Jameel “Jamal-Alabama” Abraham of Benchcrafted introduced me to these bits, and I still need to repay the favor with beer and/or bratwurst. These bits are the cat’s meow, knees and pyjamas.
Made in Japan, the WoodOwls cut through tough, wet, thick wood like it almost isn’t there. When you drill a lot of holes through 6”-thick wet French oak, these bits are a lifesaver. But even if you don’t build benches as part of your living, the WoodOwls are a great piece of kit.
I use them in chairmaking, especially when boring the holes in the seat for the legs. Even with a hand brace, the WoodOwls perform spectacularly, reducing the effort to make a deep hole.
The Ultra-Smooth Tri-spur Augers are ideal for general work. If you work in reclaimed wood, the Nailchipper version is a good choice (I have several Nailchippers x for construction jobs). Even though the Nailchipper bit is supposed to be for coarse work, it leave a surprisingly clean hole.
The only downside to the bits is they are metric, but they are sized closely to SAE. I honestly haven’t run into a problem where I needed a bigger- or smaller-diameter hole.
Now before you buy a whole set, I’d recommend you give one a try. Buy a 3/4” ($16.95) or 1” ($19.95) bit for some new holdfast holes in your workbench. After you use them, you’ll think they are ridiculously inexpensive for what you get.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. Megan Fitzpatrick has started a competing gift guide on the editor’s blog. Check it out here.
Read Day 1 of the gift guide here: Clauss Scissors.
Day two on a Boot Tray for Sharpening.
Day three on humidity monitors.
Day four on a MWTCA membership is here.
Day five on the Arno burnisher.
If you’d like to read gift guides from past years, check this link.