I’m 46 in two hours time.
I’ve been ‘uhmming and ahhing’ about buying a nice, vintage set or Irwin 13-piece bits for a while now. This Irwin set and the comparable Russell Jennings set are pretty much all you need for your brace. I don’t have the Jennings yet, but with a birthday due, I figured what the hell and found a nice set of the Irwins on the internet.
The Irwins were produced in a ‘Borchest’, or in a roll known as the ‘Borkit’. They did other smaller sets, ‘The Carpenter’, ‘Handy Sets’ (10 bits), or the ‘Home Set’ (6 bits), to name a few.
This Borchest set is graded in one 16th’s, so the number ‘9’, for example, is 9/16″. They are medium screw, so the pointed end of the bit is threaded neither particularly for pulling power into the wood, nor indeed for a fine cutting action, (it aims to do the best of both worlds). They are twin-spur bits, with two slicing edges which slice the circumference of the hole, for the main cutters to lift the grain and start ejecting the shaving cleanly. By watching the shavings ejected from the bored hole as you work, you can see if the shavings are of equal thickness. By this judgement, you know the cutters are sharing the work evenly.
The box has a few cosmetic problems which helped keep the price a little low. Having said that, with import VAT (why do you have to pay this on secondhand tools??) and some random handling fee as I got these from a guy in the US, I was back up to normal cost!
However, (deep breath), really pleased with these and now just need to upgrade my rather sad brace to something more in keeping for these superb bits. I still covet a North Bros 2100-2100A-2101-2101A, or maybe an Millers Falls Lion Brace, Parsons Deluxe Ratchet…? Maybe next birthday!