Hole saw recommendation


  #1  
Old 08-18-15, 03:59 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,648
Received 7 Upvotes on 6 Posts
Hole saw recommendation

I am a DIYer that use a hole saw occasionally, mostly to drill holes for recessed lights, or to pass copper pipes or rigid electrical conduits through wood studs, or dryer vent holes etc...

I bought a cheap set from Harbor Freight. I think it was around $15. That thing started to rust the minute I walked out of store I swear. Two weeks later in a hot and humid South Florida garage it was partially rusted. Last week I wanted to drill a 4" hole through 3/4" plywood for a dryer vent, and that thing took a good five minute to drill and it was smoking. I know the right way is to wait for it to cool, then start up again, but if I did that it would have taken 45 minutes! and I am not drilling marble or granite. When it was done the saw was totally black I think it's done.

So I think I want a better set.

Looking one the internet I noticed a set by Matco and it's over $250!!! WOW for a set of hole saw. That must be the filet mignon of hole saws?

What is my best bet for a decent set that won't break an arm and a leg? Say $30-50 range?

Should I go for a used set?

Buy new?

I saw a set by Milwaukee that it is "ICE HARDENED". Is that a good thing? What are some features I should look for?

Then I saw something which I believe might have designed for electricians which is basically a one size fits all, you adjust a set of blades along a sliding ruler, so it can be set to any custom size from 1" to 9" diameter. I don't know how useful those are, but I am thinking if I want to drill a 1" hole through a 2X4 stud with sheetrock on one side, I can't use this large diameter thing because it won't be able to swing all the way around.

I would appreciate any recommendation of brands, model etc...
 
  #2  
Old 08-18-15, 04:11 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 4,463
Received 128 Upvotes on 113 Posts
What you bought is a cheap carbon steel set.
For running wiring or plumbing through joist or studs I use a paddle bit, cheaper and far faster.
Can lights I use a carbide grit hole saw made just for that, there sold in the tool area and in the lighting area at any Box store.
A 4" hole saw is not going to work for a dryer vent, you can not fit a 4" pipe in a 4" hole and the outside piece has a flange that's at least 4-1/4". I'd be using a 4-1/2" Bimetal hole saw in a 1/2 drill.
 
  #3  
Old 08-18-15, 04:14 PM
P
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,265
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
What size & type of drill did you use. I think that has as much to do with it as the hole saw quality.

Edit: Joe read my mind. A 1/2" drill should be used.
 
  #4  
Old 08-18-15, 04:46 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 14,338
Received 878 Upvotes on 741 Posts
We pretty much use bi-metal Lenox hole saws for our drilling. They work fairly well through steel and wood.

The one trick I have found is you drill a 3/8"-1/2" hole on the edge of the hole you will be drilling. This will allow the chips to fall out of the saw teeth and let the saw keep cutting. It sounds a little goofy but it does work. Trick is not to drill the extra hole outside of the circle.
 
  #5  
Old 08-18-15, 04:48 PM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,648
Received 7 Upvotes on 6 Posts
I was using a Makita 5/8" hammer drill in NON-hammer mode.

It just took a while to drill that hole out for the dryer vent. I got it done eventually but it took a long time, and it was only 3/4" thick ply.

Last year I was working on some landscaping outside and I had to put in some PT 4X4 lumber to make a border along a planting area. I need to drill holes so I can pound in 3/8" rebars to anchor the 4X4. I again used a HF set of drill bits and it took a long time, and waited for it to cool off. Because I only needed one bit, I went to HD and bought a long Bosch 3/8" bit, cost more, just that one bit I think it was $20, versus whole set I bought at HF that was $9.99 LOL. That Bosch bit chewed through the wood like butter I couldn't believe it. It went through the wood so fast I had to stop it from drilling into the sand.
 
  #6  
Old 08-18-15, 04:49 PM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 19,281
Received 6 Upvotes on 6 Posts
Just a note. We need to come up with a new term. My Ryobi cordless has a 1/2" chuck, and I know that's not what you guys are recommending to be used. It would probably do it with a nice new hole saw, but certainly isn't ideal.

Another thing...plywood, in my experience, can be harder to drill than solid wood. I think the glue used between layers may really eat bits.
 
  #7  
Old 08-18-15, 04:56 PM
J
Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 4,463
Received 128 Upvotes on 113 Posts
Millwaulke right angle drill for bigger holes.
Depends on what I'm drilling as to what bit I use.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...3760901_b1_1_p
Milwaukee 4-1/2 in. Hole Dozer Hole Saw-49-56-9649 - The Home Depot
I have a whole roll around tool box filled with just hole saws, paddle bits, self feeding auger bits, mandrels.
 
  #8  
Old 08-18-15, 05:02 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 36,607
Upvotes: 0
Received 9 Upvotes on 8 Posts
I use a hole hawg to do serious drilling. Low RPM high torque. Less burning.
 
  #9  
Old 08-18-15, 05:10 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,100
Received 3,982 Upvotes on 3,574 Posts
I just bought a Lennox 4-1/2" hole saw and it was close to $40. So you can see where the $15 set fits in.

A set is good to have but I find myself using the same bits all the time which makes buying the ones you actually need a better buy.

Hole Hawgs are great but you better have a d*mn good grip on it.
 
  #10  
Old 08-18-15, 05:11 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 16,321
Received 38 Upvotes on 30 Posts
The ONLY cutting tools I use from Harbor Freight are the cheap grinding wheels for an angle grinder or cut-off tool. Every other cutting tool they sell is made from inferior steel and will NOT hold an edge. This includes the blades for utility knives.

I would not buy a set of hole saws but buy a good quality arbor that takes high quality bi-metal shells and buy the individual shell as needed. Milwaukee is a good brand in my experience. For holes of less than 1-1/4 inch for running wiring or plumbing I agree with Joe that a "paddle" or "spade" bit is easiest. In addition these bits can be sharpened fairly easily whereas a hole saw requires specialized machinery to sharpen, so special that simple replacement is probably less expensive.

Where I used to work we had special hole saws that I suspect were VERY expensive. They would cut through anything.
 
  #11  
Old 08-18-15, 05:14 PM
B
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 9,460
Received 47 Upvotes on 43 Posts
I have also found that rocking the saw in a wobble motion will create a slightly larger hole than a straight through cut, but it helps to eliminate the side friction and binding. I have the large right angle drill and with anything above 3" it can give a hack of a jolt when it binds. Recently did a 4 1/4" hole through a double 2x6 top plate and I thought that thing was going to kill me. Awkward place to brace myself.

Bud
 
  #12  
Old 08-18-15, 05:22 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,100
Received 3,982 Upvotes on 3,574 Posts
Bud.... does that drill have the place for a pipe handle ? A good thing to have resting against the stud.
 
  #13  
Old 08-18-15, 05:46 PM
B
Member
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 9,460
Received 47 Upvotes on 43 Posts
It does, down in the shop in the case. I was stubborn and determined to dominate that drill. But big slow drills have a lot of torque.

Bud
 
  #14  
Old 08-18-15, 06:05 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 16,321
Received 38 Upvotes on 30 Posts
Many years ago I briefly worked with a man that had broken his arm trying to hold a Hole Hawg without the auxiliary handle braced against an immoveable object.
 
  #15  
Old 08-18-15, 06:54 PM
C
Member
Join Date: May 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 3,177
Received 173 Upvotes on 141 Posts
I second the hint from Tolyn about drilling a relief hole. It seems like it only takes a few seconds of drilling for the kerf to clog up with dust. It slows the cutting and just heats up the hole saw which quickly dulls it. The relief hole really helps as there is somewhere for the chips and dust to go.
 
  #16  
Old 08-19-15, 05:21 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,648
Received 7 Upvotes on 6 Posts
Great tips.

I am also curious whether the color of the hole saw itself has any meaning? If it's red, white or black?

Milwaukee makes them in red and white, Dayton has them in red or black...are the color of the hole saw any indication of quality?
 
  #17  
Old 08-19-15, 05:32 AM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,681
Received 840 Upvotes on 737 Posts
Can't say for sure but all my cheap hole saws are black and the better ones are painted colors.
 
  #18  
Old 08-19-15, 05:36 AM
J
Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 4,463
Received 128 Upvotes on 113 Posts
Different brand, different colors.
Look for the word Bimetal on the saw.
Most of mine are Milwaulke brand.
I agree with just buying what you need, going to cost more per piece then a set, but as mentioned out of a set of six I might have used 3 in the past 10 years.
 
  #19  
Old 08-19-15, 06:13 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,648
Received 7 Upvotes on 6 Posts
I am not sure either. Seems Lenox is always white in color, but Milwaukee has them both in red and white and Dayton in both red and black. It seems when I look up the Milwaukee ones the "ICE HARDENED" hole saws (whatever that means) are in white and the rest in red.
 
  #20  
Old 08-19-15, 06:22 AM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: United States
Posts: 14,338
Received 878 Upvotes on 741 Posts
"Ice Hardened" likely means that they are cryogenically treated. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryogenic_hardening

The paint color is really for corrosion resistance, brand recognition, and maybe some anti friction properties.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: