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Gouge bits don't!!

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jimi43

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Following the revival of the hand drill thread, I thought it time I posted a new thread of my recent musings on gouge bits.



Now these ancient bits, sometimes called gouge...other times called shell or quill bits are really fascinating and ideal bits to fit those old brace or hand drills which seem to be increasingly popular at the moment.



They have a square tapered shanks which fit this type of "chuck"....



....and very securely indeed! Being of a square profile, the shank engages in the chuck with perfect registration and cannot move once tightened.

The key to the bit is the sharpening. It is treated just like an out-canal gouge...in that the bevel is on the outside and the inside channel is filed flat using a small round gouge stone or file and then polished with fine paper wrapped around the same.



You need to use an awl to start them off in the right place and prevent skipping but once started they cut a perfect hole....



One particular benefit of shell bits is that they do not deviate when crossing grain which is particularly useful when drilling end grain.

So...if you have one of these drills (or two!! :wink: ) then you could do worse than trying these beautiful old bits out in it...something to look out for at this year's bootfairs....which is where I found mine for pence!

Gouge bits...the bit that doesn't gouge!! :mrgreen:

Jim
 

Scouse

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jimi43":3ld6r96z said:
One particular benefit of shell bits is that they do not deviate when crossing grain which is particularly useful when drilling end grain.

So...if you have one of these drills (or two!! :wink: ) then you could do worse than trying these beautiful old bits out in it...something to look out for at this year's bootfairs....which is where I found mine for pence!

Gouge bits...the bit that doesn't gouge!! :mrgreen:
I have a few of these and they are truly versatile, but it is funny you should mention them now as I have been re-reading 'The Village Carpenter' by Walter Rose, wherein he describes using a 15 foot long(!!!) shell bit auger to drill out the centre of a log for use as a well pump. He comments that shell bits are the best tools for the job as they do not follow the grain but drill a straight hole. Might look out for one come the summer... Might need a bigger egg beater though! 8) :mrgreen:
 

dickm

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Trying to get my head around the working of that bit. What size is the hole it bores? Is it the circle of which the inside or the outside of the bit forms part of the circumference? (if you see what I mean!) My thinking is that the inside of the "gouge" has the edge, so it ought to cut that diameter. But then, how does the outside of the gouge get down the hole? And if it is the outside of the gouge, what happens to the wood between the edge and that outside surface?
Please enlighten me!
 

jimi43

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dickm":k8t1uvu0 said:
Trying to get my head around the working of that bit. What size is the hole it bores? Is it the circle of which the inside or the outside of the bit forms part of the circumference? (if you see what I mean!) My thinking is that the inside of the "gouge" has the edge, so it ought to cut that diameter. But then, how does the outside of the gouge get down the hole? And if it is the outside of the gouge, what happens to the wood between the edge and that outside surface?
Please enlighten me!
Hi Dick

They are basically small gouge chisels so THIS PROFILE is formed at the end.

You can see that the bevel sweeps back a bit and therefore the sharp edges go up the wings forming cutting surfaces.

As you turn the bit and put forward pressure it cuts a clean hole with a planing effect...and the waste comes out up the flute.

The good thing about this type of drill over twist and auger bits is that it cuts in both directions.

Generally, these are small bits...not sure what size you can get them up to but Scouse will know I bet.

Jim
 

Richard T

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I have one about the same width as the one you pictured Jim and also two that are both 5/16". One is marked "I.Sorby" the other is unmarked as far as I can see. I took some photos but it was either flash or nothing so they didn't turn out too well....

R.Underhill demonstrates them in the episode 'A Very Boring Programme'. He calls them 'spoon bits' and says they are popular with chair makers as they do not break through the other side of the leg and also because you can re angle them; they don't have a spike or lead screw so once you have started to bore in straight down you can tilt them in the hole to give the correct angle for the strut mortise.

As I mentioned elsewhere, I have a commission to (try) to make a big, scotch - eye auger version for the hollowing out of clogs in the traditional way.... We'll see. :?
 

xy mosian

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I have used one to drill around a broken screw. In use the one I had produced a small dowel, of sorts. Very handy for removing broken screws that had held door handles.
xy
 

bugbear

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Richard T":eawtj1nz said:
I have one about the same width as the one you pictured Jim and also two that are both 5/16". One is marked "I.Sorby" the other is unmarked as far as I can see. I took some photos but it was either flash or nothing so they didn't turn out too well....

R.Underhill demonstrates them in the episode 'A Very Boring Programme'. He calls them 'spoon bits' and says they are popular with chair makers as they do not break through the other side of the leg and also because you can re angle them; they don't have a spike or lead screw so once you have started to bore in straight down you can tilt them in the hole to give the correct angle for the strut mortise.
Spoon bits are not shell bits. Spoon bits have (nearly) half a closed end.

BugBear
 

jimi43

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bugbear":2bi8ilin said:
Richard T":2bi8ilin said:
I have one about the same width as the one you pictured Jim and also two that are both 5/16". One is marked "I.Sorby" the other is unmarked as far as I can see. I took some photos but it was either flash or nothing so they didn't turn out too well....

R.Underhill demonstrates them in the episode 'A Very Boring Programme'. He calls them 'spoon bits' and says they are popular with chair makers as they do not break through the other side of the leg and also because you can re angle them; they don't have a spike or lead screw so once you have started to bore in straight down you can tilt them in the hole to give the correct angle for the strut mortise.
Spoon bits are not shell bits. Spoon bits have (nearly) half a closed end.

BugBear
You beat me to it BB but Richard....another interesting type of bit that I shall be keeping my eyes open for.

Clearly the improvements with twist drills, Forstner bits by our dear Benjamin...and the many other variations on boring a hole were steps forward in hole technology over the years, but it is interesting to look back and see that the older types of boring irons had other qualities which the newer inventions lack.

Removing a broken screw shaft has to be one of the most difficult and annoying problems facing the wookworker, particularly brass screws which snap so easily. May I also venture to suggest another pain in the rectum...that of breaking off a small harden steel twist drill in wood.

Having a gouge bit just larger than the offending piece of metal seems to me to be the least disruptive way of extracting either successfully! Bravo xy ....great tip! =D>

Jim
 

AndyT

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Jim was wondering how big they go up to. From catalogues, the largest size listed seems to be 1/2" (eg in 1935 Buck and Hickman).

The largest that has fallen into my hands so far is about 3/8" - and although I agree with the praise given above, I find that the bigger sizes are hard work, and I'd prefer a centre bit or auger bit for anything bigger.
 

dickm

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jimi43":2e1garxt said:
They are basically small gouge chisels so THIS PROFILE is formed at the end.

You can see that the bevel sweeps back a bit and therefore the sharp edges go up the wings forming cutting surfaces.

As you turn the bit and put forward pressure it cuts a clean hole with a planing effect...and the waste comes out up the flute.
er.... still puzzled, I'm afraid.
Looking at your pic, even with the swept back grind, it looks to me as if the circumference of the cylinder passing through the EDGE is still less than that of the cylinder that encloses the whole bit.

Will have to go out to w'shop and do some experiments with gouges......
 

Richard T

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My (larger) two seem to be more toward the spoon ... (half shell?) The smaller one definitely the same profile as Jimi's.
Though I cleaned them up when I first got them I'm sure they could be sharper. I'll give them a go when I have time and try to get some legible photos when we get some proper daylight again.
 

jimi43

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Richard T":1ea2lnu6 said:
My (larger) two seem to be more toward the spoon ... (half shell?) The smaller one definitely the same profile as Jimi's.
Though I cleaned them up when I first got them I'm sure they could be sharper. I'll give them a go when I have time and try to get some legible photos when we get some proper daylight again.
Did you get around to sharpening them Richard?

Jim
 

Eric The Viking

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I'm morally certain there was a version of these supplied with Yankee Handyman screwdrivers years ago. The one I've got has a wooden handle, but my dad had/has one with a transparent plastic handle and space for six bits in it. Three of those were drills like that. I don't know if he's still got it - will ask.

E.
 

TheTiddles

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Eric The Viking":2f7ii880 said:
I'm morally certain there was a version of these supplied with Yankee Handyman screwdrivers years ago. The one I've got has a wooden handle, but my dad had/has one with a transparent plastic handle and space for six bits in it. Three of those were drills like that. I don't know if he's still got it - will ask.

E.
Yes, I have one (my dad's old one) and I used one just a day or two ago, made a nice hole in a bit of softwood, well, good enough to get a screw into it. I'd still go for a drillbit...

Aidan
 

Richard T

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Jimi wrote: "Did you get around to sharpening them Richard?"

'Fraid not yet Jim, and today would have been good for picture too .... I'll tie a knot in something to remind me.

Looking at them again, and looking at the WWS episode, they are not anywhere near true spoon bits. (Soup would run out of these spoons) So gouge bits they are.
 

Alf

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Eric The Viking":7ug12mnn said:
I'm morally certain there was a version of these supplied with Yankee Handyman screwdrivers years ago. The one I've got has a wooden handle, but my dad had/has one with a transparent plastic handle and space for six bits in it. Three of those were drills like that. I don't know if he's still got it - will ask.
Those'll be fluted bits - two shallow flutes down opposing sides. But if you can see only one side, they do look like they might be shell bits.

fluteddrillbit.jpeg

Manufactured, as you say, for Yankee screwdrivers, but most often as the bits for push drills. Also used to be the type of bit supplied with wheel braces/hand drills/eggbeaters - and much to be preferred to twist bits IME, especially in the smaller sizes.

In addition to shell bits and spoon bits, don't forget the nose bit (top):



A sort of half-and-half between the two. Because, y'know, I wouldn't want anyone to run out of types of bit to look for... :wink:
 

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Richard T

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As I've long been neglecting this thread, here, finally are some photos of my shell/gouge bits.

I gave the better shaped one a reasonable sharpen and had a go in some Elm.



Holes showing the distinctive button left in the middle in the shallower ones



It really does work well without any help from a lead screw, just pressure on the brace ... speaking of which ...



Has anyone seen one this slim? It's as narrow as a brace of this type can be as the handle is bent immediately after the ratchet mechanism. It's a Stanley No.40 - 5IN - I'm guessing that the 5IN is the traverse of the handle?? Good for small, quick stuff like this here shell bit but not so good for a wider, harder working bit.

And speaking of nose bits Alf, not that I want to get into a "who's got the biggest nose" competition, but I bought this 1 - 1/4" auger last summer -



It has a much less sticky out nose than the smaller bits and therefore needs seating. Ironically the best thing I can think of to do this would be a 1 - 1/4" screw lead bit; rather defeats the point somewhat, or rather uses one.
I guess it would come into its own with green wood mortising but I have not yet had a play.

Here's a close up of the business end



and an out of focus attempt at the stamp. This is the best of about a dozen I took trying (hoping) to get the camera to focus on it rather that everything else in the world ... :roll: Still, I hope you can see that it is Moulson Brothers.



It's a really crisp stamp for its age with a lovely zig zag border which makes it all the more frustrating that the thing refuses to be photographed.
I'll get it sharpened up when I look out a suitable slither of stone.
 

Richard T

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Good point Eric - The shell bits will dance around before centring unless you precede them with a centre punch or maybe a knick with a tight gouge, I didn't try that.

As for the auger, gawd only knows. :lol: As I said, an object - defeating start with a screw lead bit of the same size would appear to work the best but before they came along (which is where this nose bit dates from) dunno. Anyone know of a specific tool or trick?
 
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