Author Topic: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?  (Read 5708 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 2412
I recently purchased a self-centering dowel jig from Garrett-Wade.  I made a test joint and it seems quite nice.

However, it included a stern warning that brad point bits must be used with this jig.

I have several types of dowel jigs, some of which come with included drill bits.  Not a single brad point bit in any of them.

It is not a problem.  I ordered a set from Amazon.com.

But why the stern warning?  Why the recommendation at all?


Festool USA does not pre-approve the contents of this website nor endorse the application or use of any Festool product in any way other than in the manner described in the Festool Instruction Manual. To reduce the risk of serious injury and/or damage to your Festool product, always read, understand and follow all warnings and instructions in your Festool product's Instruction Manual. Although Festool strives for accuracy in the website material, the website may contain inaccuracies. Festool makes no representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness or timeliness of the material on this website or about the results to be obtained from using the website. Festool and its affiliates cannot be responsible for improper postings or your reliance on the website's material. Your use of any material contained on this website is entirely at your own risk. The content contained on this site is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice.


Offline jeffinsgf

  • Retailer
  • *
  • Posts: 654
  • Woodpeckers Marketing Department
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2023, 06:16 PM »

...some of which come with included drill bits.  Not a single brad point bit in any of them.

It is not a problem.  I ordered a set from Amazon.com.

But why the stern warning?  Why the recommendation at all?

I'm a little surprised by a dowel jig including a twist drill. While twist drills will cut wood, they're made for metal. They have a tendency to skate in wood, where a brad point's sharp point will drill on a crosshair or jigged location more accurately. Brad points cut a cleaner hole in wood than a twist drill, too. Once you use them, I doubt you'll go back.

What kind did you get? I think these: https://www.woodpeck.com/fisch-chrome-vanadium-steel-brad-point-bits.html are an exceptional value. It's also very rare to find brad points in the "in-between" fractional sizes. I try not to flog our goods on FOG, but I mention this set because the range of sizes in the sets is beyond anything I've seen.

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 2412
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2023, 06:34 PM »
The only sizes I needed are the 3/8” & 1/2”.  I don’t need a big range.

I have a “made in England” jig, and that came with a regular point bit.

I kind of screwed myself on the drill bits (maybe).

In the past I have bought Woodowl bits from Amazon.  The 3/4” bit has drilled over 200 holes in MDF and is still sharp and still makes clean holes.

But instead of Wood Owl bits, I ordered Owl Tools wood bits.  I suspect that the similarity in name achieved the desired result with me.

About 1/2 the price of the Fisch bits but includes extra 1/8”, 3/8” and 1/2” bits.

They might still be good, but I feel like a jerk for being fooled.

By the way, I ordered and received the 3/4” bits as “auger tip” instead of “brad point”.  That was a mistake.  The auger tip advances far too aggressively in MDF and is hard to control.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2023, 06:38 PM by Packard »

Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 2803
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2023, 06:55 PM »
I prefer brad-point bits for drilling wood simply because they cut into the surface cleanly. Regular twist drills will of course work too, but they tend to tear at the surface of delicate things like plywood and they wander when drilling end grain in solid wood.
You probably need both in the wood shop, since that not all you need to drill.
Brad points are more limited as far as sizes, though metric ones are available too.
CSX
DF500 + assortment set
PS420 + Base kit
OF1010
OF1010F
OF1400
MFK700 (2)
TS55,FS800, FS1080, FS1400/ LR32, FS1900, FS 2424/ LR32, FS3000
CT26E + Workshop cleaning set, Bluetooth remote
CT15
RO90
RO125
ETS EC 125
RAS115
ETS 125 (2)
RTS 400
TS75
Shaper Origin/Workstation/Plate
MFT clamps set
Installers set
Centrotech organizer set
Socket/Ratchet set
Pliers set

Offline ChuckS

  • Posts: 4692
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2023, 07:53 PM »
I have the same kind of (probably the same) self-centering dowel jig, and have used both brad point bits and twist bits with it, with unnoticeable difference. The caution is given perhaps with regard to the quality of the holes rather than a warning about potential damage caused to the bushings.

I do prefer brad point bits as the above two posters because I can align a drill accurately with the center point marked on the work.

By the way, although it's a self-centering jig, it can be used for off-center boring with shims added to one side of the fence
« Last Edit: March 24, 2023, 07:55 PM by ChuckS »

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 2412
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2023, 09:07 PM »
I have the same kind of (probably the same) self-centering dowel jig, and have used both brad point bits and twist bits with it, with unnoticeable difference. The caution is given perhaps with regard to the quality of the holes rather than a warning about potential damage caused to the bushings.

I do prefer brad point bits as the above two posters because I can align a drill accurately with the center point marked on the work.

By the way, although it's a self-centering jig, it can be used for off-center boring with shims added to one side of the fence

I’m sure it has to do with the quality of the holes.  The entire inside surface of the carton lid was printed in red, showing both an image of the brad point bit, and instructions that only brad point bits are to be used.

This jig has four threaded holes for bushings.  So with just one registration mark, I can drill for four dowels.  My other center finding jig had one smooth bore hole for each dowel size.  So a four dowel joint would require that I move the jig four times.  The accumulated tolerance sometimes meant that one dowel ould not align.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 10724
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2023, 10:51 PM »
I’m sure it has to do with the quality of the holes.  The entire inside surface of the carton lid was printed in red, showing both an image of the brad point bit, and instructions that only brad point bits are to be used.

And why wouldn't a manufacturer of a product try to project its product in the best possible spotlight?

heck, if I were the manufacturer of that fixture/jig, I'd recommend that all drill bits used should be brad point bits and would seriously dissuade people from using conventional drill bits.

Let's face it, conventional drill bits are pretty primitive in their ability to produce a "clean" hole in soft materials because they were never designed specifically to drill wooden objects. Their usefulness started with the metal industry and they've been part of that industry for over 100 years.

The introduction of the woodworking forum produced different issues but most of the adherents at the time relied upon metal working solutions which didn't necessarily directly translate to suitable results for the woodworkers. Metal working and wood working are very similar venues but sometimes there are very different tools that are needed to produce the required results in each venue.

Offline ChuckS

  • Posts: 4692
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2023, 02:15 AM »
I get that a tool manufacturer would want its tool to be used in conjunction with a quality accessory, in this case the drill bit, to produce the best possible outcome. But cautioning the owner to use ONLY (caps mine) brad point bits as part of its instructions is technically misleading. Someone who just wants to drill some center holes for dowels to fix something might think they really need to go out and buy some brad point bit because of such instructions.

What the instructions should say is that the use of brad point bits is highly recommended because blah blah blah.

The JessEm dwelling jig is shown with a twist bit in a product ad.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2023, 02:25 AM by ChuckS »

Offline luvmytoolz

  • Posts: 680
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2023, 04:26 AM »
I get that a tool manufacturer would want its tool to be used in conjunction with a quality accessory, in this case the drill bit, to produce the best possible outcome. But cautioning the owner to use ONLY (caps mine) brad point bits as part of its instructions is technically misleading. Someone who just wants to drill some center holes for dowels to fix something might think they really need to go out and buy some brad point bit because of such instructions.

What the instructions should say is that the use of brad point bits is highly recommended because blah blah blah.

The JessEm dwelling jig is shown with a twist bit in a product ad.

When I first started making things I used standard twist drills without any issues not knowing then I should use brad points. Never had one wander on me either.

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 2412
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2023, 07:52 AM »
The whole point of using a jig like this one is that the jig will maintain precise placement of the drilled holes.

The brad point bit, in my mind, will keep the start of the hole in a fixed spot within the tolerances built into the jig.

So, assuming that a 3/8” drill bit measures exactly 0.375”, then the hole in the jig has to be slightly larger, probably close to 0.380” to prevent binding.

So regardless of which style bit is used, hole placement can only vary by the amount of tolerance built into the bit.

Since the holes are hidden, and dowels (straight fluted) expand when exposed to the glue to fit tightly in an oversize hole, I don’t see the need for brad point bits.  The sole exception would be through dowels where the hole is visible.


Offline mrB

  • Posts: 960
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2023, 08:43 AM »
Jigs can move and a Brad point drill bit is less likely to encourage that.
there's nothing like the right tool for the job

Offline luvmytoolz

  • Posts: 680
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2023, 08:56 AM »
Then it's not a very good jig if it moves! That's kinda the only point of it. I've used numerous jigs over the years, and even the very cheapest of them stayed put when fixed.

They literally have one function.

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 2412
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2023, 09:49 AM »
Then it's not a very good jig if it moves! That's kinda the only point of it. I've used numerous jigs over the years, and even the very cheapest of them stayed put when fixed.

They literally have one function.

The Rockler type jig (which I have) can easily be clamped to the work piece when you are drilling into the end or edge, but not when you are drilling into the face.  For that, you simply have to hold it in place.
 
It is best that it only be used for face frame type joints.



And the Milescraft does not suggest any clamping (though I generally can clamp).



« Last Edit: March 25, 2023, 09:52 AM by Packard »

Offline ChuckS

  • Posts: 4692
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2023, 09:58 AM »
If a handheld jig must be used without clamping and moving is a critical concern, using a brad point bit as mrB suggested will help. Another way is to use a twist bit, but make a deep center point with a bird cage awl, and start the drilling gently and in a slower speed (don't pull the trigger fully). Drill as usual once the entry hole is bored.

In some situations, I start the drilling in a reverse mode.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2023, 11:48 AM by ChuckS »

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 6206
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2023, 10:24 AM »
Most dowel jigs make good enough contact with the surface of the wood to prevent the tearout that an ordinary twist drill often makes when entering the wood. Especially softwood.

A high quality brad point drill works well but the cheap ones are as bad or worse than twist drills in wood. Dull outer point and off-center center points make them useless.

For the best quality holes (for visible dowel ends) you can start drilling with a Forstner bit to get a fine entrance and then switch to a twist drill for speed.

My all around favorite drill bits are Bullet Point style. B&D/Dewalt. They’re faster in metal than twist drills and they’re made of better steel and machined to higher standards than brad point drills. But don’t use them on acrylic.

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 2412
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2023, 10:32 AM »
Most dowel jigs make good enough contact with the surface of the wood to prevent the tearout that an ordinary twist drill often makes when entering the wood. Especially softwood.

A high quality brad point drill works well but the cheap ones are as bad or worse than twist drills in wood. Dull outer point and off-center center points make them useless.

For the best quality holes (for visible dowel ends) you can start drilling with a Forstner bit to get a fine entrance and then switch to a twist drill for speed.

My all around favorite drill bits are Bullet Point style. B&D/Dewalt. They’re faster in metal than twist drills and they’re made of better steel and machined to higher standards than brad point drills. But don’t use them on acrylic.

The problem with forstner bits in any type of jig is that the bearing length of the bit is very short so maintaining perpendicularity is problematic.  I do agree that they make nice holes, and I use them for mounting pegs and for plugging holes.  But I would not use them in any of my dowel jigs.

Offline ChuckS

  • Posts: 4692
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2023, 10:53 AM »
An example of when I need a brad point bit.

To satisfy the need for critical alignment of the bit with the center points, I replaced the factory bit on a flat-bottom counterbore with a brad point bit before mounting it in the drill press (for a project done in the last couple of weeks):



If the positioning of the bit and counterbore relative to the center points wasn't critical, I wouldn't care to replace the twist bit.

As for what sizes of brad point bits one should have, there's never one correct answer. I have 4 or 5 sets of various diameters, including some very long ones in second-rate quality as well as some in metric. This is the premium set of 12 I turn to often when I need precision boring results: https://www.leevalley.com/en-ca/shop/tools/power-tool-accessories/drill-bits/42247-hss-lipped-imperial-brad-point-drills?item=07J0112 
.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2023, 11:02 AM by ChuckS »

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 2412
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2023, 10:59 AM »
An example of when I need a brad point bit.

To satisfy the need for critical alignment of the bit with the center points, I replaced the factory bit on a flat-bottom counterbore with a brad point bit before mounting it in the drill press (for a project done in the last couple of weeks):

(Attachment Link)

If the positioning of the bit and counterbore relative to the center points wasn't critical, I wouldn't care to replace the twist bit.
.

I agree that is a valid reason to use a brad point bit. But if the drilling jig (dowel jig) is being relied on for the placement of the hole, why the need for the brad point?  Perhaps ro reduce the wear on the hardened bushings?  That does not seem likely.

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 2412
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2023, 03:20 PM »
UPDATE:

I just received a return authorization for the Owl Woodworking brad point bits.  Two of the three bits I tried were bent.  (Just the 1/8” bits.)

I just ordered the Montana brad point bits.  Twice the price of the DeWalt bits, these bits are made in the USA. 

Amazon also sells Fisch bits, but only their economy line.  No country of origin is specified, but “Quality control in Austria”.  About 1/3 more expensive than the Montana bits and slightly less favorably rated.

I am hopeful that the Montana bits are good. 

Note:  It is not unusual to see small diameter wire warp when heat treated.  They heat the bits to about 1,400 degrees F, and then quench it in oil at about 300 degrees.  That is an 1,100 degree drop and smaller diameters and thinner materials are susceptible to warp age. 

A better choice for small diameters is to quench in molten salt (about 800 degrees F). This is called austempering.  The smaller drop in temperature is less likely to cause warping.  It also yields a tougher part when compared to martinsite heat treating in the same hardness range.

(Martinsite is the result of conventional — oil quench — heat treating.)

(I apologize for the pedantic schooling.  I can’t help myself sometimes.) [eek]

In any case, the new bits will arrive on Monday.  I will report.

Offline Peter Halle

  • Global Moderator
  • *
  • Posts: 12699
  • Ain't so Small no More
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2023, 07:09 PM »
Regarding Montana bits, way back when Bridge City Tools first introduced their DJ-1 drilling jig I believe that they recommended Montana bits.  Supposedly have (or at least had) a good reputation.  I tried to pick up a set at Christmas time when they were on sale at Woodcraft but they were out of stock of the set on sale.

Peter

Offline luvmytoolz

  • Posts: 680
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2023, 07:18 PM »
The only time for me personally I've found brad points to be crucial is when drilling pen blanks, they definitely shine there.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2023, 07:39 PM by luvmytoolz »

Offline SilviaS7

  • Posts: 64
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2023, 10:30 PM »
I have Montana bits, they're great, I use mine exclusively for woodworking and have cheaper DeWalt bits for anything that is a little abusive.

BTW, FOG, I am so disappointed... all the dads and granddads here, and nobody made the joke that this thread should have been titled, "Brad point bits.  What's the point?"   ;D

Offline rmhinden

  • Posts: 586
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #22 on: March 26, 2023, 02:04 AM »
I have been buying these brad point bits:

Fuller Brad Points Drill Bits

also made in the USA.

Bob


Offline Packard

  • Posts: 2412
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #23 on: March 26, 2023, 09:32 AM »
I have been buying these brad point bits:

Fuller Brad Points Drill Bits

also made in the USA.

Bob

Something to consider if the Montana bits disappoint.  But about twice the price, so I will give the Montana bits a real workout before I would consider the Fullers.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 10724
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #24 on: March 26, 2023, 10:57 AM »
I have been buying these brad point bits:

Fuller Brad Points Drill Bits

also made in the USA.

Bob

I've also started to purchase the Fuller brad point bits to replace the Colt TwinLand bits I got on sale. I originally purchased the Colt bits because they were made in Germany, were made from chrome-vanadium steel and the TwinLand design helped guide the drill bit. 

What I didn't realize is that when drilling very hard wood such as hard maple or Jatoba, the TwinLand design creates extra friction and the drill bit becomes extremely hot and if you're not careful, the drill bit becomes so hot it will start to turn blue and burn the hole. That's not been an issue with the Fuller drill bits.

Here's the TwinLand design and then a 3/8" burned drill bit.





Offline Crazyraceguy

  • Posts: 2803
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #25 on: March 26, 2023, 12:01 PM »
@Cheese I would assume that extra friction area of the Twin-Land bits would be a problem in a drill press especially. Since it is going straight by design, the extra contact is unnecessary. The best use-case for those has to be free-hand drilling, where the rub rib could help keep the bit straight, when your hand doesn't.

Kind of like hole saws. It always bugs me to see someone use a hole saw in a drill press. That perfect alignment makes the teeth all travel in exactly the same path. All that does is pack up the dust in the tiny gullets and cause heat and binding. The teeth cannot clear and even pulling out does not solve the problem, gravity keeps the debris in the kerf.
I see hole saws as the drilling equivalent of reciprocating saws. Rough/crude demo tools that can be wobbled around some to open the path and help clean out the dust.
If you need a nice (big) hole, use a Forstner bit.

I only own a couple of hole saws, mostly for grommet holes in countertops.
I don't really do that much drilling, other than screw/countersink holes, pocket screw holes, and those in access panels. Those are all regular twist drills.
I use the DeWalt bullet points for most other things, though I do have an import set of twist drills in all of the fractional sizes, for random stuff. The fractional Brad points are only by 1/8" increments and metric from 3mm up to 10mm. My Forstners are in 1/8" increments too, but I think there are 1/16" increments available?
CSX
DF500 + assortment set
PS420 + Base kit
OF1010
OF1010F
OF1400
MFK700 (2)
TS55,FS800, FS1080, FS1400/ LR32, FS1900, FS 2424/ LR32, FS3000
CT26E + Workshop cleaning set, Bluetooth remote
CT15
RO90
RO125
ETS EC 125
RAS115
ETS 125 (2)
RTS 400
TS75
Shaper Origin/Workstation/Plate
MFT clamps set
Installers set
Centrotech organizer set
Socket/Ratchet set
Pliers set

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 10724
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #26 on: March 26, 2023, 12:20 PM »
@Cheese I would assume that extra friction area of the Twin-Land bits would be a problem in a drill press especially. Since it is going straight by design, the extra contact is unnecessary. The best use-case for those has to be free-hand drilling, where the rub rib could help keep the bit straight, when your hand doesn't.

Kind of like hole saws. It always bugs me to see someone use a hole saw in a drill press.

Ya, you're exactly right I was installing/pegging flooring & stair treads in hard maple/Jatoba and needed to drill the holes perfectly vertical so everything was done on a drill press.  [tongue]

As far as the hole saw goes...I always use a drill press.  [smile]  [popcorn]








Offline Packard

  • Posts: 2412
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #27 on: March 26, 2023, 12:25 PM »
If it (the drill bit) gets hot enough the heat will start to anneal the steel and make it soft.  This will only occur at the very ends of the cutting edges.  They heat up faster because there is very little mass to absorb the heat.

I worry about that very issue on my Blum hinge drilling jig.  To reduce the likelihood of overheating the 35mm Forster bit, I pull back on the drill several times during the drilling process.  The bit remains spinning freely in the air, thus shedding some heat.

Of course I have no way to measure the effectiveness of this process (or the heat levels the bit endures) but it makes me feel like I am taking care.

The bit does get too hot to touch.  Constant exposure to 400 degrees F., will anneal the steel incrementally.

Offline Packard

  • Posts: 2412
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #28 on: March 26, 2023, 12:32 PM »
If it (the drill bit) gets hot enough the heat will start to anneal the steel and make it soft.  This will only occur at the very ends of the cutting edges.  They heat up faster because there is very little mass to absorb the heat.

I worry about that very issue on my Blum hinge drilling jig.  To reduce the likelihood of overheating the 35mm Forster bit, I pull back on the drill several times during the drilling process.  The bit remains spinning freely in the air, thus shedding some heat.

Of course I have no way to measure the effectiveness of this process (or the heat levels the bit endures) but it makes me feel like I am taking care.

The bit does get too hot to touch.  Constant exposure to 400 degrees F., will anneal the steel incrementally.

Note: “Soft” is a relative term.  It might draw down the hardness from file-hard to knife blade-hard.  Still very hard, but relatively softer and more susceptible to wear.  If you let a drill bit to get excessively hot, it can bur away some of the carbon content and the steel will break down.  Gettin a bit that how will almost certainly make it glow orange or even yellow as it grows in heat.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 6206
Re: Brad point bits. What are the advantages? Especially for dowels?
« Reply #29 on: March 26, 2023, 01:12 PM »
In my experience the main cause of overheating when drilling is too slow a feed rate. When drilling with a Forstner bit I start the hole slowly to get the best entrance then feed aggressively and quickly withdraw the bit to clear the chips. Forstner bits are more susceptible to softening from heat than bits made of high speed steel.

The second cause is letting the flutes get packed with chips. The bit will also stop advancing when full so when the feed rate slows I extract and clear.