Finding good auger bits that work in a brace is almost impossible in places of the world that don’t have a lot of vintage tools (such as the Midwest and West). And even if you do manage to get some of these bits, they are frequently bent, misfiled, used up or rusted beyond recovery.
Tools for Working Wood in Brooklyn now offers traditional Jennings-style augers with the tapered square shank that works in a bit brace. These European-made bits are the real deal. They are true to size (not metric) and have the proper cutting lips and spurs.
Their lead screws are well-formed and the bits chuck perfectly in a vintage brace. The bits are offered in nine sizes from 1⁄4″ to 1″ and come sharp; you don’t need to do any tuning or filing before you start boring.
My only quibble is the flutes. I wish they were polished and their sharp corners were eased at the factory – like vintage Jennings-pattern bits I’ve owned. You can (and should) ease the sharp flutes yourself with some fine sandpaper.
The bits cost between $31.95 and $43.45 each. If you buy some, be sure to pick up an auger-bit file at the same time so you can keep the bits in good shape for years to come.
The other important thing to buy or make is a tool roll or box to store your augers. The reason these ones work so well is all of the cutting surfaces are perfect from the factory. But throw them in a tool box unprotected and they’ll soon end up as bad as the ones you find at flea markets for a quarter.
Kudos to Tools for Working Wood for helping bring back another almost-vanished and critical tool for handwork.
Buy it here