Where do you guys buy single bits to replace bits in a set?

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Forum topic by C_PLUS_Woodworker posted 10-14-2013 11:44 PM 1026 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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599 posts in 1947 days

10-14-2013 11:44 PM

Where do you guys buy single bits to replace bits in a set?

I’ve looked around a lot, but still not sure where to buy decent single bits from a reputable source.

I have 4 sets of bits:

1. Forstner Bits – good quality – (none needed)

2. Brad Point Bits – decent quality (a couple of bits needed)

3. A high-quality bit set that I use for “good” work. (a couple of bits needed)

4. A regular ole’ set of about 30 bits that I have had for many years and are just fine for carpentry. I also use these on the Drill Press. I just keep running these though my Drill Doctor. Many bit sizes are missing.

I have found that I use about 1/4 of the bits in these sets kinda regularly.

I use another 1/4 of the bits rarely, but I want them when I need them.

Half of these bits almost never get used. The reason many of the bits in this category even get used at all is because I am missing the bit I want/need, and I end up going up a size or down a size.

BTW, all of us are missing the first 5-6 tiny bits in our sets. Right?

And, they are not missing becasue we used them up. They are missing becasue we busted them cuz they are so small. !!!

I found the answer to this problem.

Harbor Freight carries a $1.95 set of small, tiny bits.

I bought about 5 of these sets, combined them all by size and put them in separate containers by diameter.

I cannot tell you how handy that is.

The largest of the small bits I keep this way are 1/8th (which is the largest in the set). Perfect for many of the pilot holes I need.

And all the rest of these tiny bits (about 5 sizes or so) all have smaller diameters, so they do get SMALL.

And, now I do not care if a set is missing the first few tiny bits.

I just go to the “Tiny Bit” rack.

But, I really would appreciate some recommendations as to where to buy:

1) Good single bits and

2) Real Good single bits.

Best…......... Bruce.

-- We must all walk our own green mile

12 replies so far

View Tedstor's profile


1526 posts in 1672 days

#1 posted 10-14-2013 11:52 PM

I seem to remember Lee Valley selling individual bits. I’d check there.

View Handtooler's profile


1230 posts in 1172 days

#2 posted 10-15-2013 12:09 AM

Not trying to bw a wise a**. We have a couple or three sources in Chattanooga that sell primarily to machine shops and carry extra fine bits at a reasonable price and single fine bits at what youd expect to pay for lesser quality bits at a big box. I bought an unusual size Greenlee forstner bit about 20 years ago for $10.00 It’s still super and I’ve used it many times. Look for a machine shop in your area and ask where they source their single bits and index sets. say from 0-60 and upto 1”

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View Karson's profile


34987 posts in 3440 days

#3 posted 10-15-2013 12:35 AM

I find that I bought a 115 bit set in Cobalt and I’m pretty religious keeping that set together. It has number, letter and regular. about $99.00.

i also but a 29 bit set of Cobolt steel and have managed to keep ithem together.

The brad point or Titianum bit sets a got a couple of them around the shop and i can usually find the bit i need. Those are almost throwaway sets.

I live about 40 miles from a Harbor Freight and I get their sale catalogs and can usually find the bit sets on sale.
Some of the magazines give 20% off coupons on 1 item and i think I’ve got about 5 in my billfold at the present time.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 1078 days

#4 posted 10-15-2013 01:02 AM

But, I really would appreciate some recommendations as to where to buy:
1) Good single bits and
2) Real Good single bits.

If you want a good bit, shop where the machinists shop. MSC sells individual bits in any of a hundred different metals/angle/tips/coatings/twists etc. And with the smaller bits you need to worry about a lot more than just the bit. Runout on the chuck or any movement of the bit/work will break even an expensive bit when you start getting into the smaller # sized, there’s no way to just slap a #80 in a cordless drill and think you’re going to drill a few simple holes.
Personally I lucked out. Years of collecting machinist chests have left me with about 100 pounds of drill bits. I don’t bother to sharpen, if it seems dull I just chuck it in the trash.

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View gfadvm's profile


13773 posts in 1730 days

#5 posted 10-15-2013 01:02 AM

Wholesale Tool Company sells individual bit of various qualities. That’s where I buy my twist drill bits. I can buy individual Porter Cable brad points and Forstner bits at Lowes and Home Depot.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View bigblockyeti's profile


2448 posts in 760 days

#6 posted 10-15-2013 01:05 AM

I get mine from amazon, until they start charging sales tax.

View tefinn's profile


1222 posts in 1477 days

#7 posted 10-15-2013 01:12 AM

+1 on JustJoe’s suggestion. MCS is good. Also, Grainger is another good place to get bits.

-- Tom Finnigan - Measures? We don't need no stinking measures! - Hmm, maybe thats why my project pieces don't fit.

View Grandpa's profile


3246 posts in 1715 days

#8 posted 10-15-2013 01:17 AM

Rockler had a set on sale. Don’t know if it still is on sale. It had 30 bits I think. It was all of those little bits that are 1/4 and smaller. I bought some of these and they have worked well for me. $10 per set as I recall. Try looking on Rockler.

View ksubenny's profile


74 posts in 898 days

#9 posted 10-15-2013 02:41 AM

I’m in the same boat Joe is, got several bulk lots of misc cutting tools on various auctions, am set for the most part for a long time, but on those occassions were I do need a single drill bit/tap or related, McMaster Carr is where I generally go. The website is awesomely simple and functional, shipping is generally same day and prices are hard to beat, about the only complaint I’m aware of that some people have is that unless things have changed, you don’t get a shipping cost when you check out, you’re billed on the actual shipping cost. Some people like it, some people don’t, I probably issue 3-4 PO’s a week for work stuff to them and have yet to be disappointed

View mchuray's profile


81 posts in 2038 days

#10 posted 10-15-2013 06:38 PM

For brad points I’m partial to Lee Valley’s made in the USA bits. They cut really clean holes. Not cheap though. They have some premium STD twist drills also made in the US. Get my throwaway bits at HF. Sets are so cheap with a 20% coupon it doesn’t pay to get better to drill a temp hole in a 2×4. For 1/32 & 64th bits for I go to an industrial tool store. Will have to try MCS though.

View b2rtch's profile


4634 posts in 2088 days

#11 posted 10-15-2013 06:44 PM

Mc Master is good place
Avoid Grainger there are the most expensive, rip off.

I buy my bits at HF and I am happy with them.
Bruce, at work we buy our bits from Bolt Center in SLC.
Expensive but very good.

Bolt Center
(801) 486-5007

20 W Louise Ave, Salt Lake City, UT 84115

-- Bert

View DrDirt's profile


3555 posts in 2782 days

#12 posted 10-15-2013 06:57 PM

I Second Bert on McMaster Carr. Their Brad point bits are called ” clean cut bits for wood”

If I just needed a couple items especially twist drills – Menards/Lowes is good enough and avoids the wait and shipping charge.

-- “The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic.” ― H.L. Mencken, Minority Report

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