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Forstner Bit Set?

by Rex B
posted 09-11-2012 02:41 PM

24 replies so far

View johnstoneb's profile


2939 posts in 2199 days

#1 posted 09-11-2012 02:48 PM

Lowe’s has a Porter Cable 14 pc set 1/4 to 2 1/8 for 49.97. The one’s I have used did a good job for me.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2540 days

#2 posted 09-11-2012 02:49 PM

I’ve owned this Porter Cable set for about two years, run a couple of them more times than I care to count, holds up very well.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 2276 days

#3 posted 09-11-2012 02:56 PM

That’s another good option. It looks like it’s missing 1-3/4” and 1-7/8” compared with the other sets, but who knows how often I would need those?

-- Rex

View Handtooler's profile


1578 posts in 2158 days

#4 posted 09-11-2012 02:59 PM

I own the Grizzly 16 piece set, made in China, nice box. I’m an advanced novice and am very pleased with them. Renently a lady borrowed the set to use the 2 1/8th bit to install three cypher locks on her house and was so impressed that she ordered a set for herself and her husband. My other set was from Leichtung Co. in 1968 and they are still staying sharp but that company has been bought out by another woodworking supplier I think. I’ll be interested in your decision.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View a1Jim's profile


117119 posts in 3603 days

#5 posted 09-11-2012 03:22 PM

I have had good luck with low cost Forstner bits, I own the Grizzly and the MLCS and they have held up for years.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View NiteWalker's profile


2737 posts in 2603 days

#6 posted 09-11-2012 06:38 PM

I have the grizzly HSS set. The 2” bit broke where the head meets the shank but I probably was my fault, though I certainly wasn’t suing it too hard.

The rest of the bits have been holding up just fine.

So grab whichever budget set you think is best, and as needed replace frequently used bits with quality bits. I like FAMAG’s quality line, but really want to try some colt maxicut bits too.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View Richard's profile


1916 posts in 2716 days

#7 posted 09-11-2012 07:35 PM

Home Depot has the Ryobi set for the sam price as the PC at Lowes, pretty much the same set and the one I have has been working pretty good for wine bottle holders and a few other things.
Ryobi 14-Piece Forstner Bit Set
Model # A9FS14
Internet # 202078677
Store SKU # 106757

View spitnicker's profile


7 posts in 2893 days

#8 posted 09-11-2012 07:49 PM

I bought the MLCS 16-piece set two years ago and it has held up very well. I think it’s a great value.

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 2276 days

#9 posted 09-11-2012 07:55 PM

Thanks for all the input guys. I’m leaning towards the MLCS set because of the price, and the fact that it has gotten a few nods here.

-- Rex

View Handtooler's profile


1578 posts in 2158 days

#10 posted 09-11-2012 09:08 PM

And MLCS often has FREE Shipping. Ask.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 2276 days

#11 posted 09-11-2012 09:17 PM

From the MLCS website: “Every item in the catalog and on our web site are shipped FREE in the contiguous USA”

It’s a good thing to know, not something many tool sites offer.

-- Rex

View bibb's profile


327 posts in 3557 days

#12 posted 09-11-2012 09:26 PM

There is only one way to go. The Colt set
not in your price bracket but you can buy them individually.
Check out a video about them on you tube
I have a set and they are AWESOME!

-- you may only live once, but if you do it right that's all you need

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2997 days

#13 posted 09-11-2012 09:52 PM

For what it’s worth, Highland Woodworking has a 16 pc set made out of HSS for $89 right now. I’ve been very tempted.

View MarkTheFiddler's profile


2068 posts in 2214 days

#14 posted 09-11-2012 09:56 PM

The lumberjocks crew led me to a starter set at MCLS. I have only used 3 of them on pine but I have no complaints at all.

-- Thanks for all the lessons!

View AandCstyle's profile


3075 posts in 2283 days

#15 posted 09-11-2012 11:52 PM

I will take somewhat of a contrarian position here. Generally when you purchase a set of any tool, you get some sizes you will use and others you will you will likely never use. I have a set of round over router bits and have never used 3 of the 6. That essentially doubled the price for the ones I have used. So you will pay more for the pieces you actually use than you would if you purchased them individually when you actually needed them. Therefore, my suggestion would be to select the sizes you think you will use and ask for only those. Your donors’ funds will go further for your toys. FWIW

-- Art

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 2276 days

#16 posted 09-12-2012 12:39 PM

I see your point Art, I have heard a lot of people with similar stories of buying a set of router bits and never using half of them. However, I think one exception to this (for me at least) is drill bits. The one time in my life I need to drill an odd sized hole, I would just rather have the bit for it.

Bibb – I watched that video last night, and those things are insane! In the future if I need to buy an individual bit that will get used a lot that will be the way to go!

-- Rex

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2940 days

#17 posted 09-12-2012 01:40 PM

Wow, I just came across this thread, followed the links, and was a bit shocked (pun intended) at the $288.38 price for a 10-bit set. My forage into Forstner bits started with the WoodRiver 10bit Set at less than $44 that I picked up on sale. I could have 6 1/2 SETs of WoodRiver bits for the price of “1” set of COLT.

Just like many others have stated, I have not used half of them so far, making individual bits “twice the price”. Some how twice the price of $44/set bits is more appealing than the price of $288/set bits. And replacing worn/damaged WoodRiver bits becomes very economical when I look at it in that way.

That said, I also have to admit that I have my fathers Craftsman 29 piece twist-bit set from the mid 1960s that I have personally maintained for +40yr. While not the “best” for wood, when freshly sharpened (Drill Doctor) they do quite a respectable job when backed with a sacrificial piece. I have always enjoyed having a FULL set of drill bits and having the “right” bit just when it is needed the most.

I thus see the argument for BOTH sides, purchasing “sets” AND buying “individual bits”. I guess, as a hobbiest, the best bet would be to buy less expensive “sets” and replace individual bits as needed. However, for the younger (relative term ;-) ) professional woodworker, the higher quality “sets” may have their place in the shop. All I know is that I, as a hobbiest, will never have the kind of production rates to necessitate such high quality/price bits.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View kizerpea's profile


774 posts in 2393 days

#18 posted 09-13-2012 01:10 PM

buy the set….if you need it ,,,you got it!


View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 2276 days

#19 posted 09-13-2012 01:48 PM

I have basically narrowed down the decision to either Grizzly or MLCS, but I have one last hangup. The Grizzly set has hex shanks and would cost $45 after shipping, while the MLCS set has round shanks and would cost $40 total. I see the merits of hex shanks, but does anyone have a good enough reason to spend $5 more on them?

-- Rex

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2166 days

#20 posted 09-13-2012 02:05 PM

I’ve had occasions where the shanks have slipped in the drill chuck, whether it be from not tightening enough, or there was some oil on the shank, who knows. With the hex, you get much more grip, and $5 is worth the peace of mind to me at least.

Not to muddy the waters any, but I have a 20-piece set from Rockler that I think was around $50 on sale that work fine for me. It really comes down to how precise you need the cut. If you want perfectly flat bottoms and holes that are in a very good tolerance for diameter, you’re gonna have to spend the extra $$. I’m a fan of Freud bits for that purpose. If you just need to drill some holes and aren’t finicky about being 0.01” off, by all means, go for the more economical set.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8090 posts in 2354 days

#21 posted 09-13-2012 02:55 PM

I used larger diameter forstner bits (1.5” & 2”) when making a LOT of large mortices for my timber frame house. I bought good quality bits (Frued and Wolfcraft) as individuals and kept them sharp.

These were used with a 7 amp. Dewalt spade handle drill (w/ 1/2” chuck) that will literally break your wrist or throw you before it will stall. And despite beign very careful to tighten the chuck very tight…. the bits still managed to slip. This of course damages the bit shank and unless they are cleaned up in a good lathe, they will no longer align perfectly true in the chuck.

So on the big bits, that generate a lot of force, the hex shaft is of great help.

For small diameter bits held in a good drill press chuck, it probably won’t make much difference.

I have a gold tinted set (Titanium nitrate if I recall correctly) that I picked up from Grizzly or some other importer years ago. They came in a wooden box that looks very similar to the Grizzly set shown in your link. These are O.K., but the complexity of the geometry and machining is not nearly as good as the Freaud or Wolfcraft bits I purchased at individuals. You definatley want the saw teath machined in the outer rim.

Of the ones you linked, I would go with the Freaud set from Peachtree.

In the final analyses, $10 should not be a deal breaker.

And I agree, that in that 16 pc set, you will likely only use four bits. But which four? And will you have them when you need them. Or will you be forced to use a differnet style of bit, when the forstner is what you really need.

Good luck.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

546 posts in 2404 days

#22 posted 09-13-2012 04:18 PM

A different approach here: I have this set from Rockler and it has worked tremendously for me:

While the online price says $91, at my local Rockler and in the sales flyer it’s going for $49. If you have a Rockler close by you should stop in and see if they have it. Great set and can’t beat the number of sizes.

-- Matt, Arizona,

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 2276 days

#23 posted 09-13-2012 05:45 PM

I really appreciate the input fellas. I’m going to go with the Grizzly’s. I’ve had good experiences with them in the past.

@ssnvet – I would love to have that Freud set in the Peachtree link, unfortunately it costs $200. The one I was considering there is the no-name set further down the page. I do have one 3/4” Freud forsnter bit, and it works extremely well.

-- Rex

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8090 posts in 2354 days

#24 posted 09-13-2012 06:33 PM

I didn’t realize it was that much more….

the Grizzly set in your link has the saw teeth on the rim and looks nicer than my old set.

Good luck with it.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

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