Wood Owl Tri-Augers Review – Nail Chipper vs. Ultra Smooth

Close up of 1 inch Wood Owl Tri-Augers Timber Frame Drill Bit

Pro timber framers and log home builders tasked with boring through thick materials have choices to make. Do you go with a rugged nail chipper or an ultra smooth auger bit? While each can get the job done, the penetrations and common-sense usages won’t be the same. Consider the pros, cons and applications of these Wood Owl Tri-Augers.

Nail Chipper vs Ultra Smooth

In terms of Wood Owl products, both use Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a type of drill bit Teflon if you will. This has a great deal to do with their precision abilities, reduced snags and low overheat rate.

The obvious difference for timber framers and log home builders will be how smooth of a hole you desire. The Nail Chipper leaves the interior bore hole with a surface similar to the rough end of a 2X4. The ultra smooth would be more akin to planed  lumber.

The techniques used can have a significant impact on the work’s outcome. For instance, applying strong pressure throughout an Ultra Smooth plunge can cause chipping at the exit point. Light pressure results in a clean final bore. The same appears to hold true of the Wood Owl Nail Chipper to some degree. And, strong pressure can make a veritable exit wound with the chipper.

The Ultra Smooth far outpaces the Nail Chipper in terms of a clean entry. In fact, the Ultra Smooth looks a great deal like someone used a drill press and fine bit. It’s quite remarkable for hand-driven power tool work.

Wood Owl 09813 Tri-Cut 1-Inch by 18-Inch Ultra Smooth Auger Bit

Wood Owl Tri-Cut Ultra Smooth

The Ultra Smooth Wood Owl garners its power from the burr-free lead screw that effectively pulls the 18-incher through the timber. The bit utilizes a tri-cut edge that results in smooth and efficient hole cutting. The product runs lighter weight than many standard tools by using carbon steel. The material enjoys a heat-treated hardening process to help avoid dangerous breaks. That durability adds a level of protection in the event it crosses embedded elements such as nails but not as much as the Nail Chipper Auger Bit.

Wood Owl 03813 Tri-Cut 1-Inch by 18-Inch Nail Chipper Auger Bit

Wood Owl Tri-Cut Nail Chipper

The Nail Chipper enjoys similar manufacturing upticks as the Ultra Smooth. It utilizes the tri-cut design, lightweight carbon steel construction and effectively slices through embedded materials such as nails. As nail chippers go, it ranks among the cleaner boring bits.

This product weighs in at 1 pound, compared to the Ultra Smooth’s 13.6 ounces. Although it is designed for a slightly rougher cut, it enjoys remarkable fluidity. It might not be fair to call this Nail Chipper a tweener, but the quality design and lead screw grip make it a step up from many old school products.

The other difference Wood Owl users note is the ability of the Nail Chipper to overcome embedded materials and that makes it ideal for reclaimed wood. One can never be too careful.


What Do Other Wood Owl Owners Say?

Across the board, Ultra Smooth owners give the bit high marks when working with timber. The online reviews consistently speak to the clean-in, clean-out holes. The people that took the time to post appear to be professional timber framers.

The Nail Chipper received slight mixed reviews outside timber and log pros. Those in peripheral trades such as electricians noted the bit bogged when penetrating 5 packs. Others appear to be less than satisfied about its nail-grinding capabilities. Although users report that it completed the task, the bit did suffer some damage. On the upside, it appears superior to others in its class.

Wood Owl Tri-Augers

Both the Ultra Smooth and Nail Chipper Wood Owls rank among the best their class. However, pro timber framers working with new material may be better served with the Ultra Smooth and switch to the Nail Chipper for repurposed materials.

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