I have just rescued some of my father’s tools from another member of the family. Among them are an assorted collection of auger bits for a hand brace. A few are the fluted variety that match Paul’s description in his sharpening video, but most are not. They don’t have any flutes at all.
The one I have photographed is stamped, ‘Morrison Sheffield and is a 1/2 inch bit.
I have two questions. First, how do I sharpen these bits and second, assuming I get them sharp, will they ever do a really good job? The few that have some sort of edge on them now seem to create a lot of tearout in starting the hole.
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Yes there are some You Tube video’s and of course Paul made one not long ago. I do have a questions is the screw end chewed up or broke ? Maybe I am looking at it wrong. But if the screw is messed up I am not sure what you can do.
Maybe some one with more experience will chime in.
Have searched for this without success. All the auger bit sharpening links are about bits with one or more side flutes that score the edge of the hole before the cutting surfaces engage with the wood. The bits I have don’t have the scribing flute and the cutting surfaces look different to the ones Paul describes.
The snails seem fine, it is just the cutting edges are dull. But I am concerned that without some sort of cutting edge to form the sides of the hole, the cutters will always cause tear out.
It is quite possible that these bits were for rough outdoor carpentry rather than finer cabinetry work, in which case I need to get some better ones.
The photo that you posted shows a bit with no spurs. The spur is the part that scores the wood ahead of the bit to minimize tear out. I’ve seen these referred to as ships augers and scotch pattern augers. There is not a lot of info that I could find on these, but this may help with your search.
Greg’s got it as far as I can tell. Barn augers are like this too. These are just an older style of auger bit where the spurs are reversed. Instead of scribing the hole ahead of the cutting edges, they cut after. So you need a nice cutting bevel on that part and the regular chisel part that cuts the bottom of the hole. The problem is they meet at a corner so you have the extra difficulty of getting that corner crisp. They won’t cut as nicely as a bit with spurs that cut first but will do a pretty good job if sharp.
Before screws were made by machine they were cut by hand with a file so you can improve/recut the threads on the snail if you’re very careful. You can polish them with some folded over wet/dry sandpaper or by putting some rubbing or polishing compound in a pilot hole and running the snail in and out.
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