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Grizzly vs Woodcraft Forstner Bit Sets (and HSS vs HCS)

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Forum topic by unklegwar posted 04-17-2010 06:51 AM 10128 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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unklegwar

115 posts in 2676 days


04-17-2010 06:51 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question drill bit bits forstner grizzly woodcraft woodriver high speed steel high carbon steel drill drill press

Under duress (I need them to continue working) I ran to my local Woodcraft today and picked up their Woodriver 16 pc forstner bit set.

When I got them home I realized that nowhere on the box did it say whether these were High Speed Steel or High Carbon Steel. (also, the Sales guy said he’d had them for years, but when I looked them up online, the site says “NEW!”).

So i’ve delayed opening them until I know. From what I can tell, if they are HCS, then I’ve been seriously ripped off, as a comparable set of HCS bits from Griz is only about $30.

What I’m wondering is if anyone here has experience with either of these sets?
Grizzly: http://www.grizzly.com/products/HSS-16-pc-Forstner-Bit-Set-w-Hex-Shank/H7955
WoodRiver: http://www.woodcraft.com/Catalog/ProductPage.aspx?prodid=20866&ss=33cc4f4a-cd5d-41d5-804e-ce38de58582a

Also, there’s a lot of people raving about the High Carbon Steel sets from grizzly, but everything I’ve read about HCS says they’ll heat up in hard wood and lose temper and lose the ability to hold an edge. So it’s a little confusing (even Rockler is saying their HCS bits are ready for any type of wood (http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=17283), yet Lee Valley makes it very clear that HCS is really only for soft woods(http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p=45531&cat=1,180,42240)).

For forstner bits, it seems HSS is a better investment. I realize that a $70 HSS set is still going to be Chinese quality, but at least the material won’t add to the problem by losing temper and being permanently ruined (too soft to ever hold an edge again).

Can anyone chime in with insights into HSS vs HCS and the Griz vs Woodcraft (woodriver) quality?

(Meanwhile, I need to put my current project aside until I have a set of bits!)

Thanks very much!

-- Eric ---- Wise Words T.B.D.


19 replies so far

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3483 days


#1 posted 04-17-2010 02:58 PM

Neither HSS or HCS will take overheating without the loss of temper.
High speed steel will take a finer sharper edge and keep it longer than HCS.
As a reslut it will cut faster thn HCS.
HCS is more brittle and will not take much stress without breaking or chipping.
To get the most from Forstner bits I suggest moderate speed and frequent clearing of the hole and the debris on the bit.
If you run the bit till it starts to smoke you are well on your way to a new one.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View MeanGene's profile

MeanGene

15 posts in 2433 days


#2 posted 04-17-2010 03:40 PM

I also would like to hear what people think of the Rockler set you linked. I have been putting off buying a new set wondering which set to buy. We all know that you get what you pay for but I want to balance price with quality since I do this as a hobby, not for a living.

View unklegwar's profile

unklegwar

115 posts in 2676 days


#3 posted 04-17-2010 04:23 PM

Bob#2. It goes without saying that no metal will take overheating without loss of temper. So we have to look at the temperature at which OVERheating occurs. Since HSS can operate at higher temperature, the risk is lessened that it will accidentally be taken past that point. I was reading something about some HSS types being able to hold temper at red heat. Not that I’ll ever get there.

It would be safe to assume I’m not going to use these to start fires, and will be sensible. But since I’m not a metallurgist, and can only take precautions, it’s best to go with the one that holds the edge longer and has a wider working temperature range. Call it a safety net. Problem is, if you accidentally get to overheat, it’s too late. Since I’m new to woodworking, and hence the properties of may of the more exotic woods, I don’t know what effect, say, Bubinga or Zebrawood would have on a bit/heat.

Interesting that you say HCS is the more brittle, as I read that HSS was the more brittle.

So, let’s assume I’m running my press at, oh 70-80% of the recommended max speed for these bits, either one.

Though, your confirmation of the better edge-holding may be all I need. What I was wondering was about some experience with HCS sets, at reasonable speed. Are other woodworkers experiencing edge breakdown in their very inexpensive HCS sets?

Has anyone actually bought the H7955 set (or a derivative grizzly HSS set)? How’s the quality?

-- Eric ---- Wise Words T.B.D.

View unklegwar's profile

unklegwar

115 posts in 2676 days


#4 posted 04-17-2010 04:27 PM

MeanGene:
Yeah, that sale is REALLY tempting! I was hoping it was a HSS set (given the normal price).

If I could be convinced the HCS is more than sufficient for hobby woodworking, then I might jump on that. I see some many HCS set that are labelled “for occasional” work.

Also glaring was the exclusion of Rockler sets from the “final 9” in the FWW #197 Forstner bit roundup. They tested something like 18 sets, but only 9 got mentioned in the magazine.

I wish they had clarified the type of steel, they just lumped everything into “Steel” and “Carbide”, from the Griz $30 set to the crazy expensive Farag set.

(and with the mention of carbide, Griz has a nice Carbide tipped set for $99 and a filler size set for $89). Too bad my Birthday and Xmas are so far off.

-- Eric ---- Wise Words T.B.D.

View RZH's profile

RZH

73 posts in 2571 days


#5 posted 04-17-2010 04:49 PM

I have a set from Rockler that I got on sale (16 piece set). They work fine for occasional use if you follow the recommend speed noted on the shank. I also have a few high use bits (35mm, 1/4”, 3/8”, 1/2”) that have carbide tips. They are more expensive but very durable. So if it were me, I spend a little extra on the bits that get chucked up the most and use less expensive bits for those infrequent tasks. I think I still have a few sizes in the Rockler set that I haven’t even used in the four years I’ve own them.

-- Ron

View unklegwar's profile

unklegwar

115 posts in 2676 days


#6 posted 04-17-2010 06:09 PM

Ron,

Is this the rockler set you are referring to? http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=16954

Seems like a sensible approach. This is a case where I have NONE right now (I have twist, bradpoint and spade). So I have no idea what’ll be used most, and I have nada. All I know is that I need a 3/4” right now to plow out some mortises.

Thanks for the feedback.
l

-- Eric ---- Wise Words T.B.D.

View KayBee's profile

KayBee

1083 posts in 2708 days


#7 posted 04-17-2010 07:04 PM

the 22 piece set is on sale for $49.99, less than the 16 piece set.

http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=17283

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

View unklegwar's profile

unklegwar

115 posts in 2676 days


#8 posted 04-17-2010 07:18 PM

KayBee: Yes, I linked the 22 piece set above.

I don’t know if it’s the same “brand” (eg, same manufacturing line), though.

I only linked the 16 pc set because someone had mentioned they had it, and I wanted them to verify that it was the same.

But thanks for the heads up.

-- Eric ---- Wise Words T.B.D.

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11806 posts in 3150 days


#9 posted 04-17-2010 07:43 PM

http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&p=45531&cat=1,180,42240
Lee Valley explains HSS vs. HCS

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

View unklegwar's profile

unklegwar

115 posts in 2676 days


#10 posted 04-17-2010 07:50 PM

Dusty56: I linked that exact article above, in my original post.

-- Eric ---- Wise Words T.B.D.

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Dusty56

11806 posts in 3150 days


#11 posted 04-17-2010 08:08 PM

Hahahaha , sorry , haven’t been sleeping much lately : )

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

View unklegwar's profile

unklegwar

115 posts in 2676 days


#12 posted 04-17-2010 11:14 PM

Oddly, I got a lot more out of it when I read your version.

-- Eric ---- Wise Words T.B.D.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 3483 days


#13 posted 04-17-2010 11:40 PM

The explaination is very good but… the carbonstell ones are much easier to sharpen. – especially the sawtooth variety . I touch mine up with a diamond file and or disk when they show signs of bogging down.
I use HSS for most of my everyday sizes – 1/2, 5/8’ 3/4” 1”.
I have several purchased for one project or antoher that remain idle most of the time.
I am going to expand my favorites with some of these that look very good quality.

http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&cat=1,180,42240,62137&p=62137
Note they are the true forstener design for the ultimate cut in hardwood.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View bigike's profile

bigike

4050 posts in 2750 days


#14 posted 04-18-2010 01:17 AM

the colts are great i have the bradpoint drill bits and they work great so i wouln’t doubt the forstner bits work just as good if not better.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://www.icombadaniels@yahoo.com

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3039 days


#15 posted 04-18-2010 01:34 AM

I have Several different sets I think the largest set was from woodcraft and the have worked fine but the Lee Valley set looks like higher quality at a higher price. All the tool guys tend to say new if they add or take away the quantities in a set. Even though I’m a big Grizzy tool fan I tend to stay away from their smaller tools. If grizzly gets bad reviews it’s usually about their smaller tools.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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