Hand Tools Archive

Did not auger well

Jason in OC
I have a noob question on using a brace and auger bit, which can be summed up as "is it me or is it a crummy bit?" The story is that I was drilling a couple stopped 7/8" holes in a beech slab. I started out with a 7/8 forstner bit in a drill guide that sort of turns an electric drill into a mini press. I clamped that rig to the slab and zipped it right down. But, the forstner wasn't long enough to get the depth I needed. So, I got a 7/8 auger (Irwin) from the hardware store and put it in the brace. The brace crank is about 5" offset from the chuck. (Is that a 5" sweep or 10"?) The bit dug right in and quickly became VERY hard to turn. As in, one hand above the chuck, one hand on the crank, using most of my strength to lever it a quarter turn at a time. This seemed excessive but it was working. When I pulled it out to check my progress I encountered the opposite problem. I could not get the bit to start again. Even leaning on the pommel of the brace with my chest and cranking, the bit wouldn't cut and the lead screw just packed full of sawdust. I eventually got it started again by roughing up the bottom of the hole with a chisel.
So, am I missing something in the art of bracing and augering, or do I just have a two-bit bit?

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