A Bit More News (Mostly Good)

The 5/8″ spade from Benchmark Abrasives.

With the Star-M bits and many other similar bits in short supply (in the chairmaking sizes), I had to switch back to spade bits for all my chairmaking activities.

This is not a horrible thing. In many ways I prefer the spade bits. They’re cheaper, they are easier for beginners to steer (because there are no side flutes that cut) and they are more readily available.

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I’m still not a fan of the new Irwin Speedbor spades. They removed the bit’s rim cutters so now they cut slowly. Too slowly in hardwoods. Why is slow-cutting bad? They cut so slowly that they heat up and soften in no time. You can cook a bit in just a couple holes in oak.

So I’ve been looking for alternatives to recommend. The WoodOwl spades are good, as I’ve mentioned before. But they are sometimes in short supply. So I’ve been buying a lot of bits from various suppliers and testing them. Most are quite poor. They cut slowly and lose their edge quickly.

I am happy to report that the spade bits from Benchmark Abrasives are very good. The 5/8″ spade is made in the USA (I don’t know who makes it). It cuts as fast as the old Irwins and seem to hold a good edge. And the price is right: $2.59 per.

Please don’t be a Greedy Gus and order 20 or 30 bits. I get about four or five chairs out of a spade bit (when it’s treated properly). 

— Christopher Schwarz

Source: lostartpress.com

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