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Author Topic: Did I get a bad Nils auger?  (Read 1301 times)

Offline thomasthepikehunter

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Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« on: Dec 05, 2022, 08:29 PM »
I hate to be asking this, but I was super excited to finally own the rolls royce of auger, and I have to say I am a little disappointed. I bought the Nils UR600FC, which is a 6" auger, which folds in half. The idea is slick as snot, and that alone is amazing. Unfortunately I was less impressed with the actual drilling. Don't get me wrong, the thing drills fine, but it is not nearly as good as I had thought it would be. All these reviews talk about how there is no downward pressure with a Nils auger, all you do is turn the handles. Mine might cut like that eventually, but it would take a long time to go through. Instead I find it takes just a minor amount of pressure, same as my Mora auger. At that point it drills nice and smooth, just like my Mora auger. I didn't have a ton of ice to test it on, we only have 7 to 8" so far, but it drills through in a normal amount of time, definitely nothing crazy fast. Maybe 15 seconds to drill through 7" to 8" of ice. My Mora augers, 6" and 7" are both equally fast.

I hope this doesn't sound like I'm dogging on Nils, but I want to know if what I have is normal. It's not too late for me to send this back for an exchange if mine is bad. Or if they really aren't any faster than a Mora, I guess that's fine. As I said, just the ability to fold in half is huge, I can't believe there aren't more augers like this on the market. I simply expected a bigger difference when this one was $180, and a Mora is just over $50.
-Tom

Offline RapShack

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #1 on: Dec 05, 2022, 09:05 PM »
As I said, just the ability to fold in half is huge, I can't believe there aren't more augers like this on the market.

Thunder Bay augers have folding offset handles, and at $60 a pop they are almost worth it just for the handle. 
I'm a man, but I can change, If I have to, I guess.

Offline bigfoot86

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #2 on: Dec 05, 2022, 10:11 PM »
Think you should look at the head for a defect possibly.  Iíve used the top flite strike master, eskimo bit, ion and more, nothing comparesÖfastest bit I ever had.  Something must not be right. Never even heard of an issue with a brand new nils bit.  Your the first.  Is there a possibility you dropped it by accident?  So odd. I own the nils convertible.

Offline thomasthepikehunter

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #3 on: Dec 05, 2022, 10:39 PM »
The blade looks fine to me, not a scratch on it. Never dropped it. Opened the box, took it to the lake, never even took the blade guard off until I got there. It was clear solid ice, nothing dirty, and it was like this from hole one. I drilled maybe 20-30 holes yesterday. I've used a bunch of augers, but the only hand drills I can recall are the Mora (6", 7", and 8"), a Strikemaster Lazer (which honestly seems like a black Mora), and now this Nils. I'm sure I used some older style ones too. We played around with a spoon when we were kids, but it was never sharp.
-Tom

Offline thomasthepikehunter

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #4 on: Dec 05, 2022, 10:43 PM »
Thunder Bay augers have folding offset handles, and at $60 a pop they are almost worth it just for the handle.

The only one I see is an auger with a handle that flips over. All Nils do that, and new Mora's all have removable handles. This folding nils is a full height auger with both handle and auger that folds up into package that could fit in a backpack.
-Tom

Offline bigfoot86

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #5 on: Dec 05, 2022, 11:05 PM »
Possibly a lemon or defect which I never heard of but thereís always first.

Offline skifisher

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #6 on: Dec 06, 2022, 12:29 AM »
I agree with the ďlemonĒ theory. If you still can, return it. It may be a manufacturesí defect. I have a 6Ē, and as far as Iím concerned, no other auger cuts as fast and smooth as a Nils. A couple of years ago, I married it with a Milwaukee Fuel, and itís a beast!
"Ice fishing...ah, the anticipation! 🎣Ē

Offline filetandrelease

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #7 on: Dec 06, 2022, 05:22 AM »

 As with all products there is bound to be some lemons
 I also paired mine with 18 fuel on 1 of my 6Ē
 

Offline FreshwaterPhil

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #8 on: Dec 06, 2022, 07:07 AM »
I had the 8 inch Nils hand auger for a while. I didn't find it much faster than other augers. In fact, it took more turns to get through. However, the turns were effortless, even on 30 inches of ice, all the way through.

Aside from very sensitive blades, another default I found on the Nils was the tremendous amount of ice buildup on the auger. The added weight seems to hinder the performance of the auger, so you need to keep breaking off the frozen ice from the fins.

If you do plan on keeping it, get a spare cutting head tp carry with you, as well as the proper tools to replace it. One spec of debris in the ice can stop the auger dead in it's tracks, it will just start skating around the hole instead of cutting.
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Offline thomasthepikehunter

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #9 on: Dec 06, 2022, 12:04 PM »
I contacted the store for a possible replacement, we will see what they do.

@FreshwaterPhil, what do you think makes Nils build up more ice than something else? The flutes are at a slightly tighter twist, but other than that it just looks like your typical painted steel auger. Or do you mean the blade itself builds up the ice? I'm not going to carry a spare cutting head with me. If these dull that bad, then I have no interest in it.
-Tom

Offline FreshwaterPhil

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #10 on: Dec 06, 2022, 12:39 PM »


@FreshwaterPhil, what do you think makes Nils build up more ice than something else? The flutes are at a slightly tighter twist, but other than that it just looks like your typical painted steel auger. Or do you mean the blade itself builds up the ice? I'm not going to carry a spare cutting head with me. If these dull that bad, then I have no interest in it.

Experience with many augers in cold weather. The Nils has more fins on the auger than the Fin Bore for example, and they are closer together. in cold weather, the build up is significantly heavier. In addition, while you can put downwards pressure on most hand auger, doing so with a Nils doesn't make it cut any quicker, it just makes it much harder to turn.

Because it's designed to cut using more turns that are easier on the arms in deep ice, when it gets bogged down due to ice buildup, that make it a lot tougher to use.

As for the blades being finicky, I have never seen any other blades go from amazing to useless, that easily. First time it happened, I drilled into a sandy bottom, and got stranded rest of day with auger dancing around instead of drilling, despite me trying to sharpen on ice, as I'm able to do with any other shaver blades I've used. After that, I sent it off to Frank, who did a wonderful job sharpening, but being in Canada, shipping across the border is pricy.

I got a second head as a spare, and sure enough, I eventually drilled into frozen a weedbed. Sent that one off to a guy in Winnipeg, job was OK, but not as good as Frank. He's passed away since then.

3rd time was just a bit of debris in the ice, looked like I chopped some embedded twigs somewhere down the line. That was it, I sold the auger.

Contrast to my Fin bores, which I have both in 6 and 8 inches. Not only have I  drilled with chipped blades, I even once cracked a blade on first ice, and had to make due with only 1 blade. Was very tough, but still worked. I've been able to remove and sharpen blades on the go, but now keep spares in my box, along with tools to change, just in case.

Lastly, the Ion blades aren't best quality, I've lost a good 50% of their performance by drilling into frozen weedbed on 2 separate occasions. In both cases, the auger still worked, but I needed to really lean into it to make it cut, while normally sharpened blades require no added pressure on the auger. Again, I carry spare blades, and last season, found a local guy that does professional sharpening for $6 per set. I gave him all my fin bore and Ion blades to touch up, will see good his work is as these mishaps come along.

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Offline thomasthepikehunter

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #11 on: Dec 06, 2022, 07:28 PM »
Thanks for the input. I've used an Ion before, but only as the power auger. I wasn't aware they were sold as a hand auger too. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears that Mora, Strikemaster, and Fin Bore are all owned by the same parent company of Normark. It also appears that the fin bore is a near copy of the Strikemaster lazer, I'm even seeing claims the blades interchange. The difference is obviously the offset handles, vs the American style knob and handle. I'm not seeing any options for anything other than a basic auger.

I'm going to give this Nils a fair shake. If what you say is true, mine definitely has a problem. It will hardly drill at all without down pressure. I'm not going to be changing blades on the ice. I often bring a spare auger that stays in the truck, but there's no way I would haul a spare Nils drill head out on the ice for dead weight, especially for what they cost. I may as well just haul the old reliable gas auger at that point. I really want this auger to work. I'm not seeing any other ice auger of any brand that has a folding auger. Nils even makes a multi-section auger called the arctic trekker which I'm considering too.
-Tom

Offline FreshwaterPhil

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #12 on: Dec 06, 2022, 07:42 PM »
My Ion is a power auger, not hand auger. Just brought it up for shaver blade comparison. Also the easiest to clean fins of ice buildup, as the composite they use is flexible.

The Fin bores come apart with a screw as opposed to fold down Nils mechanism, but I leave them mounted, as they fit in my sleds. From what I read, they are similar to the brands you mentioned.

As for the Nils, I think I remember contacting customer service about sharpening tips and never hearing back from them, but that was a while back. May have been the European head office. Frank took care of it, and did a great job, felt even better than new until my next encounter with foreign particles in ice.
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Offline filetandrelease

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #13 on: Dec 07, 2022, 05:09 AM »
 Iíve been running tanaka /nils for decades , still using the same cutting heads , Iíve had them sharpened a few time by (sharp nils)
 Who does a great job , my mora was a good auger , but after buying my first Tanaka Iíve never looked back , Iíve always have extra blades or heads no matter what auger Iíve owned ,
 
 I even still own a strike master lazer mag
 Great gas auger havenít used it in years but get started a couple times a year
 There no 1 thing that makes everyone happy , sure are a lot of choices for equipment these days , 45+ years of fishing on my own Iíve seen lots of great things some not so
 1 more thing if strike master got rid of that knob and put off set handles on it that auger would make be a great ice cutter
 

Offline George_B

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #14 on: Dec 07, 2022, 11:38 AM »
About 8 years ago a friend who on my advice bought a 8" Nils would not cut right out of the box. My Nils blade was going on 2 seasons at the time. Because of the cost along with shipping and handling his decesion was to go back to the old Mora and not get into any more money being frustrated.

Offline thomasthepikehunter

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #15 on: Dec 08, 2022, 07:31 PM »
About 8 years ago a friend who on my advice bought a 8" Nils would not cut right out of the box. My Nils blade was going on 2 seasons at the time. Because of the cost along with shipping and handling his decesion was to go back to the old Mora and not get into any more money being frustrated.

I always have the mora to fall back on, but I'm doubling down on the Nils. I really want these to work simply for the design features. Nils definitely has the best folding handle design on the market, and they are the ONLY brand with a compact auger that I can find. I had bought the folding version, which I think is fantastic. Why this hasn't become the gold standard is beyond me. Unfortunately it appears they aren't available in 8" in the USA. I was hoping to get by with 6", but I don't think it was for me. Double drilling holes for tip ups just isn't worth it. Instead I sent this one back, and I bought their Arctic Trekker one, which is a multi-section auger, so it can still be taken down, but it is not quite as nice as the folding one is. I got this one in 8", which if these Nils drill as easy as claimed should work out good. My current preference is a 7" Mora which I have no issues with except the handle is non-removable. Strikemaster is making 7" again I see, even in the lazer auger, so that may be an option. Fingers crossed this Nils works for me. I've never had an auger go dull in one trip before, and I would not appreciate one that does.
-Tom

Offline FreshwaterPhil

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #16 on: Dec 08, 2022, 07:43 PM »
. I've never had an auger go dull in one trip before, and I would not appreciate one that does.

My tip to you would be to stay away from any shallow areas, reefers, weedbeds and feeders streams that can bring in debris. Basically, eliminate prime pike territory, which is where I ran into trouble every time. Of course, pike were my prime reason for getting the 8 inch Nils, as perch, panfish and bass were fine with the 6 inch Fin Bore.

Likewise, I've only run into debris with the 8 inch Ion when targeting pike as well, but not as bad, at least I was still able to drill with that one. Have never run into any auger issues in clean ice over deeper water.
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Offline thomasthepikehunter

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #17 on: Dec 08, 2022, 09:21 PM »
That doesn't sound good. I'm all over the depth. I fish deep plenty, have caught pike in up to 90 feet of water, but the shallows are my mainstays. I've caught some real nice pike in water best measured in inches. We will see how she goes. I can make standard augers work, but sometimes a break down would be the absolute bees knees. Like any time I'm in the car, or even when fishing somewhere such as the BWCA in Minnesota.
-Tom

Offline FreshwaterPhil

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #18 on: Dec 08, 2022, 09:48 PM »
That doesn't sound good. I'm all over the depth. I fish deep plenty, have caught pike in up to 90 feet of water, but the shallows are my mainstays. I've caught some real nice pike in water best measured in inches. We will see how she goes. I can make standard augers work, but sometimes a break down would be the absolute bees knees. Like any time I'm in the car, or even when fishing somewhere such as the BWCA in Minnesota.

I've caught a few pike deeper than 12 feet, but mostly by accident. Mainly target 4 to 8 feet, sometimes less. If you see dirt or weeds coming up as you drill, stop immediately, but probably too late. Been there.
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Offline thomasthepikehunter

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #19 on: Dec 09, 2022, 12:33 AM »
It depends on the lake. The lake I caught pike in 90 feet tops out at around 200 ft. It wasn't on purpose either, I was lake trout fishing. Lots of people fish the first breaklines in that similar 6-15 foot range. I've got some real good ones on the second break in the 25-40 foot deep range, but it is almost always slow fishing that way. My personal best pike was dead center of a lake at 26 foot deep, as deep as that one gets. It's not even a bowl shaped lake, but it has a large basin in the middle where I was chasing crappie. We can fish year round here in SD, so in the spring is often when it can get really shallow. Last year I was fishing somewhere around 1 foot of water in front of a creek mouth. There was open water in front of the creek, but I was brave enough to creep up to about 25 yards from the open water. There was at least 2 feet of ice there still.  I was chasing flags, and others were on shore shooting them with bows.
-Tom

Offline thomasthepikehunter

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #20 on: Jan 09, 2023, 08:26 PM »
I've had some opportunities to really give my new Nils a shot. To get everyone caught up, I sent my first one back for a refund with no issues. I then went with the UR800AT which is an 8" auger which I wanted, but it is the Arctic Trekker model. After using both, to me the clearly better model is the folding auger, however they don't make an 8" version for whatever reason. Seriously, that folding auger is the slickest idea I've seen in a long time. The AT is not bad, but it's not something you want to take apart every time. It can be taken apart into sections for use in a backpack, but I don't have a need for that. Maybe I'll appreciate it the next time I'm in the BWCA. One positive of the AT is you can add or remove sections. You could have a tiny little 12" auger if you wanted, or you could add a section for a taller auger, or thicker ice. At 6'5", I'm considering adding a 12" section, but it wouldn't fit in the sled as nice.

As for cutting, again I'm a little disappointed. Unless I got two bad augers in a row, these NILS auger 100% require down pressure or they just spin and polish ice. It doesn't take much, basically just the weight of my arms is enough to get the blades to bite, which is the same as a Mora or Lazer. During the cut I'm not quite sure. It definitely cuts easy, but is it because of the auger, or the handle design? It is not faster than a Mora or Lazer auger. I find the NILS is at its best at a gentle pace, being sure to keep the auger level, and it does not take long at all to go through 20"+ of ice. One thing I do like about the NILS is when you get to the bottom of the hole it cuts clean through. Both the Mora and Lazer will often leave a little bit of ice that you than have to jam the auger down quick for the flutes to break off those last little chunks. It's not a huge deal, but it is nice. I played around with it some, I can drill two holes side by side, and it will do it, but if you cut them too close it will jump sides. Despite cutting clean through vertically, the NILS auger does not like drilling at an angle AT ALL. I was not able to finish a single angled hole. That's something to note if you are a river fisherman, or someone else who uses angled holes. I understand what FreshwaterPhil means by the icing up. I don't think that the paint or anything on the NILS is a problem, but being as the flutes are a tighter spiral, there is simply more area that gets ice built up. I'm not sure the tighter spirals helped clear shavings better or not, I did not notice much of a difference.

I'm going to continue to run this auger the rest of the season. At that time I'll see how I feel about it. I'm for sure going to give a Fin Bore a try, which sure looks like a Lazer with offset handles, and I think that might be a good thing. The only downside I can see is they only offer solid augers, and their handles are not as nice as the NILS.
-Tom

Offline FreshwaterPhil

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #21 on: Jan 09, 2023, 09:27 PM »
I've had some opportunities to really give my new Nils a shot. To get everyone caught up, I sent my first one back for a refund with no issues. I then went with the UR800AT which is an 8" auger which I wanted, but it is the Arctic Trekker model. After using both, to me the clearly better model is the folding auger, however they don't make an 8" version for whatever reason. Seriously, that folding auger is the slickest idea I've seen in a long time. The AT is not bad, but it's not something you want to take apart every time. It can be taken apart into sections for use in a backpack, but I don't have a need for that. Maybe I'll appreciate it the next time I'm in the BWCA. One positive of the AT is you can add or remove sections. You could have a tiny little 12" auger if you wanted, or you could add a section for a taller auger, or thicker ice. At 6'5", I'm considering adding a 12" section, but it wouldn't fit in the sled as nice.

As for cutting, again I'm a little disappointed. Unless I got two bad augers in a row, these NILS auger 100% require down pressure or they just spin and polish ice. It doesn't take much, basically just the weight of my arms is enough to get the blades to bite, which is the same as a Mora or Lazer. During the cut I'm not quite sure. It definitely cuts easy, but is it because of the auger, or the handle design? It is not faster than a Mora or Lazer auger. I find the NILS is at its best at a gentle pace, being sure to keep the auger level, and it does not take long at all to go through 20"+ of ice. One thing I do like about the NILS is when you get to the bottom of the hole it cuts clean through. Both the Mora and Lazer will often leave a little bit of ice that you than have to jam the auger down quick for the flutes to break off those last little chunks. It's not a huge deal, but it is nice. I played around with it some, I can drill two holes side by side, and it will do it, but if you cut them too close it will jump sides. Despite cutting clean through vertically, the NILS auger does not like drilling at an angle AT ALL. I was not able to finish a single angled hole. That's something to note if you are a river fisherman, or someone else who uses angled holes. I understand what FreshwaterPhil means by the icing up. I don't think that the paint or anything on the NILS is a problem, but being as the flutes are a tighter spiral, there is simply more area that gets ice built up. I'm not sure the tighter spirals helped clear shavings better or not, I did not notice much of a difference.

I'm going to continue to run this auger the rest of the season. At that time I'll see how I feel about it. I'm for sure going to give a Fin Bore a try, which sure looks like a Lazer with offset handles, and I think that might be a good thing. The only downside I can see is they only offer solid augers, and their handles are not as nice as the NILS.

Glad to hear you got it worked out for now. A couple more tips:

If you plan on keeping the Nils, you may want to replace the blade cover / protector. The yellow one that comes with it is a royal pain, I think the model I got was a strikemaster cover, their are some old threads on the forum with the model, it's a perfect fit.

For the Fin Bore, the 8 inch model is a lot harder to use than the 6 inch, especially in more than 12-15 inches of ice. Forcing the auger can bend it out of shape, in which case it's functionality is reduced exponentially. I'd stick with the 6 Fin bore, it's the oldest auger I have, and I've drilled thousands of holes into up to 24 inches of ice with it over the past dozen seasons or so. Keep some spare cutters and a wrench in your tacklebox just in case.
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Offline thomasthepikehunter

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #22 on: Jan 10, 2023, 06:52 PM »
I've got a cold snap cover on it.
-Tom

Offline dkfry

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #23 on: Jan 13, 2023, 06:13 PM »
I had one that didn't cut worth a crap from new despite being very sharp. I just got rid of it and got something else. I had no desire screwing around with a touchy auger in an short ice season. I need my equipment too work.. I was using the nils as a hand auger and imo the handle was poor. The plastic handles pinched at the seems and the handle itself would flex. The finbore 3 augers used to fold in half and were offset handles. The newer ones don't fold. A Strikemaster Lazer with offset handles works well too. Both much better augers that the nils imo. Currently have 2 finbores and 2 Lazer hand augers with offset handles, plus power auger with different size drills. They work well without issue for years now.

Offline thomasthepikehunter

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #24 on: Jan 16, 2023, 07:24 PM »
That did not last long. I was out last weekend, drilled a bunch of holes with no issue at all. This weekend I went back to the same lake, drilled about 10 holes without a hint of a problem, drilled as good as ever. Went to drill the next... and dead. Not dull, just flat out would not bite ice, did nothing but spin. Auger was never dropped, blade cover was on 100% of the time unless drilling, never hit anything. Never hit bottom, was fishing average depths, nothing on the ice, good clear looking ice. Blade still feels sharp. I did bring it in the house to thaw in case it was iced up blades. Nope, my brand new Nils is dead in the water at about 50 holes drilled. Went from perfect, to absolutely nothing without warning or reason. I've been ice fishing my entire life, and never before have I ever witness something like this. At the worst I've seen augers progressively get harder to drill with for a few weeks until you get sick of it and fix it. Until this, I never would have believed an auger could go from 100 to 0 like this in a single day without warning, despite being told it would happen.

I can't even think of the word for how I feel. I'd throw this thing through Nil's window if I could. And that's the end of Thomas tries a Nils auger episode. At least the ice is thick enough to justify the gas auger weight again, which runs and cuts as good as ever.
-Tom

Offline [email protected]

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #25 on: Jan 16, 2023, 08:44 PM »
Iíve had the same experience with my gas Tanaka   The cutter tips got bent
Contact Frank Deluca for help

Offline thomasthepikehunter

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #26 on: Jan 16, 2023, 09:03 PM »
Iíve had the same experience with my gas Tanaka   The cutter tips got bent
Contact Frank Deluca for help

Bent? It's a hand auger. I'm strong, but not he-man!
-Tom

Offline dkfry

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #27 on: Jan 17, 2023, 12:29 AM »
Cut your losses and just get rid of it and buy something else. Like I said a few posts back, that is what I did and don't  regret it at all. A strikemaster Lazer with offset handles or a normal finbore 3 uses Lazer hand auger blades which are not touchy and last. Those Thunder Bay hand augers with the folding offset handles look like they may be made by Mora of Sweden and use Lazer blades. If so that would be the better value. They are small enough you could bring an extra set of blades with you if you want. Life's too short to deal with bad equipment on the ice.

Offline bigfoot86

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Re: Did I get a bad Nils auger?
« Reply #28 on: Jan 22, 2023, 11:02 AM »
Ashame you had issues like you had.  I have a couple nils and have many fishing partners that had them as long as I did.  Had the ones for years and it still cuts better than the strikemaster and eskimo bits I have.  Sounds like you just got unlucky.  My one nils has easily 4000+ holes on the original head.  Best augers I ever had but some people get lemons (goes with any brand)  or donít realize they did something to hurt the cutting edge, even if it was accidental.

 



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