The other day when discussing an Irwin drill bit deal in that post’s comment section, Jeff brought up another post he remembered reading that described certain sets where a few sizes were good and others utter junk.
I remember reading the same post, and when my search efforts failed, careful meditation (or luck) refreshed my memory and I tracked down the original article.
$5 for a 1/8″ Twist Drill? Only in America describes what John, from Bridge City Tool Works, observed in a Chinese factory 11 years ago. He saw cheap bench grinder motors being wound with scrap copper wire, and drill bits being coated to make them look like they were properly hardened.
Factory workers were mixing in good (or at least better quality in comparison) drill bits with junky pot metal bits. Why? Because these many-piece drill bit sets were so low-priced that American consumers continue to let them get away with it.
John’s post is an interesting and illuminating read. It is important to realize that not all import bit sets are going to be be similarly comprised of a few good bits and many garbage bits. But there’s only one sure way to be sure you don’t get stuck with only 4 good bits out of 115 – spend more upfront and buy better brand-name bits.