Drilling DEEP Dog Holes in Hard Maple

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Forum topic by DrPuk2U posted 10-24-2012 04:59 PM 2622 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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56 posts in 2290 days

10-24-2012 04:59 PM

Topic tags/keywords: workbench dog hole brace bit hard maple

My Holtzappfel bunch is nearing the end (thank goodness). I am mounting the Twin Screw Veritas vise. Because of the thickness of my top (3 3/4”), the vise chop ended up very tall – almost 8 1/2”. It is made out of very hard maple. All has gone well until I tried to drill the dog holes. In the chop for the end-vise, I cut a little slot. as suggested by the Schwarz, That was fine as the chop was only about 4 1/2” high. Also, it was relatively easy to drill the dog holes on the drill press with a Forstner bit.

With this bomber though, it was more of a problem. I just decided to drill the dog holes all the way through the chop from top to bottom. So I drilled as far as I could from top to bottom on the drill press, but that was only about 3”. Since the chop is 8 1/2” that means that there is 2 1/2” of really hard maple still to drill through.

So I got out my brace and bit and started drilling. Phew! Really hard work. Good aerobic exercise. But the real problem is that after a little while the bit won’t cut anymore. In two of the holes it was after the spur broke through, so I a half inch or so from success. On the other two I am not close to breaking through, but the bits just refuses to cut down further. I tried sharpening the bit but that didn’t seem to help.

Note that this is a single-spur bit from Irwin.

Any suggestions would be welcome. TIA

-- Ric, Northern Illinois, "Design thrice, measure twice, cut once... slap forehead, start over"

7 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2969 days

#1 posted 10-24-2012 07:54 PM

I suspect the ones that quit advancing before the spur broke through just stripped the threads out in the wood surrounding the spur. If so, you should be able to advance the bit with enough pressure.

In the case where the spur broke through, just add a backer board for the spur to bit into.

View DrPuk2U's profile


56 posts in 2290 days

#2 posted 10-25-2012 03:08 PM

Well, thanks for the reply but that won’t help a lot. I’ll try pressing harder again, but it didn’t work before. And the ones which are “broken through” are in the middle of the piece, so I can’t put anything there for the spur to bite into

-- Ric, Northern Illinois, "Design thrice, measure twice, cut once... slap forehead, start over"

View HorizontalMike's profile


7757 posts in 2912 days

#3 posted 10-25-2012 03:26 PM

This is what I used while drilling 3/4” dog holes in my workbench. I costs $21, but is well worth it. I was drilling Ash (Janka 1320 hardness) and found that I needed to respray at least for every other hole, but if I resprayed for every hole it seems to cut like butter.

ALSO, you should buy a good bit for the job at hand. Again, not cheap, but good. I used a 3/4” COLT Brad Point bit in a hand drill, since I did NOT have a big drill press. I built a bit template to help keep vertical AND correct spacing.

PLUS!.... Be sure to use a backing plate so that you don’t get blowout on the underside of the bench. You can see mine on the right side of the image. Everything is clamped securely every time.

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

View Ripthorn's profile


1458 posts in 2983 days

#4 posted 10-25-2012 03:32 PM

What I would do is buy one of the long electrician style auger bits at Lowe’s. Or you can get really long spade bits as well. I know you are close to having it done, but the $10 for one might make your life significantly easier.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18270 posts in 3673 days

#5 posted 10-26-2012 03:53 AM

Did you sharpen the bottom of the Irwin auger or the top? Might have sharpened so the cutting edge is too high off the bottom.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 2144 days

#6 posted 11-11-2012 03:37 AM

I was just watching a Paul Sellers video and think I figured out the answer to your problem. The screw on the end of auger bits is actually what pulls the bit into the wood. So on the holes where it’s punched through, there’s nothing pulling the big into the wood. Go around and drill from the other side just as the screw punches through. On the other holes, most likely the screw has stripped out and isn’t pulling the bit into the wood. Try using another bit and enlarging that pilot type hole that the screw creates. You’ll likely have to really bear down on the brace to get it to cut off those shoulders, but once the screw catches again, you should be good to go. Hope that helps and I’m right!


View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 2949 days

#7 posted 11-11-2012 12:11 PM

Topamax said what I was going to say. If you sharpen the bottom side of your bit, you raise the cutting edge above where your drive screw can engage and it will stop cutting once your drive screw runs out of wood. This is what it sounds like from your description. Unfortunately, there is no fix for this that I am aware of except purchasing a new bit.

Good Luck

-- Mike

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