It’s hard to imagine that someone today could come up with a better Forstner bit , they were first patented in 1874. But today we used a new Forstner from a German company called Horst Miebach that chewed through wood like nothing I’ve ever seen.
The bit , unveiled at the International Woodworking Fair , was set to bore into the end grain of a chunk of white oak. I advanced the bit and it started throwing out shavings that looked like tiny ribbons , very unusual. Even more unusual is that as I fed the bit faster, it just kept diving into the wood. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t overfeed the bit.
The MaxiCut bit , sold under the Colt brand name , has several unusual features that make it work so well. Its exterior rim has been cut away to leave two saw-like teeth to score the perimeter of the hole. This, according to company officials, reduces the build-up of heat. And heat is what decreases the life of any bit.
Also, the cutting lips of the bit have grooves ground into them. These grooves, which the company calls “chipbreakers,” turn the big shavings that are typical of Forstner bits into little ribbons. These ribbons are easily extracted from the hole. This also increases the life of the bit and allow it to be fed faster into the work.
As a result of these improvements, these high-speed steel bits can last five times as long as regular bits, according to Jurgen Miebach, managing director of Horst Miebach.
Another impressive feature of the MaxiCut bit is the shank that you chuck into your drill. The shank has three slight cams ground into it. These cams lock the bit into the three jaws of your drill press’s chuck , or into the drill extension offered as an accessory. The rotation of the chuck locks the bit into place thanks to the cams.
The bits will be available in both metric and Imperial measurements in these ranges: 14mm to 55mm and 1/2″ to 2-1/4″. A typical 1-3/8″ bit should cost $35 , about the price of a typical premium Forstner.
Horst Miebach has been lining up U.S. distributors for the bits, which should be available in October. We’ve asked for a set to test, and we eagerly await their arrival.