|Review by Dan Krager||posted 03-15-2014 03:19 PM||2339 views||0 times favorited||6 comments|
I’ve had a problem with blowout when drilling wood. It didn’t seem to matter what point was on the twist drill, or how sharp it was, it pulled up small splinters when entering and no matter how slow the feed or how good the back up was, there was blowout on the back. I had invested in several sets of bits including some pricey brad points with spurs from Germany, but the problem persisted in one form or another. It was especially bad if I got in a hurry and didn’t take special, very time consuming precautions to clamp or glue on a backer. With multiple holes in a large piece, or if using a hand held drill on a large piece, this was almost impossible and because of the difficulty of doing it every time, I often regretted not taking the time. So when I finally read in depth about the Tormek DBS-22 drill sharpener, I began to wonder if this was a solution, albeit a $300 one. I already had the Tormek, so I decided to go for it at an opportune moment.
It came exactly as described, and I had no difficulty setting it up, even before I read the destructions. I couldn’t wait to use it, so I grabbed a couple dull twist drills, a 1/2” and a 3/8”. It took about 30 minutes for me to complete both drills, but I was getting familiar with the details of the setup and operation. The instructions were clear and had the right amount of detail and good illustrations…just right for me. I took the bits to the drill press and without much ceremony rushed the drilling into a piece of poplar. I was blown away. The entry hole was among the cleanest I’ve experienced and so was the exit! I quickly tried a piece of oak and was amazed…I had never seen a twist drill bring up long twisty wood curls just like drilling metal! The holes were crispy clean all the way through. No pilot hole, no pre-punch, no walking…all as advertised. I should have taken pictures to post here, but I was too excited to think about that! I’ll try to recreate that for the record later.
I took these drills to a farmer friend, a notorious metal worker who abuses twist drills regularly. I know that because of the bucket full of damaged bits next to the huge drill press. He looked at my bits and with a “Harumph” chucked one up on his press and plunked a 1” thick piece of steel under it. What I saw next made me cringe…it looked like he was bent on destroying my 1/2” bit! He leaned hard on the quill feed and the motor groaned as the bit happily churned up twin curlies without oil, no pre-punch, no pilot hole, and no mercy. In a single stroke he exited the steel cleanly… a good thing because he didn’t bother to fasten it down. Then, to my amazement, he grabbed the drill fresh from the hole with his bare hand. I expected sizzling and some expletives, but instead there came a “Hmmm…wouldn’t want to hold that too long…” Without hesitation he handed me his prize ($600) drill set and sent me home to do the obvious.
Just for giggles when I got home, I took that 1/2” bit and poked it into the poplar and oak, and I couldn’t tell the difference from the first experience fresh off the sharpener. It took me about an hour to sharpen his set of large bits…I could only go to 15/16”, 1/16” bigger than what the sharpener claims to be able to do. I did pre-grind some of the badly damaged bits with a coarse wheel to quickly remove up to 1/8” of material past the chipped corners.
I have no relationship with Tormek other than owning a used machine. As you can tell, I’m pretty excited about the results of my crude experiment. More than that, I have resharpened a 1/16” bit (smaller than specification minimum) and several other commonly used twist drills as I needed to use them, and found the setup and sharpening process quick enough to accommodate my short attention span, i.e. I can remember why I sharpened the bit in the first place! So far, I am pleased with my investment because the blowout splintering problem has all but disappeared. Now I only need one set of bits for everything but plastic.
-- Dan Krager, Olney IL http://www.kragerwoodworking.weebly.com