The Wood Owls are about $3.50 each, and the Star M bits are about $9. Both work fine. But here are their important differences.
With the Wood Owls, I manage to build about two chairs before they are too dull ($1.25 per chair). I can easily sharpen the spade bits two more times, so I can squeeze six chairs total out of the bit before it goes to the recycler. So 58 cents per chair.
With the Star Ms, I get five chairs out of one bit ($1.80 per chair) before I recycle it. I haven’t found a good way to resharpen them. The bit’s cutting geometry is above my pay grade.
The Star Ms have some advantages compared to the spades, however. The Star Ms cut much faster, which is nice. Also, they leave clean exit holes, so I don’t have to use a backing board when drilling through an arm or a seat. That feature is worth a lot to me because it easily cuts my drilling time in half.
So which bit do I prefer? Whichever one I can find. Both bits in the 5/8”/16mm size are tricky to find in stock. (As I type this, I can’t find either brand in stock.)
I’m sure y’all have a lot of “but what about this other bit?” questions, but I don’t have many answers. Apologies in advance.
— Christopher Schwarz