Bit and brace bits without wings any use?

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  • #708799

    Hi all,

    I recently bought an old tool chest filled with old stuff (I was after a few gouges in there). There were also a bunch of drill bits for a bit and brace, and on some of them the wings are completely worn down. I haven’t done anything with them yet, but wondered if they are any use at all, or just fit for the bin. Could I keep them for rough holes maybe, where the rim doesn’t have to look pretty? I should just try them probably, but wondered if anyone here has found a use for such bits before I start sharpening them.

    Many thanks!


    PS I wanted to search the tool maintenance forum for this question before posting, but couldn’t find a search box. Is it possible to search the individual forums (didn’t find anything similar after searchin the general forum search function)?

    Joost Borst

    Hi Sebastiaan,

    As far as I know once the wings are gone its off to the recycle bin. Someone correct me if Im wrong.

    For searching type the following into google and then your search terms.




    I think a guy with a mill could resurrect one , but i doubt you could justify the expense. You could file the cutting edge deeper with care , again , would it be worth it? It might be worth a try just to see. They are not that hard a steel

    Larry Geib

    First, google search has the “site:” funcition that allows you to restrict searches to only a website or part of website. A search that includes and search words will return results from that site. To find things from the tool maintenance portion of this site ( “bit”, for instance) you type in Bit

    As to your question on your bits, without seeing them it’s hard to give advice. If they are completely worn down Irwin, Jennings, or similar they might be toast, or they might be salvageable. Paul has a video on how to tell and how to sharpen spurbits.

    Search on : sharpening-auger-bit/

    The key here is you have to sharpen back the cutter enough so the Spur in front of it scores the wood before the cutter “sees” the wood. That may or may not be possible.

    But it’s possible that older bits don’t have traditional spurs and yours might be that type.. Swan, Sargent, Miller Falls and other companies produced other types to get around Jennings patents. If yours are one of those types, you might have a sought after find…

    I’ll post a couple samples.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Larry Geib.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Larry Geib.

    Thanks everyone!

    I’ll have another look at them and see if there are sizes I don’t yet have to try the grinding back method you suggested. I don’ think they’re the special ones Larry, but thanks very much for posting the photos. Quite beautiful things. Do they work well?

    Thanks also for the search suggestions (should’ve thought of that).

    Cheers, sebastiaan

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