ECN Forum
Posted By: BigB spade bit extensions - 02/23/07 03:53 AM
Any suggestions for some decent spade bit extensions? I'm tired of the Irwin junk falling apart and breaking, I lost three of them inside a wall today. the set screw ones (Irwin) are tedious to assemble when you're crammed into a tiny dark attic, plus they won't accept the hex shanks. The sleeve lock type (Irwin) accept hex shanks, but they twist in half or come unhitched a lot.
Just looking for some good quality if anyone has used some they would recommend.

Posted By: Niko Re: spade bit extensions - 02/23/07 04:02 AM
Sometimes i wrap tape around the release mechanism of the extention bit.
One problem i have is breaking the quick release hex section of the extender.

Posted By: BigB Re: spade bit extensions - 02/23/07 04:05 AM
Yes Edward, they have a small section at the hex end where the diameter is reduced! They always twist in half at that point. Plus they are not made of quality steel.
Posted By: trollog Re: spade bit extensions - 02/23/07 05:48 AM
I try to avoid spade bits- as abusive to the drill as they are to the operator. Ever considered a small auger bit? They are long enough you won't need an extension and since they are 1 piece.. nothing to loosen or fall off inside a wall. Just make sure your batteries are well charged. I love my 1/4 auger for doing little stuff- that and a cordless drill is like a mini-holehawg.
Posted By: Trumpy Re: spade bit extensions - 02/23/07 07:01 AM
I'm with Ryan (Trollog) on this one,
I tried the old spade bit when I started my apprenticeship, they last a few days, at the best.
Get yourself a good auger bit, they are available in diameters from 5/8" up to 2".
One other thing, the easiest way to break your wrist is to use a spade bit in hard Red Pine, when the drill jams.
Posted By: BigB Re: spade bit extensions - 02/23/07 01:20 PM
I have a lot of auger bits. I am considering using them for this purpose, but I will still need extensions. I am drilling 4 and 1/2 feet down from the top plate in this particular rewire, sometimes the blocking is up to six feet down. I drill two 1" holes in the top plate, one for the drill and one to look thru. Then I drill the wall blocking with extensions. I have used the flex bits but they are not so great, hard to control and they don't stay sharp for very long. Sometimes they blow out the side of the plaster wall.

I do a lot of historic homes, where the plaster is best left undisturbed.
Posted By: Tiger Re: spade bit extensions - 02/23/07 02:04 PM
It's a tough situation because of limited height in the attic, the distance to the lumber, and the age of the lumber. Maybe you could try an auger bit which will cut better...with the set-screw type heavy-shank extensions which won't break. You could pre-assemble extensions if there is enough height in the attic. This way there is more time in setup, but once you get there the hole drilling will be easy...with a right-angle drill.

Although I've never done it, you're job might be a little easier if you gave yourself a generous slot in the upper plate. You could take out quite a bit of the plate (1" X 12") which would allow more angle in feeding the extensions, as well as a better view.

Posted By: trollog Re: spade bit extensions - 02/23/07 02:23 PM
Those Forstner-style bits with a worm screw in the center that all the plumbers use for their holes are also nice for larger holes in wood, and they will fit on those hole hawg extensions. They are way more stable and easier to conrol than paddle bits and cut pretty good when they are dull, GREAT when they are sharp, and are substantial enough to snap a few nails if need be. They're easy to resharpen with a few passes from a file. They don't go as small as paddles, but the sizes on the small end will probably do the trick in most cases. The one problem with all of it is getting these things extended 6 feet.. 6 feet of holehawg extensions would get expensive quick if cost is even an issue, but on the other hand, you would have a variable extension you could lengthen or shorten in 18" segments as needed- nice when you are in a 2' crawl space and need to get a 6' extension down a hole. You might need to tap extra set screws into the standard extension to help control the wobble inherent in a shaft with so many junctions in it. On the "pro" side, however, forstner bits operate great at lower speeds than paddles which seem to like to spin as fast as possible. I agree with you totally on the flex bits.. junk. Never found a place to use them where something else wouldn't work better and with less trouble.
Posted By: renosteinke Re: spade bit extensions - 02/23/07 05:16 PM
It always amazes me, just how many different ways we use to make a hole! No matter how many methods you have, there's always another that you need....

I've got away from the spade bits, in part because they are useless after you bump into a nail. In general, I find ship augers to be a better choice.

That is changing, though. I have become a real fan of the forstner-type bits.

As for the long 'flex' bits, I have had decent results with them. When making a long reach ... and I have the space ... I have run multiple extensions inside a length of pipe as an assist to keeping things in line and on track.
Posted By: Obsaleet Re: spade bit extensions - 02/24/07 01:00 AM
I use several diamitors of the the flex bits for just what u are talking about. I drill 2 haole on topplate 1 for bit 1 to look down. The 5/8" flex bit is 6' long and has a larger shank, then I make sure to get it in the middle of the cross cat. It does get tough on the old plaster walls the plaster laying on the cats destroys the bits. I try not to use the flex bit that are like the ship aguer cause you cant sharpen them they need to have the bit tapered back.

Hope this link works.

Posted By: BigB Re: spade bit extensions - 02/25/07 02:43 AM
Thanks for all the tips. I bought a 5/8 x 18" auger bit and five Rigid extensions. I will try it Monday. I also have some forstner bits, never thought about using them. They will fit my Milwaukee extensions. As far as pricey, I can price them into the job, well worth it.

Obsaleet, whenever I work on the old plaster lath houses with the plaster piled up on the blocking, I use a masonary bit. It takes longer to get thru the wood, but it doesn't get destroyed by the plaster. You can get them in a flex bit also.

Reno I'm going to try that with the pipe and the flex bit.
Posted By: gfretwell Re: spade bit extensions - 02/25/07 05:46 AM
On the other hand, if you think there is a good chance you are going to hit a nail a spade bid is one you don't mind trashing. I am an unhappy camper when I hit a nail with a $40 ship auger.
In real life you can bring a spade bit back from the dead on a grinder in a minute or two. I have some that have been reground so many times they don't even like like a regular spade. I made one over 3' long to drill a sole plate from some allthread once (before I saw a Diversabit). It wasn't pretty but it worked.
I agree they are not very elegant and I like a nice auger but if it isn't virgin wood I will probably be using a spade.
Posted By: HCE727 Re: spade bit extensions - 02/25/07 11:44 AM
Check out these extensions, click on drill extensions. I have one and it is great, drilling with no ladder.
Posted By: Tiger Re: spade bit extensions - 02/25/07 01:00 PM
+1 on the Forstner type bits. I use them as often as augers, and they are the ones I use with extensions.

Posted By: renosteinke Re: spade bit extensions - 02/25/07 02:37 PM
It is possible that I was not clear as to the bits I am calling "Ship augers."

The ones I have in mind have no center shank, and are also intended to cut through nails. I takes quite a few impacts to make much of a difference in how they cut. Others claim success in dressing these with a file as well.
Posted By: Elviscat Re: spade bit extensions - 02/25/07 06:22 PM
this is a ship auger:
[Linked Image from]

This is a forstner bit:
[Linked Image from]
we have the forsteners in sizes down to 3/8ths
Posted By: Elviscat Re: spade bit extensions - 02/25/07 06:24 PM
on the augers and nails... hit a few framing nails, and they'll just snap or wrap around the leader with little or no damage, hit a framing nail and you'll still be able to drill holes, it'll just take a whole lotta force, or a dremel rotary tool.

IMHE (in my humble experience)
Posted By: gfretwell Re: spade bit extensions - 02/25/07 07:57 PM
The auger I trashed was like that but the nail knocked the edge off the tool to the point that it was gnawing through the wood, not cutting. I was using a ship auger for drilling 8" pilings and if ut isn't cutting clean it will quickly bind up. Clean chips walk down the auger and fall out, Grindings just clump up.
Posted By: BigB Re: spade bit extensions - 02/25/07 09:18 PM
Speaking of auger bits have you seen the new ones by Rigid? They only have one spiral at the cutting end with a screw tip, and the rest is just a small diameter shank. They were selling them at Home Depot for $12.00 for three in a package. They are not long, only 6 inches but they do cut thru the wood fast. Maybe spirals up the whole length are not really needed, as they do clog up.

[This message has been edited by BigB (edited 02-25-2007).]
Posted By: HCE727 Re: spade bit extensions - 02/26/07 01:31 AM
I have those bits from Rigid and I don't like them. Once the bit goes thru, because of the small shank, you have to line it up perfectly to pull it out, slows me up when drilling alot of holes.
Posted By: electricman786 Re: spade bit extensions - 02/26/07 05:43 AM
I am 100% agree with HCE727. Spending money on Ridge bits is wasting of money. Best bits are Milwaukee, green lee and lenox.
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