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View Full Version : Is it normal for philips head bits to just sheer off?!?!



Brendan Plavis
04-25-2010, 6:49 PM
The other day I was creating a fence for my bandsaw(Im cheap, and really dont want to buy a fence that I can make(had some Makarov polycarb left from a project.) The screw was giving me trouble going in all the way. It began to torque out of my hand. I held it down a little better, and next think I hear is a loud crack. I thought I broke the polycarb.... nope... the top half of the philips bit completely broke off of the bottom half...

I have broken screws off at the head before. As well as breaking drill bits(I knocked the drill off where I had it pearched for ease of grabing, and the 1/16th bit broke in half.) But this is the first time I have done this... so now, I have to find the time to go get another freakin bit.....

Talk about luck.....

-Brendan

Aaron Wingert
04-25-2010, 6:53 PM
I've broken dozens of them that way over the years Brendan. Tends to happen more when I use the impact driver, but I recall it happening from time to time with corded and cordless drills as well. Never hurts to have a few extras on hand!

David Helm
04-25-2010, 6:55 PM
Bits do sometimes break. Are you telling us you only had one bit? Buy your bits by the pound, you'll never run out. In my experience, bits stay in new condition for only a short time. They're cheap and should be replaced as needed.

Brendan Plavis
04-25-2010, 7:06 PM
Bits do sometimes break. Are you telling us you only had one bit? Buy your bits by the pound, you'll never run out. In my experience, bits stay in new condition for only a short time. They're cheap and should be replaced as needed.

Thats what I am telling ya! Cut me some slack, I am still an *hate to say this* inexperienced woodworker... I never knew that they break that often.... I guess me not buying bulk is like my common mistake of thinking that I can walk barefoot in the same place I do my woodworking(pulled many a nail from my foot..)


Thanks for the suggestion.

-Brendan

Jeff Monson
04-25-2010, 7:12 PM
buy decent bits and they should not break, buy cheap bits and they tend to break. that's my experience anyways.

Britt Lifsey
04-25-2010, 7:52 PM
Yes it is common...they are made to shear off so you don't damage the screw or your drill :rolleyes: :p :rolleyes: Totally joking of course! But, not surprising with the new "quality" of things being made these days.

I've never seen one shear off at the shank but the little "wings" that make the cross part of the bit can wear out fairly quick. Once you've worn one down and change to a new bit the difference is really noticeable.

Jack Lemley
04-25-2010, 8:11 PM
The other day I was creating a fence for my bandsaw(Im cheap, and really dont want to buy a fence that I can make(had some Makarov polycarb left from a project.) The screw was giving me trouble going in all the way. It began to torque out of my hand. I held it down a little better, and next think I hear is a loud crack. I thought I broke the polycarb.... nope... the top half of the philips bit completely broke off of the bottom half...

I have broken screws off at the head before. As well as breaking drill bits(I knocked the drill off where I had it pearched for ease of grabing, and the 1/16th bit broke in half.) But this is the first time I have done this... so now, I have to find the time to go get another freakin bit.....

Talk about luck.....

-Brendan

Brendan,

I have used square drive and phillips bits in my cordless drills for over 25 years and never broken a bit. And yes, I use them in 18v impact drivers such as Makita and Ryobi as well. I have always bought my bits from McFeelys where I also buy my screws. I have a square drive bit I bought over 20 years ago that I still use. I have driven 3 1/2 inch screws building decks and everything in between. In my own experience I buy quality and that has worked very well for me. Never bought bulk driver bits.

Jack

Vijay Kumar
04-25-2010, 8:14 PM
I have never seen that happen. However as others menton it is always good to have extra driver bits. I tend to have extra bits on hand of various lengths "just in case". These days I tend to use square drive screws and bits from Mcfeely's, so I am accumulating bits.

On the good side it is better to have the bit fail rather than the screw break inside the plastic. Then you would had a really difficult time saving that workpiece.

Vijay

Neil Brooks
04-25-2010, 8:48 PM
Brendan-

It's obvious you're buying BETTER FASTENERS than I wind up with ;)

The heads always snap off my fasteners, if anything.

Never broken a bit, either....

Russ Buddle
04-25-2010, 8:53 PM
This is one of those deals, the more work you do, the more stuff you break. The guys in my shop, and myself, have broken screw tips, drill bits up to 1/2", router bits, sanding belts, and most other power tool accessories. We try to keep enough extras on hand, and treat them as consumables.

Brendan Plavis
04-25-2010, 8:56 PM
Brendan-

It's obvious you're buying BETTER FASTENERS than I wind up with ;)

The heads always snap off my fasteners, if anything.

Never broken a bit, either....

Lol.... I think it was just too much torque on it(drilling though polycarbonate as well as fir.)

Steve Griffin
04-25-2010, 9:08 PM
-Broken dozens of phillips driver heads
-A handful of square drive heads
-And just about every other "grabber" screw I have used broke. (the worst screw ever invented is still a favorite of many carpenters)
-Dozens of allen head set screws have broke
-Thousands of allen head screws stripped.

Those who claim to never have broken anything are obviously physically weak, or have not actually spent much time building stuff.

-Steve

Larry Frank
04-25-2010, 9:25 PM
Driver bits are expendable and you should always have extras on hand.

I am guilty of using most of the driver bits too long. They tend to wear on the edges and then will more easily come out especially the phillips. Now, I usually throw them away when they show wear ont he tips rather than risk a problem driving them.

As other have alread said - Buy good quality and buy plenty of them.

Brendan Plavis
04-25-2010, 9:38 PM
Maybe thats why the screws were always getting stripped....

Myk Rian
04-25-2010, 10:22 PM
The borg stores sell cheap screws. I've had many of them break off.

Dan Keeling
04-25-2010, 11:16 PM
I would recommend trying an "impact ready" or "ice" bit. They are designed to take the extra abuse that destroys cheaper bits.

Ray Newman
04-25-2010, 11:47 PM
As one poster stated, it is advisable to discard worn or damaged driver bits.

Also, drilling the proper sized shank and pilot hole as well as applying some lube when driving the screw will go along way in reducing screw and bit failures.

And of course, quality tools and materials usually work better....

John Denture
04-25-2010, 11:56 PM
The other day I was creating a fence for my bandsaw(Im cheap, and really dont want to buy a fence that I can make(had some Makarov polycarb left from a project.) The screw was giving me trouble going in all the way. It began to torque out of my hand. I held it down a little better, and next think I hear is a loud crack. I thought I broke the polycarb.... nope... the top half of the philips bit completely broke off of the bottom half...

I have broken screws off at the head before. As well as breaking drill bits(I knocked the drill off where I had it pearched for ease of grabing, and the 1/16th bit broke in half.) But this is the first time I have done this... so now, I have to find the time to go get another freakin bit...


Yes it's extremely common for cheap Chinese bits to do this. One by one makers have been cheapening their bits to the point of worthlessness. Dewalt? Sold out years ago. Bosch? No good. VA? Nope. Hilti? Moved from Germany to Taiwan last year. Without exception, I've broken almost every Chinese bit I've used (my other favorite is Chinese-made bit holders, which snap off without provocation)- I suspect that most of them are made in the same factory. I periodically locate old stock or a manufacturer that still makes bits with quality alloy (Wiha comes to mind, for instance), and buy up a quantity. The better bits should be nearly impossible to crack- they'll just slowly wear out from constant use.

Van Huskey
04-26-2010, 12:01 AM
I have broken a few working with serious impact drivers but not with just a drill or by hand. It was probably already cracked or flawed from new. Either find some good ones OR buy lots. Pilot holes can be your friend in difficult material as well.

John Denture
04-26-2010, 12:03 AM
-Broken dozens of phillips driver heads
-A handful of square drive heads
-And just about every other "grabber" screw I have used broke. (the worst screw ever invented is still a favorite of many carpenters)
-Dozens of allen head set screws have broke
-Thousands of allen head screws stripped.

Those who claim to never have broken anything are obviously physically weak, or have not actually spent much time building stuff.

-Steve


Steve, actually it's likely they just buy cheap materials (as you apparently do :-) )

One can easily buy a box of Borg screws and break off or strip out every one in cheap plantation Douglas fir. It's gotten so bad that the only mass-market screws that I can find that'll drive without immediately disintegrating are the torx-drive semi-hardened ones.

I generally shell out the extra for a good screw like Spax- I have driven a thousand of them (without even predrilling) and not broken or stripped a single screw, whereas the average cheap junk sold nowadays would have at least a 10-20% failure rate even after weeding out the numerous defective screws. It makes the "expensive" fasteners and bits a truly great value- even without factoring in my expensive time.

Anybody who's exasperated with failed bits and fasteners should make an attempt to spend a little extra on quality products- they may never go back.

Glen Butler
04-26-2010, 12:04 AM
[QUOTE=Steve Griffin;1408437
Those who claim to never have broken anything are obviously physically weak, or have not actually spent much time building stuff.

-Steve[/QUOTE]

Amen to this.

However, since switching to a torx drive grabber I have not broken a single bit. My first bit from GRK fasteners purchased years ago is finally showing enough wear that I will probably retire it. It has driven several thousand screws. The grabbers break less often too. Its nearly impossible to break one in fur. They will drive straight through the wood if the bit is long enough. I have broken a few in hardwoods, though.

Glen Butler
04-26-2010, 12:07 AM
Steve, actually it's likely they just buy cheap materials (as you apparently do :-) )



The problem these days is finding the quality materials. Everyone has cheapened everything.

Cody Colston
04-26-2010, 8:50 AM
A lot of you guys sure use a lot of screws for woodworkers...and poor old Norm gets dissed for using his brad nailer. :rolleyes:

I've broken one or two bits and have worn out many more. I've also cammed out about as many McFeeley square drive screwheads as I have Borg Phillips heads.

Except for drywall screws which I use on jigs and temporary fixtures, I don't know that I've ever snapped off a screw head. I even re-use a lot of those Borg galvanized screws on outdoor projects.

Like several wrote here, get a bunch of those scewdriver bits. When they start to look worn, chunk them and put in a new one. They are cheap, they are replaceable and changing them regularly will save you some grief.

Matt Meiser
04-26-2010, 8:59 AM
I mostly break them in an impact when I'm doing something other than fine woodworking. That includes a Lee Valley square drive bit which I'd assume are above average quality, but that one had a lot of usage. Maybe I'd find more breaking, but I don't use phillips screws for woodworking. I probably used the bit that broke for 3-4+ years including a kitchen and three bathrooms worth of cabinetry.

I've got a huge mix of phillips bits from various source and find in a non-impact that usually they get worn from camming out but once in a while they break. Maybe damaged from impact use though.

I need to find good impact bits. I bought some Dewalts made for that purpose which didn't last any longer than any others.