Monday, November 5, 2012

Tool Product Fire Warning!!

Hey Stitchers!  Nick the Stitch here with a Fire Warning for a tool you might consider getting for things like doing coring in wood planks.  I had the rather unfortunate experience with it and although it didn't burn down North Florida, I did at least want to let you know it might not be a good tool to get.

Okay, so here goes.

There are times, like when I make a Whackadoo Set or a Rustic Wood Clock, when I need to drill a 1" or larger hole in a plank of wood, and I simply don't have a regular drill or auger bit to do it.  So I use a coring bit.

Essentially, a coring bit is a serrated-edged, short metal tube that can be attached to a drill bit (which is usually included) and secured to the drill bit by a spring-lock (like a Lencor) or, in the case of this tool I was using (Porter-Cable), a removable nut that is screwed onto the back of the drill bit.  Either way, the bit has a hexagonal shaft that goes into the collet of a power drill or impact drill.

I had a set of Lencors, they do very well, but they didn't have the sizes I needed for what I was doing.  Mind you, the Lencor set, 6 pieces and the shaft, was about $50.  Never had a problem with them, even though using them strips the paint off but as long as you can read the impressed size demarcations, you're okay.

Unfortunately, when I went tool shopping with my dad, he saw the Porter-Cable 6-piece set for $20 and said, "I'm buying that, it's cheaper than the Lencor and it has what you need."  And unfortunately, my dad is not one who debates or considers other people's points, even and especially when the other people are, shock and horror, correct.  I had told him that the Lencor, which was $90, was a better brand and I like using Lencors because of the quality.  Needless to say, I didn't get Lencor.

So this weekend, I used the Porter-Cable bits.  Here's what happened...

1) While using one of the bits, the cutting end got so hot that the metal -- not just the paint, but the metal!!! -- had burn marks.  Not scorch marks.  Burn marks.  And it burned and smoldered the wood while I used it, and I wasn't going full-speed either, plus I was using it on old, flaky pine 1x4s.

2) When I used a second bit, the entire bit got so hot in 1 minute of medium-speed use that it melted the part of the base past the nub on the drill bit keeping it in place.  I could not remove it, that was how bad it warped.

Lowes refused to issue a safety warning on the bits, telling me to contact Porter-Cable and let them know, but they were nice enough to give me store credit.  My dad was surprised the bits failed but said to me, "Oh well, guess they aren't good!"

So here's the rule I live by when I shop for anything important, that I also recommend for others: If it's a really important item you will be using a lot and putting through a lot of hoops, just spend the extra money for a more reliable one.  The more you pay now, the less you'll pay later.

Okay, so that's my good deed of the day.  I cannot find the listing on Lowes' website, but it's in the Tools Department at the drill-bit set section.  Please be safe and stay awesome!

- Nick the Stitch

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