Having recently begun working with wood, I wondered whether there was such a thing as a “woodworking bit,” given the ineffectiveness of general-purpose drill bits. I discovered brad point drill bits throughout my investigation and haven’t looked back since. A set of them is a must-have if you’re just starting out in carpentry.
As their name implies, brad point bits are most commonly utilised on wood. When you first begin to drill into wood, the sharp tip can really get a good grip and start biting. So that you may drill precisely where you want to, the tip also gives obvious and accurate placement. Spur construction prevents splintering and tear-out, resulting in a clean hole.
The question is whether brad point drill bits have made multi-purpose twist bits obsolete in woodworking. Is there anything unfavourable about employing them? What if we look more closely?
The purpose of brad points.
Combining the best features of both the standard twist bit and the spade bit, brad point bits are a versatile tool. The brad point sticks out like the end of a spade bit, and the shaft looks like a twist bit. Two distinct varieties of brad point drill bits exist, one for usage with softwoods and the other with hardwoods.
Standard twist bits aren’t very effective for drilling wood, which can be frustrating. Twist bits are unable to bite into the wood because of the form of the cutting edge, thus they wander. This usually causes the hole to be drilled off centre unless a centre punch is used.
The brad point drill bit is ideal for this. The brad nail’s design features a sharp tip (or pin) that bites into the wood, hence the name. This means that you can skip using a centre punch when drilling.
The sticking-out point shows you precisely where to insert the bit to begin drilling. Putting an X in the wood ensures that the drill bit will go straight into the marked spot.
Another problem with twist bits is that they split and tear out too easily. Wood can splinter when you start drilling, and it can tear out if you drill all the way through. The structural and aesthetic value of the wood’s underside can be compromised by tear-out.
With their spur design, brad point bits prevent splintering and tear-out significantly. In the future, we will examine methods for reducing tear-out to a minimum.
Brad point bits have a primary usage in woodworking, although they can also be used with plastics and thin metals.
In what contexts they are employed
Brad point bits are more efficient when used in a drill press. This is because you are able to clamp your workpiece which guarantees drilling at the correct angle.
Despite being more suited to drill presses, they can be used with a handheld drill. Using a jig with bushings is recommended for use with handheld drills to keep the drill bit straight for perfectly angled drilling.
Brad points are also a superior choice to twist bits as they are able to drill anywhere in the wood. Certain parts of wood are tougher than other parts which is a problem for twist bits but not so for brad points.
Exactly what are the drawbacks?
There are more processes involved in making brad point pieces, hence they cost more. It’s tempting to look for the least price, but you shouldn’t do it unless absolutely necessary.
Woodworkers talk about “wobble” while discussing the problem with lower-quality brad point bits. Some of the bits in a given set of brad points might not work right, while others might.
Thus, it is wise to check with the hardware store ahead of time to be sure you may return the parts for a refund in the event that they were built poorly.
When compared to standard twist bits, brad point bits are notoriously tricky to keep properly sharpened. A hole larger than the bit’s circumference will occur from irregular movement caused by an improperly sharpened bit.
A sharpening stone or wheel is best for this task, although other equipment like flat Swiss files, taper saw files, and rotary cutting tools can also be used. Sharpening is something you should only do if you’re sure of your skills. If not, consider taking them to a pro to be sharpened.
Due to the shape of the cutting edge (“head”) of a brad point bit, they are no suitable for widening a hole. When you begin to drill, the cutting edge will not remain stationary in the hole.
The efficiency of widening an existing hole is greatly enhanced by the use of a multi-purpose twist bit. The angled cutting edge of a twist bit sits neatly inside an existing hole and consequently doesn’t shift around when you drill.
Products with brad points
Many different materials are used to create brad point bits. From the softest (steel) to the hardest (polycrystalline diamond), the list continues with chrome vanadium, high-speed steel, tungsten carbide, and a few other materials.
Only use regular steel bits on softwoods. It’s the lowest quality content available, therefore it’s best to skip it.
For hardwoods, tools with high-speed steel or tungsten carbide tips are your best bet. Because of this, they can withstand considerably higher temperatures and pressures. They can be utilised with metals, which is an additional benefit. For those who like to tinker on their own, these are the recommended parts.
A do-it-yourselfer could probably unleash as much heat as they wanted at a chunk of polycrystalline diamond and it would still keep working. Due to its extreme durability, it can even cut through Kevlar. There is usually no need for such a robust substance.
Diameters of various brad points
Because of its primary purpose in woodworking, brad point bits typically have smaller diameters.
Bits range in length from 2mm to 25mm as standard, but you can find ones up to 600mm if you need to bore through thicker materials like studs.
Completely drilling through a piece of wood might cause tear-out on the bottom. This happens when the wood’s weakest fibres have nowhere to go and give way under stress. Using brad point bits reduces the likelihood, but extra care should be taken to prevent it entirely.
Thankfully, avoiding it is not difficult at all. Just put a scrap of wood under the piece you’re working on. This gives the fibres some stability and stops them from ripping.
If at all possible, you should utilise a wood that is not the same as the wood you are working with. Because of the change in the colour of the shavings or the sensation when penetrating the scrap wood, you can tell when you’ve drilled all the way through.
Brad point drill bit usage instructions
First, decide on a bit size. Determine the diameter of the hole you need to drill. Look for a bit with a longer body that is two flutes longer. Because of this, the shavings are able to escape and the system doesn’t become clogged.
the second step is to choose the speed at which the drill will operate. Drilling hardwoods requires speeds of up to 250 RPM for 25 mm bits and as fast as 1000 RPM for 3 mm bits.
Faster rotational speeds are required when working with softwoods. For 3 mm bits, begin at 1700 RPM and for 25 mm bits, begin at 1000 RPM.
Stage 3: Bit Alignment. Make a mark on the wood where you wish to drill, then centre the brad point on the surface.
After that, move on to Step 4. Put some light pressure on the drill and get started. Be mindful and take your time.
When comparing Brad points with Forstner bits,
The bigger diameter of a Forstner bit allows it to pierce more material. In contrast, a Forstner bit is the tool of choice when drilling shallow holes.
Comparison of Brad Points and Spade Bits
Like the pointed brads used for furniture. The size makes a difference, though. There’s no comparison between a drill bit and a spade bit in terms of width.
Pointed brads versus rounded auger bits
Drilling holes that are extremely deep or wide is when auger bits really shine. As a result of the auger bit’s design, the wood shavings are quickly and easily removed from the work area. Single-twist bits can drill large holes without being repeatedly removed.
The negative to auger bits is the lack of speed with which they bore. To protect the bit, they should only be used on wood (the exception being concrete augers).