Friday, April 10, 2015

Buck Rogers Spade bits

I'm sure you are familiar with the common spade bits, but have you ever seen those?
These spade bits could be purchased separately or in a set of 4 or 6 in a plastic pouch

Patent No 2,794,268 awarded to Huxtable on Jun 57

There is an interesting story behind those bits, as told by James Mitchell, a manager at MF.

Quote: Solid high speed steel was used for the cutting part of hole saws. This steel came in molts 3x4 feet square. When these were cut up to be milled for hole saws, there was a lot of expensive waste material. Someone got the bright idea of using this material to make wood-cutting spade bits. The cutting bits were formed, ground and then fitted into a slotted shank. They were joined to the shank by a pellet of silver solder heated in an induction coil which also hardened and quenched the tool steel blade. These were very cheap to make and would cut most anything. Unquote

Other nice features of these bits, is the relieved taper of the spade body and the turned down shanks to a uniform size. Reduce jamming the bit and greatly speed up bits changes.

Millers-Falls used a lot of HSS steel for their edge cutting tools, their plane blades were solid HSS body. That is why their blades feels different when sharpening and hold an edge for a long time.

I'm sure HSS was not cheap, especially compared to just plain carbon steel, but it is good to see that Robert W Huxtable found a way to recycle the waste metal and turned it into an elegant spade bit which perform like no other.

Way to go Robert!

Their shanks are sized for uses in power drills

Sizes available were 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4, 7/8 and 1 in

Being HSS they are tough and cut though pretty well everything

And this concludes pretty well my series on Buck Rogers tools. I still got the sliding bevel No 1408 and the two keyholes saws No 237 and No 525 but I do not have sufficient information on them to warrant a post...for now

In the mean time if you visit Randy Roeder Millers Falls tools page you will find lots of information on their tools. It IS THE reference site for everything MF

Bob, who appreciate tools from MF, Sargent, and of course Stanley


  1. thanx for the link Bob - like I don't have enough to do on my lunch time.

  2. NO problems :-)

    Bob, pushing Ralph further down the slope

  3. I've read the history of the company from the start to the 1930's - I didn't realize how rich of history MF has.

  4. Randy has a pretty well documented site, truly the reference for everything MF.
    Other brands you should look into are Sargent, Union, Record.
    I"ll give you a nudge in their directions later :-)
    Bob, who should go check his outside door to the shop before the expected rain and low 10's C temp coming up.