Forstner Bits

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Forstner bits have been around since the late 19th century, when Benjamin Forstner patented his innovative design. Forstner removed the gimlet-point and cutting lips that characterized most wood-boring tools at the time, helping to make smoother holes. In his trade as a gunsmith, this proved especially helpful (and managed to earn Forstner a fortune).

Though they have changed in their basic design, Forstner bits are still widely available today and even command premium prices. Today's Forstner bits employ a split-ring design, which is even better equipped to bore flawless holes than do regular spiral bits. A range of sizes, from three-sixteenths of an inch to two-and-one-eighths inches, lets woodworkers handle a multitude of tasks.

Your Forstner Bits

Forstner bits are manufactured from heat-treated steel for extra strength and durability. Whether you're boring holes in plywood, plastics, or certain metals, your bits will make quick work of the material on your press. Most are designed with a centering point as well, so you'll always know exactly how to align your bits for precision drilling.

If your woodworking projects require perfectly drilled holes, you could opt for an ordinary spiral bit and take your chances. For a few dollars more, however, you can have the confidence that comes with knowing your tool can handle even the hardest of wood species. Typically, Forstners run anywhere from five to 50 or 60 dollars, so you'll want to determine exactly which sizes you need to help you avoid spending hundreds of dollars on a complete set.

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