Until you’ve made your own personal survey, you might not expect to find much of a difference between one drill bit and the next. But in practice, there’s almost always a noticeable trade-off depending on the type of bit you use: Some bits – most famously, Forstner bits – give you a nice, straight, clean hole, but on the down side, won’t do it very fast. Other bits, such as a spade bit, will punch through wood pretty fast, but with results that aren’t anything to write home about.
Brad point bits – which are essentially standard twist bits that have been “optimized” for wood drilling – are usually thought to be a good compromise for general purpose woodshop drilling. They’re relatively inexpensive, do a decent job of limiting tear-out at the top of the hole, and cut pretty fast. But they have a downfall, too. They don’t excel at chip ejection and tend to clog with chips easily. Because of that, brad point bits aren’t the best for repetitive drilling tasks – especially those involving fairly deep holes.
Until not too long ago, in fact, if you wanted to drill a smooth, crisp-edged 3’’ deep hole in a piece of wood – and you wanted to do it fast, without having to back out three or four time to clear chips – you really didn't have a good option at all. Noticing this, the dedicated tool developers at Rockler set out to design a drill bit that would do just that, and would also serve as an attractive alternative for all-around woodshop drilling. In the end, they came up with Rockler’s Power Bore Bits. And judging by the reaction thus far, their efforts seem to have been more than worthwhile.
In a large part, Power Bore Bits are an amalgamation of the best features of other types of wood-drilling bits. Like brad point bits and many other woodworking drill bits, they have centering point that makes it easy to get the hole started in the right spot. They share their basic cutting geometry with the king of precision wood drilling: the Forstner bit. Just like a Forstner bit, the Power Bore bit’s perimeter spur shears off wood at the edge of the bore, making for a nearly perfect hole-edge, while the horizontal radial cutter planes off material from the bottom of the hole. For the last couple hundred years, this basic design has been generally agreed to produce far and away the cleanest and straightest holes in wood.
What’s new – at least for a bit that’s designed for power drill use – are the Power Bore’s patent-pending auger-like flutes. The extra deep flutes are designed to propel drilling debris upwards and out of the hole as efficiently as possible. The benefit is that the flutes are highly resistant to getting clogged with material and, as a result, holding in excess heat and getting stuck in the hole. At the same time, the flutes are designed so that less of the bit will be in contact with the edge of the hole. Because of that, PB Bits generate little heat, even when you’re clipping right along drilling deep holes in “difficult” stock.
But the real test of any tool’s mettle is how well it performs in actual woodworking practice. Here’s a sample of how your colleagues rate their performance (from our Customer Reviews):
“I've used them on my drill press for pine, hard maple and oak so far. The results are unbeatable. Holes are clean (as good or better than any of my Forstner bits), centered where I want them (they're more accurate than my best brad point bits), with little or no "break-through" and no "buildup" on the bit. They required hardly any pressure, didn't overheat, or show any sign of "bogging-down". I've already recommended these bits to many of my fellow woodworkers…”
"So far, these bits do everything you say they do. The speed is the main benefit for me, and I haven't had one get stuck yet…"
"A new concept to the common drill bit with a nice performance improvement. I've never received a poor product from this reliable company and these innovative drill bits are another quality example."
"Weird looking bit, crazy little chips, beautiful smooth holes. What do I do with all my other bits now that they're obsolete?…"