Windsor Chair Resources

Windsor chairmaking tips-tools

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Using Spoonbits

QUESTION:  This is my first attempt to use a spoon bit.  I am having problems when I first start.  The bit rides off the mark.  Any suggestions? JJ 4/12/03 

REPLY: You have to place the tip of the spoon bit a half diameter away from where you would like the center of the hole to be. Practice on some scrap until you get the hang of it. JMH 4/13/03

REPLY: Getting the hang of spoon bits takes quite a bit of practice. Typically you need to start them 1/3 to 1/2 the diameter of the bit away from the point you want for center. Different bits may need slightly different techniques. I usually apply some pressure and move the brace handle back and forth a few degrees to make a cut so the bit is in and cutting when you start. When you begin turning the brace if it wanders you need to tilt the top of brace away from the direction you want the bit to go. You sort of point it and steer it back towards where you want to go. Also don't try to change the angle of the hole until you have the end of the bit well into the wood. Starting on the curved surface of a bow is even more exciting, sometimes you end up with the bit pointed opposite of the direction you eventually want to be going before you can trun around and pay attention to your angle. It does take practice but is a fun and usefull skill and tool in the end. !  JT 4/13/03

REPLY: Here's an idea that JJ can try to get his spoon bits started right: Try starting the hole with a small gouge. The one you use to carve the gutters in the chair seat is a good size. Make a small dimple with the gouge, and the spoon bit will jump in and keep going. Or you can do the same thing with the bit before you put in in the brace. Later, you'll learn to do it after you chuck up, later still you'll be starting the holes dead center almost every time. (I still get the gouge out for the holes on the top rail of a sackback.) GB 4/14/03

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