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Rockler forstner bits

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  • Rockler forstner bits

    Does anyone have any comments on tools from Rockler, specifically their 16pc forstner bit set? I've never bought anything from Rockler and never owned forstner bits. Would these bits be anything like Harbour Freight tools??

    Just as an aside. I want to the bits to make candle holder holes for votive candles in ironwood logs. I live in AZ and collect ironwood logs and branches when areas are cleared for new home construction or when someone cuts down a dead one. The wood is hard, very hard, but not too difficult to cut. I just sliced a 4 in diam dried log with my bandsaw without a problem.

    I don't have a drill press. How nice of a hole can I drill by hand? The candle holders will be very rustic/artsy.

    Thanks Dennis

  • #2
    Re: Rockler forstner bits

    I've tried Forstners like that, without the worm bit on it, I suggest you look for Milwaukee's self feeding bits instead.
    They're more expensive, but after trying one like the one in the pic it sat in my toolbox for years till I finally junked it.
    Forstners need assistance in boring, without a worm bit it's a workout.


    • #3
      Re: Rockler forstner bits


      I've made a few purchases of other items from Rockler and have found their quality to be pretty decent. I can't speak for the Forstner bit though, but I would think that they should be better quality than Harbor Freight.

      The advantage to "Forstner Bits" is that they leave a fairly well-finished, flat-bottomed hole. They're not really for use in drilling thru holes. If, as previously suggested, you need a self-feeding drill bit, a Forstner-type bit is not for you and in fact, that defeats the advantagle of the Forstner bit which is to leave a flat-bottomed hole. (IMO anyway!).

      IMO, Forstner bits do require some measure of force and should be used with a drill press, although a portable drill-guide ( or ) could also be utilized.

      I hope this helps,



      • #4
        Re: Rockler forstner bits

        I have that set of forstner bits you're talking about and I couldn't be more pleased, especially considering the $44 price tag. I only use them on my drill press, and of course i would prefer self feeding bits, but for the money i would defintley recommend the Rockler bits.



        • #5
          Re: Rockler forstner bits

          Unless you want your candles to look like the Leaning Tower Of Pisa you need a drill press as it will be very difficult to drill perfectly straight holes by hand.

          I also wonder whether or not you really need a big set like that. If most of your candles will be the same size you might be better off to invest in a single carbide tipped forstner bit. Freud offers carbide forstner bits as does Lee Valley. A carbide bit will last much longer than the HSS bits.
          I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


          • #6
            Re: Rockler forstner bits

            If boring it by hand using a brace, you want what is called a center bit. If in iron wood, have a good file on hand to resharpen them, and you will have to have the wood well secured to force the bit into it. An auger bit may work, but will be tough if going cross grain in iron wood. Either bit will need to be sharp. A forstner bit will work if you are using a breast drill, but it will give you a workout!! The Freud ones are excellent bits IMHO. I don't think you will be able to get a decent hole in iron wood with a spade bit.

            Neither of the above will give a tapered hole, so you may need to follow them with a spade bit filed to the taper you want if you can't find a tapered reamer of the right size. Making one (tapered reamer) is a project in itself but can be done.

            (This in in the event that by saying you are boring "by hand" you are meaning non-powered tools.)


            Just saw your other post. You may need a hole saw with a power drill to cut a large enough hole for those candles. Lowe's sells a variety of sizes under the Lenox brand, which I have had very good luck with up to the 4"+ diameter as to running true. You will need a good chisel to knock out the center part after you drill the diameter to depth. Start chiseling toward the center from about 1/8" from the inside edge. and gradually work deeper. Clean up the edge after you get the center pretty much removed.
            If you use a smaller forstner bit on the inner area (use a piece of tape on the shank to keep track of your depth), you can get a lot of the wood out before final cleanup with the chisel. You can try a large forstner bit, but beware if it grabs it can do your wrist some major damage (same with the hole saw).
            Last edited by Gofor; 09-12-2007, 08:52 PM.
            Practicing at practical wood working


            • #7
              Re: Rockler forstner bits

              If you are going to be making lots of the candle holders please think about getting a drill press. As BadgerDave said it's just too hard to drill straight by hand. Even if the hole is just a bit off with a 12 inch candle you'll end up hating your work if the hole is off.

              You'll find a drill press to pay for itself in little time with reduced scraps and frustration. One or two good carbide forstner bits would be the way to go if you are making many of them up. If not one of them, you might try a TiN (bright gold color) treated one. Carbon and HS steel will wear pretty fast in hardwood and have to be sharpened.