Like most woodworkers, I believe that we like to read up on really cool advances in tools and technology. Like the table saw that stops instantly when unintended materials (like fingers) touch the blade. Or something of the sort that creates a buzz throughout the woodworking world. But like most of you, I only hear about these things when they are featured in magazines or discussed with my colleagues. The fact is that most of these featured advances in tools are too expensive to even consider for a small shop owner. On the other side of things, there are those small affordable advances in tools that don’t get much of the attention from the magazines yet would be useful to small shop owners.
A few years ago I was building a kitchen for my wife. There were about a dozen cabinets both for the floor and above. We planned out the space as well as we could but like all cabinets, she wanted the versatility of being able to adjust the shelves. Simple bored holes and pins are a standard practice and that was what I was going to do as well. I created a template for the holes to be bored which was good for all of the cabinets. When it came to drilling I did a few tests and found that using a standard wood bit with tape as a depth gauge was good but it had its faults as well. The greatest fault I experienced was wandering. No matter how I drilled the holes there was the slights movement which, in the end, allowed the pins to be just a bit loose when set into the holes. After speaking to a few friends, I was introduced to something that was never featured on the front page of my woodworking magazines: the Brad Point Boring Bit. The Brad point drill bit was created specifically for this function. With a small pin at the end of the bit, I was able to set the bit in the center of the hole to be drilled. As I drilled, this pin took hold and took away any chance of wandering. This bit is designed to elevate tear out on the edges which left me very little finish sanding.
It’s the small and usable things that I find that make me happy. Although new technology featured on the cover of a magazine creates intrigue and sells magazines, it’s the items like the Brad point drill bit which actually makes my work more pleasant in the shop. But that table saw safety stop is still really cool….