During our build of our Penobscot 14, ST. JACQUES, and the restoration of the 1880s Mississippi River skiff, BARBASHELA, we drilled a lot of pilot and countersink holes for stainless-steel and silicon-bronze wood screws. White oak, southern yellow pine, okoume, and cypress were the targets. These holes can be drilled separately with drill bits and a countersink, but we purchased a set of Fuller bits that combine countersinks with tapered drill bits, and it has saved us many hours of switching bits. There were drill bit shapes for different wood screws, so we set up to compare the Fuller set with pilot bits from Carbide & Diamond and Bosch.

Photographs by the authors

The three pilot bits tested include, from top to bottom, the Carbide & Diamond, the Fuller, and the Bosch.

The Fuller set has bits for #6, #8, #10, and #12 screws. The bit is adjusted to match the length of the screw, and a stop collar can be added to set the countersink’s depth. Matching plug cutters for 3/8″ and 1/2″ countersinks are included. Our set had drill bits with round shanks; other available sets have quick-change hex shanks, which we would highly recommend.

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