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You Get What You Pay For With Hole Saw Bit

Everybody knows the told saying "you get what you pay for". Some people follow it religiously, some people never follow it and sometimes people pick and choose when to pay more. I'd say I generally pick and choose with a slight tendency to pay a little more to get something nicer. However, I think I might finally be convinced that you get what you pay for.

I just got a new desk for my office and I got sick of all the cords so I decided to drill some holes and put some grommets to finish off the look. With the holes in my desk I can run the cords underneath instead of in plain sight.

Being more of a woodworker than a carpenter I had never purchased a hole saw bit. For some, a hole saw bit seems like a very common bit but until now my large hole needs were satisfied with my inexpensive forstner style bits.

My dilemma facing me was my need for a 2 3/8 hole in a laminated particle board top. Clearly a forstner bit isn't the bit of choice for this job. A hole saw is perfect, it centers itself nicely and only removes the perimeter of the hole so you don't have to chew through the hole thing like a forster bit.

My trip to my local mega home store had a reasonable range of bit sizes. However, only the most expensive bimetal bits (which didn't come with the center drill bit) came in the correct size for me. After moaning and groaning over my single use of this $20 Blu-Mol bit combo I finally jumped in and dropped every bit of my hard earned Andy Jackson on that bit combo.

After getting it to my office and assembling the bit, I was ready to drill. It seemed to power through with my 12 volt cordless with enough ease. I went slowly and the whole process probably took 30 seconds.

A few weeks later my computer cords were all nicely tucked away but now my telephone cords were getting jealous. I went to the store and picked up a smaller grommet for me phone, what is the sense in making a bigger hole when only a smaller hole is needed. This new grommet called for a 2" hole. In retrospect I should have just used the same size. Giving up 3/8" of desk space behind my phone really isn't a big deal.

My next trip to the mega home store gave me many more options, this time I could pick out anything I wanted because a 2" hole saw bit is very common. Happy to purchase the less expensive bits I opted for a 4 bit set that included my 2" that I needed. What a value, for less than the price of 1 bit, I purchased 4 bits and these even included the center twist bit too. For one hole I can deal with what I assumed would be an unperceivable difference in quality.

At first I started drilling and was happy with my results. The bit didn't grab and seemed to be drilling fine. After about 15 seconds I stopped to admire my work and clean off the dust (a very fine powder). I had maybe drilled 1/8", much less than expected. Assuming I had done something wrong I tried different drilling speeds, I tried more pressure and I even tried less pressure. I had to stop many time during my drilling to cool down the bit. After what must have been 5 or more minutes I finally got through to top. By my estimations, this new bit took at least 10 times longer to drill through a smaller hole.

Now don't get me wrong, if you only have to drill 1 hole, a cheap bit will work just fine. I'd gladly give up 5 minutes for $10 in my pocket. However, I suspect these bits will outlast me so I see no reason to go through my life struggling with cruddy dull bits rather than blazing through wood with some nice sharp bits. If you do it for a living or have many hole to drill, the choice becomes abundantly clear, don't try to cheap out and spend some money on the right bit


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