Forstner Bit Problems! WHY????

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodturning forum

Forum topic by AnthonyD posted 557 days ago 1781 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View AnthonyD's profile


20 posts in 567 days

557 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question drill-driver lathe turning milling woodburning shaker

So Im making some salt and pepper shakers and grinders. Theyre coming out nice but when I drill out the center with my forstner on the lathe, they smoke and burn the wood pretty badly. No matter how slow I go, it keeps burning up. I cant figure out why. They arent cheap bits. Theyre not the best but they arent bad. Maybe I need to buy better ones? Doesnt anyone know what I can do or at least why this keeps happening??

PS. I am New to LJ and I just have to say that the people on this site are just amazing. Every forum topic I post is mostly about troubles that I run into and everyone is just soooo helpful. Thank you to everyone who gives me thair advise, and those who comment on my projects.

-- AJ DeSantis

12 replies so far

View RussellAP's profile


2950 posts in 922 days

#1 posted 557 days ago

Maybe you need a larger pilot hole.

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

View RussellAP's profile


2950 posts in 922 days

#2 posted 557 days ago

What wood are you using? How fast is the lathe turning? Is it turning the right direction?

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

View Mosquito's profile


4650 posts in 928 days

#3 posted 557 days ago

I don’t have any experiences with the lathe aspect, but I’m not sure slower feed rate is the answer (if that’s what you meant by slower). In fact, it’s probably the opposite when using the lathe.

What’s the RPM of the lathe you’re trying to use, and size of forstner bit?
This can be a useful chart for recommended drilling speed (RPM) for various bits for hard or soft wood.

Hope that can help a little.

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN -- Stanley #45 Evangelist -

View lew's profile


10006 posts in 2391 days

#4 posted 557 days ago

Even new Forstner bits will burn in most hard wood, especially the larger diameter bits. Not sure what your lathe slowest speed setting can be but a couple of hundred RPMs is about as fast as you want to go, if possible.
Also, you are probably boring into end grain- which compounds the problem. Extracting the chips often can help some. The only other thing I can think might be happening is that the wooden blank and the bit are not coplanar. That is the center line of the blank and the center line of the bit may be at a slight angle. This would make one side of the bit rub more as it cuts thru the wood..
On the positive side, it’s on the inside and out of site.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Phil53's profile


89 posts in 2258 days

#5 posted 557 days ago

I still consider myself a beginner but here are some of the things I have run into.
Make sure your bit is sharp and clean. Just because it is new does not mean that it is sharp.
Looks like you a cutting into end grain and that is tuff on any bit.
Also play with you speed a little that will make a diffrence.

Have fun…

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2199 posts in 1794 days

#6 posted 557 days ago

I bored out the end grain in regular 2×4s using a 3/4” forstner bit the other day. It took considerable muscle to do that job, but I didn’t get any tear out. This is a tough task with hardwood. You will need very slow speeds and considerable boring pressure with a larger forstner bit in order to limit the burning. I’m not sure how that works on a lathe (explain please), but I’d also considering pre-boring most of the waste with a conventional bit or even a hole saw. You can then take a finish cut with the forstner bit, requiring less boring pressure to make the cut.

I’d consider drilling out the holes on a drill press.

-- jay,

View RussellAP's profile


2950 posts in 922 days

#7 posted 557 days ago

It might profit you in future projects to use a system of stepping up from a 3/8 hole with progressively larger bits until you get the right diameter. Then you can turn the hole to fit the stopper.

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

View jeff's profile


644 posts in 2101 days

#8 posted 557 days ago

I agree with RussellAP…I recently attended a class on how to make a peppermill at our local Woodcraft store and i used two forstner bits to drill out the hole for the peppermill and my wood choice was mesquite-which is pretty hard wood…

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13848 posts in 974 days

#9 posted 557 days ago

When I was drilling mine I was drilling into the end grain. I was amazed how fast it dulled my Forster bits. Then it drilled hard slow and burned. That would be my guess.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


2497 posts in 987 days

#10 posted 557 days ago

Slow down the speed and increase the feed rate. Also back out frequently to clear the chips.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View PurpLev's profile


8476 posts in 2284 days

#11 posted 557 days ago

step up to your final hole. since you are on the lathe, the alignment is automatically set for you by the machine, so you don’t need to drill the final size hole with the actual bit using the brad in the center to keep it centered.

1. start with a smaller forstner, and use a larger one in each boring operation until you reach your final size.

2. don’t slow the lathe too much or you’ll get poor cut quality and/or a chance for the bit to snag and split the wood. practice makes perfect.

3. don’t feed too slow or you’ll smoke the wood/bit with too much ongoing friction between the 2. feed in, and pull bit out to clear chips – rinse and repeat.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View RogerInColorado's profile


291 posts in 590 days

#12 posted 557 days ago

When the bit gets hot to the touch, let it cool before you proceed. Big friction generates lots of head, especially in larger bits. Problem is compounded in end grain.

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

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase