The Good: It bores small holes very well, Warranty is easy to execute.
The Bad: Shafts break very easily! Relatively expensive (when breakability is factored in).
The Basics: #50 MasterMechanic Wire Gauge Drill Bits might only be a tiny bit larger than the ones I was using before (#51), but they endure more and offer a better value!
As one who has just begun bookbinding, I have been enjoying flying in the face of what others who have been doing it tell me cannot be done. Namely, I handstitch my bindings and I do that by drilling the holes with very fine drill bits. After a few unsuccessful runs with MasterMechanic #51 Bits (reviewed here!), I opted to try the #50, which creates an indistinguishably larger hole. What a difference .003" makes in a drill bit!
The MasterMechanic #50 is a two-inch long drill bit that is only .0700" in diameter. This is a very small drill bit and one that creates a very small hole. I have found this hole size is ideal for holes one is sewing that require reinforced threads to go through twice (up and down the binding). The hole made by this bit would also be appropriate for tiny gauges of wire and my local Do It Best (formerly True Value) has these bits at $2.59/ea.
That price might not seem all that expensive, but I began to fear the hidden expense of my projects was in the bit when the first one I used snapped the first time I used it. I looked at it and noticed that it was not true (straight). Because there is a satisfaction guarantee, I returned it to the store and they replaced it. The five I have used since did not have any similar defects. It was, however, good to know the warranty could be easily exercised at the point of sale.
One of the selling points of the MasterMechanic #50 bit is the black oxide finish, which the packaging advertises causes the bit to run "cooler, lasts longer." Given that I am drilling paper, this has never become an issue; the paper has never been burnt or singed by the bit, so it seems to be working in that regard.
With the #50 bits, I have been using a Craftsman drill press and mounting the bits is very easy to determine that the bit is in straight. I lower the press though holes in a cardboard guide and on average, I have been getting five hundred holes per bit before the bit snaps and this is a much better value than bits that snap after only fifty holes.
The holes the bits make are precise, straight and even in diameter (as much as I can tell when sewing through them). This is an average drill bit for an uncommon size and in addition to not being the indestructible fine bit I have been searching for (I'm drilling paper, after all!), I suspect that these bits would be a better value - in price and environmental impact - in bulk and have not found them bulked yet.
Still, for simple, small hole needs, the #50 bit is likely to come through for most people doing craft or small projects around the house.
For other tools used for bookbinding, please check out my reviews of:
EZ Hold II 22" Adjustable Bar Clamp
DAP Weldwood Contact Cement
For other tool reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!
© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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