I came across a neat tip the other day that I just had to try. I have been reading a fantastic old book by Aldren A. Watson called "Hand Tools: Their Ways and Workings." Really, one of the best hand tool books I have read.
In his writings about the brace and bit, he suggests practicing by marking a point on the face of a board, then moving the mark over to the other side. Now, you can practice straight boring by starting the bit on one side, and when the screws pop out the other side, you can see if you hit the mark or not.
I picked out the thickest piece of beech scrap I had in the shop to practice on. I need to bore holes through the top of my oak bench for dog holes. The bench is well over five inches thick. A small error should be magnified.
The good news is, if the dog hole isn't perfect, it should still work. Lucky for me.
I decided to use 1" dowels for dogs. I like wooden dogs because they are cheap, and easy on your tools. I plan to put one in every dog hole. I bought some walnut dowels from Bell Forest because they were among the cheapest that I thought would look cool.
So, here goes with the video:
You notice that I trashed the bit at the end. I remembered having broken off a lag bolt while installing the chop, but I figured it wasn't in the way of where I was drilling. WRONG!
I sent an SOS to Joshua Clark at hyperkitten.com/ hoping he has a spare #16 bit rolling around somewhere that he can send me.
I think that the practice on the scrap warmed me up nicely for some straight boring. I am sure it isn't perfect, but like I said, the dogs will still work just as good.
I finished two holes in the bench besides the one in the chop. The bit worked a lot slower after having been damaged. When I started you can see in the video the big, heavy shavings I get from the oak. But, after I ground the spurs down on that lag bolt it took very fine shavings and cut very reluctantly.
So, let's here your story of the last tool you broke in the shop. What happened?