For the fishermen in the north, punching through the ice is one of the most tiring tasks. In order to dig a meter-deep hole, one needs a great deal of upper body strength. If you’re looking to dig numerous holes, it is always better to have a power drill ice auger beside you that does not consume your physical strength.
So, with the winter almost at the doorstep, many fishermen are rushing towards a gear upgrade for their drill ice augers. However, for the casual anglers or newbies, spending your money on a new ice auger or a motor upgrade should not be the first choice. Instead, just do some maintenance on your ice augers and sharpen the blades to improve your experience.
What Does A Drill Ice Auger Do?
The core idea of ice drillers is to create holes through the sheets of ice in order to do ice fishing. These ice augers are very good at creating circular holes with different diameters. Not only that, you can also pierce through the ice if you’re aiming for a larger fishing area. Moreover, if you’re planning a night stay at the icy lakes, you can use your augers for making small holes to set up your tents.
Types of Ice Augers
Ice augers can mainly be of two types – the Hand-held Ice Augers that are operated manually and the Power Ice Augers that use a fuel like gas or electricity to operate.
1. Hand Augers
Hand ice drillers are practical, cleaner and calmer; contingent upon the measure of the drilling you do. In any case, most anglers prefer this basic methodology. Hand drills are lighter to convey, deliver less vibration and the user does not need to be bothered about managing fuels like gas, oil or electricity in an icy region to operate the device. They are calmer while cutting and are virtually noiseless. They do not have a start-up period and can be used right away. Moreover, if you’re freezing in the cold weather, this will give your body a very good warm-up that you might enjoy in the harsh winter weather.
The range of hand auger sizes available is from 4 to 8 inches of blade diameter. However, the most common choice among the ice augers is the one with a 6-inch long blade. The one you need for drilling holes through the ice depends on the blade size and your expectations of drilling through the sheets of ice. This requires some extra strength but are very handy for smaller surfaces. So, when looking for an ice auger, choose wisely.
2. Power Ice Augers
They are the most feature-rich, drill ice augers and the most popular type among the fishermen. Power Ice Augers are divided into types based on their features, performance and fuel type.
Propane Drill Ice Augers – Gas Drill Ice Augers usually come with a very strong motor and body that add some extra torque and power. The only downside is: you’ll have to carry a propane container along with you on your fishing trip. The core benefit of these types of power ice augers is that they provide way more output in a short period of time.
Electric Drill Ice Augers – Nowadays, electric type drillers are becoming very popular among the anglers as well. They are eco-friendly since there are no fumes around the drill and have a very quiet machine operation. They operate with a rechargeable battery as their power source. These power ice augers types are the alternate solution for hand augers and gas augers. But one problem with these types of augers is that if you run out of charge, you’re going to need a complex power set up like carrying a generator with you along with fuel cases, in order to recharge them at the field.
Things to Know About Ice Auger Blades
Blades haven’t substantially changed over the years. Blade sharpening determines the performance of drill ice augers. They come in a single-edged blade, or a double-edged blade, or a four-edged blade. Serrated cutting edges are among the most recent additions on the market. You can find hand drill ice augers with just these blades, or with a combination of the standard and serrated blades. Sharper blades appear to perform better since they chew away the smaller segments like teeth, making the separation of the surface ice all the more effective.
However, you need to remember to add a blade cover to the blades of your ice auger as they can be very sharp. This is to avoid any injuries while carrying the ice auger blades with you to the fishing spot.
How to Sharpen Ice Auger Blades?
As an avid fisherman, there’s nothing more important than having your ice auger blades sharpened to perfection. A visibly sharp blade signifies its proficiency of ice drilling. The key idea of learning these blade sharpening techniques is to protect your ice auger, making sure that no part of your blades is damaged while drilling.
When planning to go fishing in the frosty areas, your first concern should be having the blades of your augers sharpened to perfection. Auger blade sharpening services are available in any workshop near you. However, it’s always more cost-and time-effective if you do it yourself. This also saves you from being dependent upon the workshops.
Remove and Observe
We’re all concerned about how to sharpen ice auger blades. While removing the blades from your drill ice auger, be careful about losing the shims. If you lose them, you won’t be able to reconnect the blades. Look at the blades carefully and decide the angle of the blade sharpening. A little experimentation might be important while giving this a shot. Make sure that there is sufficient light to allow you to accomplish the job flawlessly.
Having Perfect Tools
If you have aged blades, try to sharpen the blade with a medium grit whetstone and later switch it to a finer quality grit. Having a substitute for your auger blades would be the best choice in such cases. Make sure that you carry all the necessary tools while gearing up for the blade sharpening tasks, along with some spare shims. This is because we can often damage the blades using the wrong stones for different blades.
The Right Angle
After you have attempted these blade sharpening methods, it’s very important that you test the blades on ice for the perfect angles. This testing will allow you not to mess up when you will actually go drilling. People often tend to apply more pressure on the blades when they are old, this is something that removes the chances of having the blades sharpened again.
Place the surface of the blade in such a way that you can look at the blade edges properly. Then gradually start with slower strokes on the whetstone. After a few hundred strokes you might see the blades shining. Make sure you wear protective gloves while sharpening the blades. Remember: the strokes should be equally distributed throughout the blade, starting from the narrower edges to the center of the blade. This stroking method is the most suitable for sharpening a flat blade.
However, take note of a few things that you need to avoid when you want to maintain your ice auger. First, try to stay away from the specks of dirt and the debris in the lakes. In fact, remove them from the blades whenever you can because if you don’t, they will ruin your ice auger sooner or later. Also, never try to bang your drill ice auger for shaking out the debris because you’ll end up damaging your auger.
Always give your blades the best treatment by maintaining them frequently and not seasonally. If you don’t, you can’t expect that they would drill holes throughout the year in case you’re living in colder regions. Also, having a sharpened blade for your augers will make your drilling life easier.