I'm a bit on the cheap side

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Review by SST posted 11-11-2008 02:50 AM 6872 views 2 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
I'm a bit on the cheap side I'm a bit on the cheap side No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I recently read (in Fine Woodworking Magazine # 197, April, 2008) a review of several brands of forstner bits and decided that my Harbor Freight 7 piece set (1/4” – 1”) bought on sale for $5.00 was obsolete. That set, by the way, served me well for the money spent…as anyone who has read anything I’ve added to this sight in the past may remember, I’m really cheap… but I really needed more larger bit sizes.

After reading the article, I noted that they picked this set as a best value with a 16 piece set ranging from 1/4” to 2 1/8” sizes. The set sells for around $30.00 which is less that 2 bucks a bit for you mathematically challenged lumberjocks. There are a lot of no-name brands out there that go for more money.

Now…on to the test. I wouldn’t expect you to simply take the word of Fine Woodworking Magazine, so I figured I’d try them out & pass along my results. I figured that trying every bit was overkill, so, in the interest of time, I picked 4 bits to test. I used a piece of hard maple as my wood.

The sizes I chose were, 1/4”, 3/4”, 1 1/4”, and 1 3/4”.

I drilled one hole with each bit, going through until the point came through the bottom, and then flipped the wood over and drilled from that side, so as not to have any tearout.

I measured the holes with a dial read caliper (garage sale, but a nice one…remember…cheap)The actual hole sizes were: 1/4’= .25”, 3/4”= .75”, 1 1/4”= 1.26”, 1 3/4”= 1.76”. That’s close enough for me.

While the bits seemed to run a little hot (I really don’t have a lot to compare to, so it’s just an impression and the wood did not burn) they cleared debris very well, and the hole sides were clean.

They come in a pretty nice wood case. These are made in China (so what’s new?) but I think for the money you simply can’t go wrong with this set.

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

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790 posts in 5256 days

9 comments so far

View Dusty56's profile


11863 posts in 4749 days

#1 posted 11-11-2008 09:07 PM

Dude , that’s not Maple , it’s Pine !

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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1591 posts in 4823 days

#2 posted 11-12-2008 02:12 AM

I just received the speed reducer accessory that will provide speeds in the 700 to 100 rpm range. This will allow drilling with forstner bits up to 3 1/2 inches.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4883 days

#3 posted 11-12-2008 01:42 PM

Thanks for the review. I have a set that I am looking to replace. This has been helpful.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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5849 posts in 4647 days

#4 posted 11-12-2008 04:37 PM

There is unfortunately a lot of tool snobbery out there if it doesn’t have the correct brand name it is useless without trying it .I buy these drills and they are fine and also I stopped buying dewalt as I found it to be overpriced and not very well made I had a palm sander which used to heat up so much you couldn’t hold it after ten minutes I got a rain cheque on that one I now bnuy my stuff more carefully some things you are better to pay the money and get a good machine but not always.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View SST's profile


790 posts in 5256 days

#5 posted 11-12-2008 04:45 PM

Dusty, if that’s pine, I made a whole table out if the wrong wood. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View Zuki's profile


1404 posts in 5139 days

#6 posted 11-14-2008 01:00 AM

Tks for the review. Would never have tought of looking at these.

-- BLOG -

View oldskoolmodder's profile


802 posts in 4741 days

#7 posted 11-15-2008 07:51 PM

My set of Forstner bits is 20 years old, but they look like new, even the case does. I paid at the time Near $100 for a no name. They serve me well, BUT, I shop at and even have a few “around the house” Harbor Freight tools, so I won’t “jock” them at all. Some of the things you see at the big box stores are available at Harbor Freight for far less. The problem is that they aren’t always close, unless you live in a big city setting in the U.S. I’m hard on tools, so I’d rather replace a $20 tool a few times, that would cost $150 if it had the Dewalt name on it.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View juniorjock's profile


1930 posts in 4827 days

#8 posted 11-17-2008 03:11 PM

SST, I have the same set of bits and I agree that they get the job done. I’ve had mine for about two years and have had no problems. I very seldom have any tear out especially if I’m using a backer board.

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 4795 days

#9 posted 11-22-2008 06:15 AM

Thanks for the review. I need to replace my 8 bit set and this looks like a good choice at a very reasonable price.


-- A veteran is someone who, at one point in his/her life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including his/her life".

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