Shopsmith Brad Point Drill Bits

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Forum topic by SirSeth posted 02-09-2013 06:30 PM 3196 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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75 posts in 2192 days

02-09-2013 06:30 PM

A while ago I asked advice on drill bits.

I was pointed to Lee Valley brad point bits, which do look great. I noticed that their set of 12 only goes up to 1/4” which seems like a great set if you drill many very small holes, so I was looking for alternatives.

I was about to buy a set of carbide brad point bits from highland woodworking when I saw that Shopsmith makes a basic set that come up on ebay regularly (1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4). So I just won this auction of Shopsmith brad point bits and Allied twist bits ($21.30 shipped):

Does anyone have experience with these bits? Shopsmith stuff is usually good quality. They sell this basic set of 5 for ~$60 on their web site. I figure it doesn’t hurt to try since these would cover some of the larger common sizes that the Lee Valley set doesn’t cover. I couldn’t find any information on the Allied bits that sold with these, and I suspect they are not worth much. Anyone know? Made in Italy might be better than made in China, but you can never tell these days. I really more interested in the Shopsmith bits.

I currently own a set of 16 Hickory Forstner bits which have worked well if I go slow. They are certainly not production bits, but for hobby use they have been good. Otherwise, I have a couple sets of Black and Decker twist drills that I don’t mind abusing.

I’d like to hear your opinions and experience on this. Thanks all.

-- What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?

11 replies so far

View horologist's profile


104 posts in 3706 days

#1 posted 02-13-2013 03:14 PM

Looks like you bought older bits that are made in the US, these should be quite good. I have a more modern set that has a mixture of US and Chinese bits. While I normally avoid all Chinese drill bits my Shopsmith set seems fine.

-- Troy in Melrose, Florida

View SirSeth's profile


75 posts in 2192 days

#2 posted 02-14-2013 12:19 PM

Troy, thanks for your response. I’m surprised that more people have not chimed in on this because this basic set for $14 gives me 1/2, 5/8, and 3/4 bits that are sizes not found in most sets. The 3/4” will drill bench dog holes and has never been used. Even if I purchased the Lee Valley set or the highland carbide set, the Shopsmith set continues where those leave off. I just had my gallbladder out yesterday, so I haven’t used them yet, but I’m looking forward to doing so. I’ve never owned a set of brad point bits. I’ll be curious to see if these run straight and I’m guessing they will because they are stubby and very robust looking. Cheers, Seth

-- What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?

View RussellAP's profile


3103 posts in 2253 days

#3 posted 02-14-2013 02:40 PM

I have three sets of fostner bits. I think Rockwell just had a sale on a 6 or 8 piece set for like 20$. I also have a DeWalt set and one from HF which works real good. I did by one Freud 3/8 bit because I use a 3/8 more than the rest so I wanted a nice one and Freud is the best. Well, best for the money that is.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View SirSeth's profile


75 posts in 2192 days

#4 posted 02-14-2013 10:45 PM

Thanks Russell,

I have a set of Hickory Forstner bits. They have been good but will burn if I go too fast. I think we share viewpoints on having some bits for common use and other bits for special use. For me, the Shopsmith brad point bits are probably better for hard wood than anything I’ve owned and they cover the common large sizes. I’ll probably add the Highland Woodworking Carbide brad point bits to fill in the smaller sizes and then if I need it for a special project, I’ll get a few Lee Valley single bits. For example, I build guitars and the holes for the tuning machines should get the Lee Valley or Freud bit special treatment.

I’ll report here how I like the Shopsmith bits when I get a chance to use them. I had my gallbladder pulled yesterday, so I probably won’t be out in the shop for a few weeks. I’m not supposed to lift 20lbs.

-- What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?

View RussellAP's profile


3103 posts in 2253 days

#5 posted 02-14-2013 10:57 PM

A good pilot hole and raise the bit to clean it often and they last longer. It’s hard for me to use one on my DP because I have it set so fast. I hate changing speed on the older Craftsman DP’s.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 2464 days

#6 posted 02-18-2013 04:48 AM

I’m not sure if we’re talking the same bits, but I have a full set of these from about 1980 (including the 1” size). To the best of my knowledge they were made by the Forest City Tool Works out of North Carolina.
They are fine performers and well designed with a scoring rim (ridge) just slightly above the cutting spur.

With this feature they cut very clean but are susceptible to burning if run too fast.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View SirSeth's profile


75 posts in 2192 days

#7 posted 02-18-2013 12:53 PM

I was unable to find a link between Forest City Tool and Shopsmith with a quick google search, however, it could be the same bits. These are made in the USA and look like similar to the picture. I’ve been recovering from surgery so I haven’t used them yet, but I’ll report when I do.

-- What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?

View Kickback's profile


127 posts in 2602 days

#8 posted 02-19-2013 01:56 AM

I just cleaned up a set of bradpoint bits that came with one of the 3 Shopsmith’s I have acquired in the last couple of years. These were original 1950’s vintage bits in their original box but they had obviously been sitting in their box since the 50’s without ever being chucked up. They also had acquired a good amount of rust from sitting around for so many years. So I decided to try out some Evaporust on them and WOW that stuff really works like a charm. They look literally almost brand new after sitting in the Evaporust for several days. They are nice bits and are as sharp as the day they were boxed.

-- "I work so I can fish"!

View SirSeth's profile


75 posts in 2192 days

#9 posted 02-19-2013 11:22 AM

Wow those are cool looking drills. Let us know how well they make holes. My Shopsmith was $450 and I brought it home in my 2000 Honda Civic sedan. I cleaned it up and it runs and looks beautiful! My shop is about 8’ x 12’ so it’s perfect.

-- What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?

View MrRon's profile


4718 posts in 3210 days

#10 posted 02-19-2013 07:21 PM

Kickback; The bits you show are not brad point bits. They are really auger bits, but without the screw center. Brad point bits are similar to regular twist drills, but with a pointed spur and a cutting lip.

View MrToolHunter's profile


82 posts in 3640 days

#11 posted 10-07-2013 08:48 PM

I’ve been away for some time and am just now catching up on topics of interest. Yes, your brad point bits were made for Shopsmith by Forest City and are excellent bits. They were labeled as Shopsmith or Shopmate, depending on the era and they are High Speed Steel, so they can withstand higher temperatures without losing their temper.

Shopsmith had many accessories private labeled by reputable brands. For example, Freud made Shopsmith’s carbide saw blades in Italy for many years. Vermont American made many of Shopsmith’s sawing accessories, such as the Shopsmith taper jig. The Shopmate AE-0134 “Dust Collection System” (shop vacuum) from Shopsmith was an excellent tool that was made by Shop-vac, but had features that were unique to Shopsmith.


-- and

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