bits can be improved with a little filing. Maybe I just got some bad bits, and the manufacturing will improve in time.
So for the last two years I stuck with the bits. And I can honestly say they still stink. I’m sure Irwin has some science that backs up its claims, but it doesn’t apply to working in hardwoods. Perhaps they did the test in Styrofoam.
I’ve searched for another brand available in the U.S. as a replacement, but I haven’t had much luck. I’ve tried four other brands, and none are as good as the old Speedbors. If you have a recommendation of a spade bit brand you use and adore, please post it in the comments. (Please spare us the “I’ve heard good things about Beaver Bits.” Or “Saul Pellers says spade bits are for punters.”)
Until I find a replacement brand, I’m sharpening my old Speedbor bits. This works great until you file the rim teeth away (I get about three filings before this happens). I’ve also purchased a two-year supply of NOS (new old stock) Speedbor bits from eBay. So I have a couple years to solve this problem.
As anyone who makes chairs will tell you, life is a never-ending search for decent or better bits.
— Christopher Schwarz
114 thoughts on “Apologies for this Spade Bit Rant”
Two things probably happened at B&D.
It was a cost savings for them and some CEO just made a big bonus for the bigger profit margin. (Or)
Marketing is running the company, they are pushing the “new product is better” theory otherwise it becomes obsolete.
Yes, I used to work for a tooling company.
I agree that the new bits are junk. But it does not surprise me because of Black&Decker. They have always made junk that was serviceable for one project by a homeowner.
Unfortunately, Black&Decker have degrade every brand name they have acquired. If you find a replacement please let the rest of us know.
If no one currently makes a better bit, perhaps someone will step up and do it right.
It’s probably too small a market. But Lee Vally takes quality twist bits and grinds their own brad points. Seems like it would be much easier to regrind a crappy spade bit into the proper form.
Motion seconded: I absolutely adore the Lee Valley custom ground brad point bits, and standardized on those for appropriate work in my shop ages ago.
Do any existing bits that have lead screws have the other necessary features? It should be easy to “disable” the lead screw, if it’s the only drawback.
The Spyder brand of spade bits has a lead screw and the cutting spurs, Lowes current stocks them.
That’s what I was going to suggest. Should be easy enough to grind off the threads and end up with what you want. Looking at the ones I have with the lead screw, they look very similar to the old style bits you like.
Years ago, a computer magazine columnist described a law that was perhaps a corollary to Murphy’s Law. He named it after himself, but I can’t remember his name and I can’t find a reference on the interwebs.. But there was an eraser that he absolutely thought was the best. It was just the right softness. I worked wonderfully. At one point, the company made them no more. So he wrote: “If it is good, they stop making it.” Sadly, in the 30 years since I first read this, I have found it to be as accurate as Murphy’s Law.
Perhaps you are thinking of “Pournelle’s iron law of bureaucracy”: In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals that the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.
Jerry Pournelle was a science fiction writer and computer columnist.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Jerry_Pournelle
No. Pournelle I would have remembered. (Since I was reading his magazine columns in that time period.) It truly was written about discontinued erasers.
I see this attributed as “Herblock’s Law” in some places online.
“Herblock” was the professional identity for Herbert Lawrence Block, an editorial cartoonist. Someone who might have a keen interest in erasers.
Yes! Herblock’s Law it is! Thank you!
The corollary……”If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Rube Goldberg
I’d never heard that phrase bring attributed to Rube Goldberg before, although given his type of sculpture, it sort of fits.
Trying to Google the phrase seems to point to the 1960-70s, though.
I most associate the phrase with Mark Twain, who wrote a story or anecdote from about 1870, about an expensive pocket watch he had purchased($200).
“a good watch was a good watch until the repairers got a chance at it.”
Was part of a quote he cited from his uncle at the end of the story.
A tool that may have a niche market, but is the tool of choice for many and there is currently no good alternative on the market (at least new)… Maybe a project for Crucible?
I don’t really want to manufacture or re-manufacture spade bits. The list of tools I want to make at Crucible is long enough already.
If possible, I’d like to find someone who is still doing it correctly and give them all my business.
This is the slippery slope. Sometimes a career chooses you, if you let it.
I’ve been using the Cuttex spade bits ( https://www.ebay.com/itm/Spade-Drill-Bit-Set-Cuttex-Tools-13-Pcs-1-4-to-1-1-2-Full-Set-Heavy-Duty-/353398431636 ) and they’re not great out of the box (you can see the rounded teeth in the photo at the listing), but once sharpened up, they’re perfectly serviceable and they were cheap enough. So if you’re looking for a nice solid “meh,” they’re you’re bits.
I have been grinding them into different shapes to experiment with what works best for hollowing side-grain oak, and the steel seems to be good enough and not just hardened at the tips as some seem to be.
My guess is that this change was for cost savings as they assume these bit are are mainly used for the trades (and homeowners) and not crafts people. So a rough hole on soft wood is fine for electrical or plumbing in new construction, these trades care absolutely nothing about surface (entry or exit) damage to the wood.
As a guy that used to use these for trade work, nope not happening. If you lost a cutter the bit was trashed. Linemen want those cutters. Not for the entry or exit holes but for the cut speed. Granted by now I suspect most have migrated over to auger bits for most work. It was going that way when I stopped doing wiring.
It’s always about the money
My local Ace hardware has store brand spade bits that look like the old speedbore. I have not tried them yet but I’m hopeful.
Interesting. I re-read, but maybe I’m missing something.
The bit geometry you describe I’ve mostly found for dits that are expected to hit nails and so on.
(These by Bosch, but with a screw point: https://www.menards.com/main/tools/power-tool-accessories/drill-bits-accessories/bosch-reg-nail-strike-trade-6-spade-drill-bit-set-3-piece/ns5003/p-1566887222073-c-10079.htm?tid=8489057918202601461&ipos=10)
But here at my local Menards, there are plenty with teeth. Among others there are:
Tool Shop: https://www.menards.com/main/tools/power-tool-accessories/drill-bits-accessories/tool-shop-reg-spade-drill-bit-set-6-piece/2427623/p-1444444259130-c-10079.htm?tid=8489057918202601461&ipos=6
and, of course, IRWIN: https://www.menards.com/main/tools/power-tool-accessories/drill-bits-accessories/irwin-reg-speedbor-reg-6-spade-drill-bit-set-8-piece/341008/p-1444436164251-c-10079.htm?tid=8489057918202601461&ipos=15
Others at Home Depot (Including Bosch and Milwaukee: https://www.homedepot.com/b/Tools/N-5yc1vZc1xy/Ntk-EnrichedProductInfo/Ntt-spade%2Bbit?NCNI-5&sortby=bestmatch&sortorder=none) for shipping.
Maybe I’m misunderstanding something in the original post and replies, but if not I think there isn’t a problem (in my area) getting what you describe.
I have tried all of those bits.
Any spade bit with a lead screw will leave a chewed up entry hole (you cannot get the bit up to speed before plunging).
Bits that are painted are not surface ground (in my experience) and so they cut very slowly.
Many of the “off brand” bits are simply junk made overseas and won’t cut cheese.
And many of the photos of Irwin bits are outdated and show teeth at the rim.
Chris, which 5/8″ Irwin spade bit version do you use? The standard length? The extended length? Both?
Both. But mostly the standard length.
With few exceptions they’re all made ‘overseas’ through OEM, often on parallel production lines. Oh, I just glanced at the television and Overseas is hosting the Winter Olympics
Does the product in the store match the pictures? If the manufacturer uses the same model number, it’s common for corporate sales/marketing to not be aware that the product no longer matches the pictures or description on the website.
The most recent review on Amazon for that IRWIN set (341008) says “The picture is a lie. These are flat. These have NO TEETH ON THE Edges like in the picture. Returned” https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R891TZI2HRMBS/
If Menards still has that set with teeth, it’s possibly old stock they haven’t sold thru, or they didn’t rotate their stock properly.
Have you tried using Forstner bits?
Freud Precision Shear™ Serrated Edge Forstner Drill Bit 5/8-Inch by 5/16-Inch Shank (PB-004) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000AV6ZA/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_i_BF1YTPXY98Q6EW81675M
I have lots of Forstners. The lead is not long enough for compound-angle drilling.
Are we just going to ignore the skewed vinculum? Get it together, B&D!
If you can find them locally the Makita spade bits have spurs on them still. I have a set that I picked up after the speedbore change and they have held up reasonably. I am including a link to amazon for the ones I have.
( https://www.amazon.com/Makita-714168-Spade-4-Inch-6-Inch/dp/B0007ZKWW4?th=1 )
I have tried them.
I hope you are able to reach a favorable conclusion to this dilemma. I had never heard of beaver bits before so I had to search it up. I found the beaver saw drill. I don’t know whats not to like here. It drills, saws, reams, and cuts. I also turned up the following video…a beaver bit off my nipple, which presumably is the outcome of test driving the sawdrill bit.
There is a book used in some liberal arts colleges’ curricula, called “Exit, Voice, and Loyalty”. Exit is, basically, the buyer being pissed off about the spade bits and departing to another maker. Voice is, basically, the buyer being pissed off and taking the time to let the supplier know why – giving the supplier the opportunity to try to make buyer happy.
Here, Voice was used but, perhaps, misdirected. Will Stanley hear this rant? How does one reach the person(s) who decide such things at Stanley? Yeah – sometimes Voice is difficult to effectively utilize.
On the other hand, it would be a subtle and calculated revenge to NOT complain about the bits and simply find another supplier. Let the market take up the slack. Other commenters, above, have mentioned Lee Valley re-working drill bits into their excellent line of brad-point bits. And Crucible, itself, is a response to the (oft-lame) offerings in the marketplace. These smaller, more responsive companies have proven to be loyal friends in the pursuit of our craft. Maybe let’s identify an obvious alternative maker who will step in and make proper spade bits. And reward that maker with our dollars.
You are missing one more word: warning. This blog entry is primarily a warning.
As someone who hasn’t made a chair but hopes to I have an innocent question. Why not use a brace and bit? My question isn’t in the Paul Sellers “Spade bits are for punters” vein, I just don’t know enough to know why they’re not a good alternative.
You can. That’s how I first learned to make chairs. It is an entirely different chairmaking process to use an auger. Think about drilling the arm and seat. With an auger bit you have to drill them separately.
I have been using my Spofford with a 20″ extension with no real problems.
Wood Owl bits have always worked exceptionally well for my projects. I see they also have a spade bit… though I’ve never tried it nor know where to buy it from.
Was thinking the same, I think I’ve heard good things on this blog about their other drills, so their spades would be worth a shot. https://taytools.com/collections/brands-woodowl-spade-bits/products/woodowl-3-piece-6-spade-bit-set
Ace Hardware is offering Ace brand sets and individual bits with teeth. No doubt made by another manufacturer with the Ace name on it, but they still have cutting teeth. https://www.acehardware.com/departments/tools/power-tool-accessories/drill-bits/27542
I have tried them.
May I suggest putting “I have tried them” on a 2 keystroke macro? LOL
Do you mean the Ace Insta-dull bits?
Have you tried the Wood Owl spade bits? I have had great experience with the Wood Owl auger bits and highly recommend them. I have never tried their spade bits, but they look a lot like the old Irwin bits with spurs instead of chamfers.
I have sharpened my Irwins with a file for years. Poor people have poor ways.
And, Bosch bits will wanna make you trash those Irwins. If you don’t like the screw, file it off. Thats how us backwoods people do it.
Oh, and you can file those Irwins without loosing the side teeth. Think about it. File the flat cutter down, and that gives you room to resahpe the inside the the side teeth
In theory, yes; in practice, I have not been able to replicate all the geometry and get a nice cutting bit
When I filed mine last year I did something wrong. They cut fast and smooth, but cleanest entry is achieved in reverse!
Practice practice. Put that bag of chips down some evening and get r done.
I really like the Diablo bits. They are available at home Depot. The ones I have at least have stayed sharp and last awhile.
I am not even sure how the new cutting geometry even works a little bit. IS the cutting edge flat instead of angled to the face of the wood? and obviously with the spur missing the hole diameter will be ragged! (Going to try to get a look at them in the store at lunch.) I am guessing the bit will last longer simply because there is no “cutting edge” that is dulling! As I see it, there is a tooling cost savings because the diamond-shaped stamping or impression that creates the multiple angles will not wear-out as quickly in the new version if only because it is poorly done to start with. (look at the sharp impressions on the old version versus the “new and improved” one. I would guess the “speedbore” is trademarked or otherwise protected, but I wonder if the geometry is covered in that protection. (I have never seen anyone copy this and it is a better “mousetrap” than anyone else’s spade bits, since the balance of the offerings are nearly all garbage!)
Yeah I was stumped on that as well, to me it looks like you are supposed to run your drill in reverse. Maybe they work better in reverse?
I agree with Steve, it is more labor to file the flat part down when sharpening, but no different than sharpening an auger bit.
I found the Milwaukee spades with a similar profile to be perfectly serviceable albeit in limited use and in nothing more demanding than soft maple.
These bits are only for drilling a straight , not angled hole ..
When I first started using spade bits (over 60 years ago in England) I am sure they didn’t have those little corner spurs . To my mind those corner spurs were always a very nice innovation !
I’ll have to keep my eye for the old style and sell them on eBay to help people out.
Sounds like another opportunity for Crucible Tools!
you might check out Feine Werkzeuge in Germany, they ship to the U.S. Theses bits are metric. but that’s just normal almost everywhere, right?. I used them in my humble chair making efforts, they work just fine: https://www.fine-tools.com/flatbit.html
Milwaukee makes a flat spade bit that serves me well.
In fact, I bought it specifically because it met your description of a preferred spade bit–both in your book and in blog posts. It’s ground flat during the manufacturing process and doesn’t have a screw tip.
Fisch in Austria make spade bits that at least look the business and that, or so I believe, are the ones sold by Dieter Schmid (amongst others, I’m sure). Alas, as far as I’ve been able to find out, they’re only available in metric. The closest to 5/8″ is of course 16 mm, which is (a gnats whisker less than) 5 thou larger than 5/8″. I’ve no idea whether or not a 5 thou oversize mortise would be an issue for your needs, of course.
If you can’t easily get hold of these in the U.S., but would like to try one out, I’d be more than happy to add one to my next order from Dieter Schmid — they’re only about $2.50 — and send it to you. No worries, no sweat — just say the word if you’d like to check them out.
I haven’t tried the Fisch spade bits myself, but I have a number of other bits from them, not least Forstners, and if those other bits are anything to go by (the Wave Cutters Forstners are fantastic), these ought to not too shabby.
As I said: if you think you could use them, and would like to try one out, just let me know!
Another European brand of good repute is Famag in Germany (I use their brad points, with which I’m very happy); their spade bits are available from i.a. Baptist in Arnhem in the Netherlands. Again metric, of course, and a tad more expensive at about $3.95, but the same offer applies: should you like to try one out, just let me know, and I’ll add one to my next order from them and pass it on to you.
I ordered a couple of wood owl flat bits in the sizes I need for the Irish arm chair. I got them here. https://hardwickandsons.com/collections/wood-owl-boring-bits/products/wood-owl-flat-boring-spade-bit-6-long
You may have already tried these already. I am not sure why these wouldn’t be good since their other drill bits are so amazing.
I purchased a large number of the Wood Owl spade bits from Hardwick and Sons in various sizes and both the short and long lengths. I have tried a few of them so far and they seem to be high quality. I don’t have a ton of experience with the old Irwin Speedbore bits so I can’t compare directly, but I am happy with the Wood Owl bits so far.
Philip, thats good to know that they have worked well for you. I guess I will know in a few days. The price is great.
You are alive? Hello to you and the family!
I can’t believe I didn’t know about WoodOwl’s spade bits. I have just ordered some to try them. Duh.
Alright then. You guys’ endorsement of these bits helps me know I did not waste my money. I only wonder will they be resharpenable or too hard maybe?
I am still living, and still following your blog. Hello to you and your family as well! It is crazy how time flies. I tried to give you a call earlier to catch up, but I’m not sure if your number is still the same. If you have some time to chat soon it would be good to reconnect.
There they go. Woodowl spade bits are going to have their biggest sale day ever.
I like to see the spurs make a faint outline of the hole when drilling. It’s reassuring to know where the hole will land before going “full bore”.
Are these 5/8” Irwin bits, with spurs, and currently available on Amazon not the same as the old style?
Irwin Tools 1764343 Short Spade Bit (4 Pack), 5/8″
I have used a certain cutting tool in my industry for over 40 years. Recently the supplier reported no longer available. When I asked why I was informed the 75 year old machine making them had failed. Retooling wasn’t an option.
Sounds like the old card scraper story
I have some really old ones with teeth that I tried to augment the size range of recently and encountered the same problem, tried to order some of what I thought was New Old Stock but got the poor performing new design as well.
Chris, I didn’t get your warning in time. I bought one of the new Irwin 1.25” bits. I got terrible results. So disappointed with the new, improved bits. Immediately gave it away to someone who doesn’t do woodworking.
Is it my imagination or do those bits appear to be different widths yet both labeled 5/8? Because that’s what I expected the rant to be about: the new one appears to be wider.
I agree completely with this post – it’s a possibility that the ‘science’ Irwin uses to back up their claims is economics- it seems it may be cheaper to grind the newer bits than grinding the points etc.. A shame they ruined a good bit for a few pennies! (I still have 1 or 2 of the old style 😉
And what a dismal science it is, Economics.
Must be just on your side of the pond Chris, Irwin still supplies flat bits with spurs over here –
Unfortunately, we are metric of course, or I could have sent you a set.
The photo of the new geometry looks like it would almost cut better if you ran it in reverse!
They sell imperial versions on your Amazon.com –
Screw-tips on any form of wood drill bit seem to be an ill-concieved idea. Maybe they work for electricians hogging out studs to run romex?
I have a sizable 5/8 auger bit I use for drilling out the center of lamps I’ve turned. The bit was unruly to work with; and it wasn’t until reading your post that I could see clearly that it wasn’t the bit, but the screw tip that was ‘fighting’ me. That screw tip on my auger-bit will soon be filed into a diamond tip.
One of the major woodworking magazines did a test on drill bits for drilling wood maybe a decade or so ago.(I forget which magazine though)
For twist drills, the brad point bits from Lee Valley, and from W.L. Fuller came out best (both are Industrially made twist drill bits that LV and Fuller regrind the tips on using CNC equipment).
The exception to the brad point bits was when drilling end grain.
Regular twist drill bits were the superior bit they found for drilling end grain, although I gorget whether the tests used regular twist drill points, or the newer split point design, although I would presume the split point design would be better.
The twist drill bits with a parabolic flute design supposedly clear the chips better to prevent burning.
Being proactive and direct, I went to Stanley’s website and left a comment about this issue:
Stanley probably intends these bits to used by plumbers and electricians drilling though wall studs. They should know woodworkers use them too.
They do still make them with spurs!
You need to understand. They don’t care if woodworkers are using them.
Sorry to repeat, but Imperial Speedbor are available with spurs on Amazon.com –
To quote Mr Schwarz, “Bits that are painted are not surface ground (in my experience) and so they cut very slowly”. It looks to me as if the bits in your link are painted, which is probably why he rules them out.
The painted bit is just where the shavings exit the cutting edge, I doubt that the paint will last more that three of four holes before it is worn off. I have looked at a range of these spade bits and nearly all of them are made by stamping the shaving recesses, after which the important parts are ground. The link I gave is for the Bosch bits and they claim that their shavings path is ‘parabolic’ to ease flow; doesn’t look very parabolic to me but at least it shows that they are thinking about things (or have a marketing guy who like geometry). 🙂
I got some Bosch and they have spurs, but they also have a threaded pilot pin (or whatever the tip is called), that makes them very aggressive biting. I see Diablo has some with spurs, but likewise threaded. Maybe those make sense when you are plowing thru studs or joists for wiring. So, those are options to pass on.
Agreed Chris – I’m having a very difficult time finding speed bits or augers anywhere. In our area the Diablo brand Spade bits are predominant and you can rarely find any competition or choices. It’s one brand only per hardware store and they all come with an auger style threaded pilot pin or “SPEED-TIP™ self-feed design effortlessly pulls the bit with minimal effort and faster holes”. My experience there is that threaded pilot pin works fine in pine but for anything hardwood it means the drill get’s pulled through too fast and it torques out.
I think I’ve figured it out, they just left the asterisk off the advertising claim. I should read:
“2x longer life*
2x faster cuts*
*After first contact with a nail, compared to previous design.”
After all, you can’t wreck the cutting spurs if there ARE NO cutting spurs!
*if you don’t use them for drilling
Sutton Tools spade bits
Back when Stanley discontinued their Powerbore bits, Jennie Alexander, who’d been using them for her chairs found a substitute in Stern “Universal” bits. Diefenbacher carries them, but only in 1/8″ increments, so no 9/16″.
Probably because iPad bots are spying on me, the next time I went to eBay after reading this blog post they suggested this brand. Made in the USA, lifetime guarantee. A possible replacement. https://ebay.co.uk/usr/drillhog
I bought a Bosch 1-1/2 inch auger bit several years ago. It too was ground with a bevel on the sides instead of spurs. I was cutting holes in yellow pine. Using my large high torque 1/2 inch electric drill, the lead screw zipped the bit down to the wood, but stopped dead when the cutting edge hit the wood. Just about twisted my arms off. I then tried the bit in a 14 inch throw brace. A huge amount of effort was required to get the bit to bite at all; and the result was not worth the effort. I concluded, as you have, that leaving off spurs on wood drilling bit of any sort is not good practice. That bit resided in a box on a high shelf and will probably never be pulled out again. Oh, I might give to someone who really,really really pulled my chain. Otherwise, I will keep it as a reminder that just because something is made by a company that has a good reputation doesn’t make it a good product. I will also take closer looks at things I am buying before I purchase.
For now lots of new “Old Stock” 5/8 Irwin’s with spurs available on Ebay. 3 and 4 packs approx $3 each bit. Get them before they are gone seem to be selling fast since this blog post.
Chris, do you use a variety of sizes in this style bit or a specific size that is most used? Thanks.
Believe it or not but I’ve had decent results with Harbor Freight’s 13 piece set of Hex Drive Spade bits. And at only $10.00 they’re affordable throwaways.
I just bought a set of Irwin Forstner bits. The first one I put in my drill press wobbled. Not impressed. Love my Irwin dado blade set, but it’s about 5 years old.
Irwin Speedbors here in Australia are still the pattern you prefer, only downside is that they are in metric.
I have had pretty good results with these but have not put a lot of work through them. Might be more useful for the european contingent. https://www.fine-tools.com/flatbit.html
Hmmm, you make great tools, how ’bout making good spade bits? 🙂
I bought a set of the Speed Bore bits about 20 years ago and used them until they were no longer able to be sharpened. When Irwin initially bought them they changed the manufacturing process and the set I got to replace the originals was ok but not the same . I figured it was cost cutting and point of manufacture had shifted along with the methods. The same thing happened to the Record planes with the quality going down the gurgler after Irwin bought the name from Bahco. The standard of machining was atrocious by comparison, I almost bought one by accident as a hardware store which was closing down had both. Looks like the bits now have multiple steps missing in production along with the decision maker missing the point (sorry, just came out) of why the original design and quality of manufacture was so effective in use. Being in Australia and familiar with the brand , Sutton spade bits should be a good option in terms of quality although as having not actually used any yet I can’t say for sure. Based on the numerous other drill bits I use which they produce I would certainly try them out when the time comes. Being only metric could be an issue though.
When I was a young man considering punters I was an apprentice in a shop. The experienced men I learned from would share thoughts on tool redesign and concluded that banging one’s head against corporate America leaves one with a terrific headache. Bloody punters!
Sigh…I ordered 2 Speedbor bits online via a local Ace Hardware just a day before Chris posted. The picture showed the older spur style. It will be interesting to see which style they actually deliver.
Well, the Irwin 5/8 x 16″ bits that I received from Ace were the new spur-less ones, despite the online picture showing spurs. But the brick and mortar store had 5/8″ x 6″ Ace brand in stock – it has spurs! It is ##27531. I did a test hole on hard maple and they work great!
This company shows a standard spade bit with outer teeth and flat faced center point. No idea if they are any good, I never heard of them. I was doing a search of “silver and deming” bits because I had no idea what they were. Hope this helps.
Bosch and Milwaukee both make spade bit sets with spurs- https://www.homedepot.com/p/Milwaukee-High-Speed-Wood-Spade-Bit-Set-13-Piece-48-27-1520/305537862 https://www.homedepot.com/p/Bosch-Chisel-Point-Spade-Drill-Bit-Set-10-Piece-SB0010/204415169 neither are stocked locally for me (SC) but generally ship fairly quickly. I’ve used the milwaukee ones in fir and pine, and they function about like the older speedbor bits.
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