I don’t have to go into the spade bit business.
After my Feb. 7, 2022, post about how awful the new Irwin Speedbor bits have become, a couple readers suggested I try the WoodOwl spades. I didn’t know that WoodOwl made spade bits and had never seen them for sale.
So I purchased some from Hardwick & Sons and tested them up against my NOS (new old stock) Speedbors that were fresh from the package. And I tested them against some of the new, frustrating Irwin Speedbors – the ones missing their rim spurs.
The 5/8” WoodOwls cut just as fast as my trusty old Speedbors. They are exactly the same size (.635” diameter at the rim spurs) and weigh one-third less. Though the WoodOwl bits are made in China (not Japan), the machining is excellent, both on the bit and bit’s shaft.
So, problem solved. Don’t buy the Speedbor’s for chairmaking. Buy the WoodOwls.
The only open question is how good the steel is in the WoodOwls. I’m building a chair right now and should have that answer soon enough.
This two-bit drama reminded me of a Crucible tool I had worked on for a while and then set aside. I was trying to come up with a bit extension that didn’t wobble and held bits firmly, especially when you pull out of the hole. The Bosch bit extender is the best in the market, but it still wobbles more than I like.
So I built a prototype of a bit extender that is promising. Now designer Josh Cook and I are chewing it over to see if we can make something accurate, useful and inexpensive.
— Christopher Schwarz