There are different bits for different drilling jobs

February 28, 2009|By PAT LOGAN / Creators Syndicate

Dear Pat: I have been trying to fill my toolbox with the implements I will need to complete my home-improvement projects. I saw a set of quick-change drills, but they are fairly expensive. Are they worth the additional cost? -- Marilyn D.

Dear Marilyn: It can be a bit overwhelming when you walk through the hardware section of a home center store, especially when you unversed about tools to start with. Once you become more experienced with tools and do-it-yourself projects, you will be surprised by how few tools you really need. There will be a few key ones that you use most often.

Tools have been around for a very long time and there really is not that much new. The tool companies all feel they need to develop new ones each year so you put your old ones away and think you need new ones. I am still using my favorite hammer I bought more than 20 years ago.


It is important to use the proper tool jargon or you will not get respect from the salespeople in a hardware department. A "drill" as you called it, is actually called a "drill bit." The drill is the device, electric, cordless or mechanical, into which you place the drill bit. Cordless drills have progressed to the point where they are generally preferred over corded ones.

If you plan to do a project, which requires drilling several different size holes, a quick-change drill bit set can be a worthwhile investment. This is particularly true if you are using an older drill with a chuck that requires a key to tightenn it around the bit. With a keyed-chuck, it takes time to change a drill bit and you can scratch your knuckles if you are not careful.

The designs of keyless chucks, which you will find on most newer drills, have been improved to the point where they grip as well as a keyed chuck. A keyless chuck cuts the time for changing bits, but it still takes longer than when using quick-change bits.

If your hands are not particularly strong or if you have long fingernails, you might have a problem getting a keyless chuck to tighten on a small drill bit. When drilling in wood, it should not come loose, but drilling sheet metal is a different story. Sheet metal tends to grab the bit and stop it.

Most quick-change drill bits work in a similar fashion. A base socket is placed in the drill chuck. The sides of the base socket are a hexagonal shape, so it will not spin in the chuck even if you are unable to make it as tight as a man with strong hands. Once the base socket is in the drill, you need not mess with the chuck again.

You just insert a special drill bit into the base socket and you are ready to drill. It takes only a second or two. When you want a different drill size, you just remove that bit and insert another. The bases for all the bits in a set are the same. One reason professionals might not use quick-change bits is their higher cost. A drill bit can last several years for home use, but a professional can wear one out each day.

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