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Winters Drill Bit City - opening the box (USA drill content)

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  • Winters Drill Bit City - opening the box (USA drill content)

    Someone claimed on this site that you can't understand the difference between good drills and import (Chicom) drills until you use the good ones. So I decided to do just that.

    After being baffled by the choices offered by made-in-USA drill companies (and by their hobbyist-hostile web sites) I decided to give Max Winters at Winters Drill Bit City a shot. He sells only USA drills and is very enthusiastic. I mean, the man gets excited by drills. I called him last night to place an order (phone or snail-mail orders only!) and discovered he was in town, at a truck show. So I just dropped by the show this morning, met him, and bought some taps and matching drills. He's a show-man. He was manning a little common drill machine, delivering patter, and drilling hole after hole in various hard metals.

    The set I bought (spiral-point*, common course pitches from 6-32 to 1/2-13, matching split-point drills) came in a metal index that's remarkably well made. The drills and taps look strange - they've a smoky-grey finish with grey-black flutes. They're actually attractive. They're all covered in a light machine oil. The taps are for through-holes - except for the 7/16" and 1/2" taps - they might be considered plug taps.

    Max gave me a 1/4" drill for evaluation. He said I'd be back next year to buy a set.

    Now I'm going to go drill and tap.

    More To Come.

    * - thanks jtiers!

  • #2
    I've seen and chatted with Max at antique engine/tractor shows over the years, including Buckley, MI and Wauseon, OH. He is a showman, for sure, but I've always been happy with his products.


    • #3
      For the heck of it, here are some pictures.


      • #4
        Looks nice When it comes to drill bit, its frustrating when one breaks on you, especially in steel (hard to get them out), but for the most part when you break one its not a huge deal. Taps on the other hand cause nothing but problems unless they are good quality. I have lots of taps, with mostly good ones left (as I have killed most of the crap ones). when I buy them now I buy them from a machine shop supply place, and have yet to bust one of those. You pay a lot more, but in the long run its cheaper to buy quality


        • #5
          They are indeed very attractive drills and taps. I wonder if he ships to Canada, have to browse his website. Taylor tools here in Canada make very good machine tools, however quite expensive.


          • #6
            Nice looking set Tony I'm sure they will give you excellent service.
            I'm only thinking out loud mind you, but I can't help but say they do look a lot like these from Viking.
            Irregardless it really doesn't matter who made them as long as they perform up to or perhaps beyond your expectations.
            Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
            Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

            Location: British Columbia


            • #7
              May we ask the price?
              Ball park is fine.


              • #8
                Looks like a very nice set! Can't wait to hear some news!


                • #9
                  Ok, played with them a little. I drilled 4 holes each in 1/2" 1018 with the 1/4" Winter's and Chicom drills. The Winter's drill took a lot less pressure. The drill produced a bird's nest of shavings. I allowed them to wrap around the drill so I could see what would happen. The Chicom drill took more pressure and produced ok shavings. The Winter's drill produced a cleaner exit wound ;-) In one case the Winter's bit produced a "disk" as it exited.

                  I then used the 5/16" drill and drilled into the end of a 12L14 rod. The drill grabbed a few times. Very annoying. It left a mess behind and knocked the drill chuck of its arbor. I don't know why this happened. Once it got started, I had no trouble drilling a hole about 1 1/2" deep. I then used the 3/8" tap and tapped the hole without issue. I didn't do the back-and-forth thing since it was a spiral point. I also tapped for a 5/16"-18 thread in a shoe for my shop-made carriage stop. No issues.

                  So far so good.

                  The set was $99. Looks like a Viking set to me too. Even the case has those two slots in it - that's how the Max attached his brand plate.
                  Last edited by Tony Ennis; 03-23-2013, 08:41 PM.


                  • #10
                    when you say he 'sells only USA drills', I guessing as a travelling showman he's not the manufacturer and buys them from someone? Any idea who the drill bit manufacturer is?
                    located in Toronto Ontario


                    • #11
                      You're correct Mcgyver - he's a distributor not a manufacturer. He really didn't want to say who made them but did mention that there weren't very many manufacturers in the US. He said that manufacturers make all sorts of grades of drills and stated emphatically that his drill bits were high-end varieties. I sensed not one hint of dishonesty from Max or the bubba working his booth with him.
                      Last edited by Tony Ennis; 03-23-2013, 08:44 PM.


                      • #12
                        The bits in the image bear a striking resemblance to Triumph Thunderbits (Hanson's upper "heavy duty" line if I'm correct) which are sold by Enco, amongst others. I have found them to be excellent bits and have quite a few, including their Silver and Demming bits.

                        It's my experience that a good 115 piece set of bits will set you back $250+ on average. Amazon carries the Thunderbit sets too.


                        • #13
                          So do the shafts of the taps or drills have any engraving hinting at their origin?


                          • #14
                            No, they are anonymous, at least to the untrained eye. The drills say "5/16 USA" etc. I'll go look at the taps later this morning. I suppose a ninja could garner information by looking at the font used, or some such.


                            • #15
                              It looks like a nice set for a good price.

                              Why did he give you a 1/4" bit for eval?
                              Something different/special about that one?

                              My Dad always said, "If you want people to do things for you on the farm, you have to buy a machine they can sit on that does most of the work."