By: Bears Butt

For some reason this year my ice auger is giving me fits.  The blades keep falling off!  For those of you who have ice fished and owned a hand ice auger you know that there is nothing more frustrating than to go fishing and not be able to cut your way down through the ice in order to fish.  That puts you on the bum to get someone else to cut your hole for you or to go see if you can borrow someones ice auger.  Not a good scene either way in my opinion.

Sure, if I see a guy trying to drill a hole and it just isn’t working, I’ll grab up my auger and go and offer to cut him a few holes.  And of course they are way happy that I have offered and even offer to buy me a drink or give me some of their fishing gear or whatever as payment.  I always refuse and just do it because that is the way ice fishermen are.

Well, with my problem this year it has now cost me the price of a new pair of blades!  $35 locally!  I was drilling a hole in Pineview yesterday and my blades cut down through the ice and I pulled the auger up and handed it to Edjukateer so he could cut his and he complained about the way it was cutting.  When he pulled the auger up out of his partially drilled hole, it was missing one side of the blades (there are two on each auger).  I told him it would be down in the ice shavings of his hole.  He removed the ice shavings and there was no blade there.  I looked down my ice hole and there 15 feet below me laying in the mud was that ice blade!  Damn!

I usually come prepared for these sort of things and so we changed out the blades for a new set.  But my mind is saying “Auger building folks.  Please figure out another way to attach those blades so they can’t just come off and float down to the bottom of the lake”!  Now ask yourself if you were an ice auger building company.  Would you want your blades to not fall off after a season or two of use?  Probably not.  So keep building them that same old way.

But, me, as a consumer wants something better than their design.

Today, I got to thinking.  Actually it was the first thought I had this morning when I woke up.  Could I use a plain old every day bolt and use a lock washer and nut and secure it that way?  Is the pitch of the blades such that the bolt head would interfere with the cutting ability of the blades?  I think, they have probably figured out every angle to get me to have to buy new blades when I lose one.  And then I think, if the bolt head is slightly above the cutting edge, I could grind it off and make it work.  I’m setting myself a goal to investigate that today, once all my other “chores” are done.  And so it was, and so I did investigate!

I dumped out my can of bolts and rummaged through the thousands of them and finally found two that had the same thread as the tapped hole of the auger blade.  It happens to be 10X32 (whatever that means).  One of my bolts was about 3 inches long, the other about an inch.  Both went through the mounting point on the auger just fine.  Then I went to find a lock washer and nuts to fit them.  I did not find a nut, but I did find a “wing nut” that fit each perfectly!  I was a happy guy!

So, my new found bolts just happened to have screw driver ends.  One was a phillips head while the other a flat blade head.  So, what else is new?  I can deal with all of this as long as it works.  I put them on and secured the wing nuts down as best as I could using the screw drivers I have and they seemed to be pretty tight.

Then I looked closely at the pitch of the blades in relation to the head of the bolt sticking up.  Using both of my eyes together at first and then independently after that, I could see the heads of the bolts were very close to being even with the edge of the blade, even with the dramatic pitch of the blade mount.  It will be close if not a problem.

The ice is formed down at Willard Bay and so I loaded up the dog and headed down to try out the blade.  At the bay I walked out onto the ice (brave of me huh?  Not really, there had been a ton of people walk out on it the past day or so and there were three guys out there fishing.  I knew it was safe.)  and placed the auger blade edge down and thought about saying a little prayer (but didn’t) and began to turn the auger slowly.  It was cutting the ice!!!!!  I was a happy guy once again.  And I turned it faster and faster until it dove for the bottom of the lake!  YES!  I am a happy, happy guy now!  It worked!  I should never lose another ice auger blade again!

Back home, I hurried and put things back to where they should be and headed to the “Mans Store”, Smith and Edwards, where they have everything you want, if they can find it!  The Holy Cow store!  The Ikea for  Rednecks store.  If any store around will have my 10 X 32 bolts and lock washers and wing nuts they will have them.

Sure enough!  Two friendly guys there found me exactly what I was looking for and all the time we talked fishing and where they were biting and on what were they biting and all of us were excited to hear and see and do!  AND, they are anxious to see if this idea is actually going to work.  I have to give them both a report after my next outing.  And I sure hope my report is going to be a positive one because that time is tomorrow!  With the Grandkids.  Wouldn’t Grandpa look stupid if he pulls out the auger and it won’t cut a hole?

So, here are some pictures of the end result of putting it all together.  Do you think it will work?  Tomorrow will tell for me!  And I’ll report on here if it worked or not as well.  Maybe one of you will find it a useful idea and employ it in your ice fishing adventures!

So, here is a picture of the bolts going through the blades and then through the mounting points on the auger and held with the locking washers and wing nuts.

From this angle, if you look at the sharp edge of the blade on your left and compare it to the heads of the bolts protruding out of the blade on the right it looks like the inside edge of the cutting blade is actually higher than the inside bolt head.  Maybe it’s just the angle of the picture in relation to the blades/bolt heads.  Let’s take another angle look.

This angle shows that the bolt head is actually below the leading edge of the cutting blade.  But is it enough for the blade to actually do its cutting and not be dragging on the uncut ice behind the blade?  Tomorrow will tell.  Let’s look at another angle.

I am thinking that I am seeing the inside edge of the blade on the opposite side of the auger is higher than the bolt head on the inside of this side blade (does that make sense?)  I’m pretty sure I am seeing the cutting edge of that blade over there on the other side and it is higher than the bolt head that is the farthest form my eye on this side of the auger.  HMMM.  This just might work.

Take a look at the setup again.

Well, wish me luck on this one.  The grandkids are counting on the old grandpa to lead them into some action on the ice covered fish pond called Mantua tomorrow and this little blue bad boy must provide!

By the way, isn’t that beer can a nice looking one?  It adds a little color to an otherwise blue and white world!

Bears Butt

Dec. 2011


The fishing was lousy!  MaKenzie caught one bluegill and most of us had a bite but for the most part it was terrible.  A quarter inch of water on the ice met us and before we were done the wind had blown the water from the west side of the lake over to where we were and we were standing in almost an inch of water when we left.  Not the best of ice fishing conditions.

But I must report the ice augers worked!  I was so very happy when they dug into the ice and made for short order holes!  So, I will never lose another ice auger blade to it falling into the lake or stripping the bolt and coming off and any other way that they cause grief and un-wanted fishing time.

So there you have it!  I don’t have to weld the end of the bolt onto the blade and grind off the excess.  Just put in the bolts, add the lock washer and twist down the wing nut!  Done!  Fishing time is good once again!

Bears Butt

Still Dec. 2011

Written on December 28th, 2011 , Hunting/Fishing/Trapping Stories

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    marc commented

    thanks i have been searching all over if it is good to use a locknut and bolt to secure new blades on an old hand auger i have. the replacement screws that were included with the blades were too short so i bought 4 bolts and 4 locknuts. just put on the new blades and will test it out on lake nosbonsing tomorrow!

    January 15, 2015 at 10:19 pm
      Bears Butt commented

      Mine have been holding up just fine. Make sure the bolt heads don’t protrude past the cutting edge of the blades.

      January 16, 2015 at 9:08 am | Stories, Ramblings & Random Stuff From an Old Mountain Man is proudly powered by WordPress and the Theme Adventure by Eric Schwarz
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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.