Sunday, July 31, 2011

My MasterMechanic Drill Bits (#51) That I Keep Going Through!

The Good: While it works, it bores small holes very well!
The Bad: Shafts break very easily! Relatively expensive (when quality issue is factored in).
The Basics: Projects take on an additional expense when the fine drill bits, like the #51 MasterMechanic Wire Gauge Drill Bit continue to break on them!

I have recently taken up bookbinding and laughing in the face of teachers who say such things cannot be done, I have discovered that carefully drilling holes along a binding and handstitching the binding makes for great, strong, well-reinforced bindings. In order to do that, I have found myself using MasterMechanic #51 Wire Gauge Drill Bits.

The MasterMechanic #51 is a two-inch long drill bit that is only .0670" 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 has these bits at $2.15/ea.

That price might not seem all that expensive, save that these bits have terrible durability. One of the selling points of the MasterMechanic #51 bit is the black oxide finish. This is supposed to keep the bit cool when one is drilling a lot with it and that is supposed to help the bit last longer. Keeping in mind that all I have been drilling with these bits is paper - tightly packed and less than an inch thick! - it is deplorable that one bit lasts me only an average of fifty to one hundred holes before the shaft snaps.

I use a Craftsman drill and know the proper technique for drilling (in this case straight down through premade holes in a cardboard guide) so there is not a sufficiently good reason that these bits would not be able to handle more than a hundred holes without breaking. The holes the bits make are precise, straight and even in diameter (as much as I can tell when sewing through them), but considering the average book has only twenty-five to thirty holes and I take over ten minutes to reload guides between each drilling session, this is a poor bit that breaks far too easily; one may only imagine how quickly they would give out on harder substances like wood.

The MasterMechanic #51 Drill Bit does come with a satisfaction guarantee, but my local hardware store will not honor that; I have sent one (of many) broken bits back to MasterMechanic and I am awaiting a replacement. Still, the inability of this bit to hold together over a relatively easy drilling function - and I have been through eight of these bits now! - is frustrating.

As soon as I find another brand producing drill bits in the #51 size, which is an admittedly fine and hard to find size, I will likely be replacing my MasterMechanic bits with theirs!

For other tools, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Gator Grips Universal Socket
9" Caulking Gun
Stanley 6 5/8 60-003 Screwdriver


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© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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