Forstner bit stop?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by Raftermonkey posted 10-02-2010 03:40 PM 7028 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Raftermonkey's profile


560 posts in 2934 days

10-02-2010 03:40 PM

Topic tags/keywords: forstner bit stop kit depth guage inlay penny question tip jig trick drill-driver

Hey everybody, I am wanting to start inlaying a penny into my work to date it, but man, these forstner bits want to keep on digging. Does anybody know of a good homemade way to make a stop or depth guage for a cordless drill. I have seen the Wood River Stop Kit and should prolly just go ahead and buy one but if anyone knows of another way to achieve this, I could use that money for something else.(i.e. wood)
Any ideas? Thanks for the help


-- -Zeke- "I hate to rush off, but I gotta go see a man about a log"

15 replies so far

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3618 days

#1 posted 10-02-2010 05:13 PM

I have not used a stop on a cordless drill, but I think you could tape a dowel to your drill set at the depth that you need.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View sturgeonboy's profile


8 posts in 2845 days

#2 posted 10-02-2010 05:16 PM

get a drill bit simillar to the one they use on kitchen cabinet doors but obviously of a smaller diameter they have 1 centre point and 4 outer spurs there designed for use in a cnc or vertical drill but can be used in a cordless if you have a steady hand

-- sturgeonboy fae scotland

View JJohnston's profile


1622 posts in 3313 days

#3 posted 10-02-2010 05:26 PM

Make your own lock ring: Start with a disc about 1/2” thick and 2 1/2” diameter. Drill through the center with the same bit you use to drill the penny holes, then cut from the edge to the central hole. Now drill tangentially across this cut at mid thickness (easier said than done) and put in a screw. Slip the bit though the hole so the right depth is protruding and tighten the screw to clamp the ring. You could also put in 2 screws, one on each side, to maintain balance and prevent the ring from splitting. Cover the lower face with UHMW tape to prevent marring.

Or, turn a blank about 1 1/2” diameter and 4” long. In one end, drill with the penny bit just deep enough that the depth you want is left protruding; then drill with a bit just bigger than the shank of the penny bit, clear though lengthwise. Insert the penny bit shank first from the end with the bigger hole. Size the length of the blank so you can butt it against the drill chuck so it won’t slide up. This piece doesn’t even have to be a cylinder, but it would balance better if it were. Same thing with the UHMW tape.

Edit: You could also combine my second idea, cut down so it isn’t as long, with a basic twist drill stop collar that fits the shank of the penny bit to adjust the depth. Drill the bigger hole in the wood collar as deep as, or slightly deeper than, the height of the bit head so you get the full depth range. This would essentially be a wood version of Wood River’s basket shaped piece.

-- "A man may conduct himself well in both adversity and good fortune, but if you want to test his character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

View poopiekat's profile


4356 posts in 3756 days

#4 posted 10-02-2010 09:31 PM

I used an Irwin expansion bit instead of a Forstner. You can dial it right in to a perfect press-fit, if you try it on a piece of scrap first. Perfect!! I’d file down the pilot threads a little if you feel the threads are too aggressive.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Jim Crockett (USN Retired)'s profile

Jim Crockett (USN Retired)

852 posts in 3755 days

#5 posted 10-02-2010 10:45 PM

You could make a three-sided stop, two end pieces and a crosspiece, all at 90 deg. Drill a hole at the center of the crosspiece the same diameter (or just a little larger) as the shank of your forstner bit. Insert the desired forstner bit through the hole in the crosspiece and rest one of the edge spurs on the piece in which you want to drill a hole. Slide a regular drill bit collar stop down the shaft from the top and attach it to the bit’s shaft at a height above the crosspiece that is equivalent to the thickness of the penny. Tighten your drill chuck onto the shaft and drill – the collar stop will prevent you from drilling too deeply.

Clear as mud?


-- 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".

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3081 days

#6 posted 10-02-2010 11:58 PM

Forstner bits are really designed to be used in a drill press. Whenever I use one in my drill press, I set the depth stop on the travel of the quill.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View A10GAC's profile


191 posts in 3100 days

#7 posted 10-03-2010 11:49 PM

I picked up the 6 Piece Coin Forstner Bit Set from Peachtree Woodworking Supply; it has the same style stop as the WoodRiver setup. They work fine, but occasionally leave a mark when the depth stop hits your work. After this happened a couple of times, I ended up using the depth stop on my drill press. The marks sand out easy enough…but I was pretty tired of sanding at that point in the project.

In the absence of a drill press I would either buy the WoodRiver kit or try one of the above ideas.

-- Men have become the tools of their tools. - Henry David Thoreau

View Jim Jakosh's profile (online now)

Jim Jakosh

20581 posts in 3127 days

#8 posted 10-04-2010 02:07 AM

The best way to control the depth is using a drill press. I have never seen a stop for around a forstner bit probably because the cutting diameter is so short..If the surface you are drilling is flat, you could make a hollow stop to clear the cutting surface and fit tight to the shank and secured with a set screw but you would need a lathe to make it. Also, the stop would mark the surface because it would be turning with the cutter

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 3809 days

#9 posted 10-04-2010 03:12 AM

1. Take a 1” x 1” (or larger) square blank longer than the exposed bit (drill chuck to tip of spur) and square one end.
2. Find the end center by drawing lines diagonally corner to corner.
3. Using the center point, drill into the end with your 3/4” forstner bit to more than the depth of the 3/4 round cutter + spur. ( example: My 3/4” bit has a 3/8” cutter depth + a 1/8” long spur, so I would drill it a little over 1/2” for mine.)
4. Using the spur impression as center, then drill your shank hole through the remainder 1/64 oversized. (example: my 3/4” bit’s shank is 3/8” so I would use a 25/64ths bit, or a “w” sized bit if you want it a little tighter. You want it to spin freely but not wobble too much)
5. Chuck the bit in your drill to max depth, and then measure from the chuck jaws to the bottom edge of the cutter. Subtract 1/16” (or the penny thickness or the amount of recess depth you want) and cut your guide to that length.

To use, slide drill shank into guide all the way and chuck the bit at max depth.
Push the bit out enough to set the spur where you want the center of the hole.
Slide down guide to rest solidly on the surface and grasp firmly.
Start drill and push until chuck jaws contact top of guide.

You’re done. Clean out chips and repeat as necessary for more pennies.

The guide limits the drill’s depth but does not spin so will not mar the surface. Hardest part is getting the holes in the guide straight, so you may want to drill the cutter recess a little deep and then fine trim it to be square with the bit before cutting the final length. As the cutter recess will be tight at first, you may want to chuck the guide in a vise and spin the bit in and out a couple times to polish the hole.

If you will be using it a lot, I would make it out of a hard wood so that the drill chuck jaws don’t start dishing out the top. Also, if you change drills, bits or chucks, you may have to adjust your bit depth when tightening the chuck a little bit to ensure you have the right cut depth. A solid depth stop like this is more reliable than the stop on many drill presses which will give if pressured, and better than a stop that relies on a screw that tries to anchor on a hardened drill bit shank and may slip. It is portable and can go to the work instead of the work coming to the drill.


-- Go

View helluvawreck's profile


31340 posts in 2888 days

#10 posted 10-04-2010 02:26 PM

Zeke, I know that you want to save money, but around the corner, if you don’t have a drill press, a small table top drill press would be a real nice addition to your shop, especially if it had a spindle stop. You can do so much better work with a drill press and the smaller ones are not that expensive.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3182 days

#11 posted 10-04-2010 03:26 PM

For what you are doing, you can wait for one from HF to go on sale for $39. And you can carry it in one hand. It is VERY light. HF # 44506 or 38119.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View AaronK's profile


1506 posts in 3486 days

#12 posted 10-04-2010 03:37 PM

many here have already mentioned using a drill press. I think a drill press is also the best way to go in terms of accuracy, but also in terms of safety. In my experience a penny-sized forstner bit is just about the limit of what you can safely do by hand. I tried drilling forstner bits slightly larger than that by hand once and got whacked in the face/eye when the bit became slightly unlevel and flung the workpiece back at me. a few days later I got my first drill press. You don’t expect a hand drill to be capable of causing that much injury, but it’s the worst I’ve been hit so far when it comes to woodworking.

so please: use a drill press :-)

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3182 days

#13 posted 10-04-2010 06:34 PM

A variation of this Simple depth gauge could work.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View Raftermonkey's profile


560 posts in 2934 days

#14 posted 10-04-2010 08:13 PM

Thanks for all the great advice. For now I have gotten fairly decent at drilling the holes freehand, very slowly. It takes me a few passes to get what I want, but thats ok. Rance I think I will prolly try to fashion together a device similar to the one in your last post.

-- -Zeke- "I hate to rush off, but I gotta go see a man about a log"

View Rick's profile


9698 posts in 3055 days

#15 posted 10-06-2010 08:38 AM


You might want give something like this a try. It’s intended for a DP but it might help with free hand drilling as well.

Drill a Counter Sink Hole at the bottom of the Jig, an amount equal to the actual depth of the cutting part of your Forstner Bit. Drill the rest of the way through to the top with a bit equal to the width of the Forstner bit shank.

Insert the Forstner bit from the BOTTOM through to the top. Tighten the Jaws of your drill Chuck at the Top, with a SPACE between the Jaws and the Top of the Wood EQUAL to the DEPTH that you want achieve on your WORK PIECE.

The acual height of the Vertical Piece of wood in the Jig is whatever suits your needs the best. You could always make a couple if needed. Very Quick to make.

Depth Stop A MedDepth Stop B Med

Bloody Ingenious!! Ain’t it!!...LOl… Hope it helps.


PS: Not to long ago I bought a drill press at Lowes for $148.00. Love It! You can see it here if you’ like .

-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics