I keep running across ice fishermen who simply miss all sorts of details about about all sorts of stuff. Many of them could easily be members of the Captain Obvious Fan Club. If it is not readily obvious, they do not notice it. Ice fishermen notice and remain impressed by rotations per minute. If the RPM’s are higher, the device is better. This is pretty much always the rule as I’ve seen it for the last 14 years or so. Faster is better. Bigger is better. If it’s not faster and bigger, it’s not worth owning. At least that is what the marketing says over and over knowing ice fishermens’ need for speed and power. Very few look beyond the surface of this well-established belief and marketers play on ice fishermen by using speed and power as hot buttons to make a sale. Face it, guys. You are suckers and the marketers know it.
My example to prove this point lies in the complete lack of analytical thought that goes hand in hand with observing ice augers cutting through the ice. If you watch the Eskimo HC-40 propane ice auger drilling a hole in the ice, the first and foremost thing that you will notice is the speed. It doesn’t look like it’s turning fast. And, like most men, if it’s not blasting a hole through the ice, it has less value.
Why is this? Well, if you look at all the advertisements for every known tool from welders to hammers to circular saws to rifles to cars, if it is marketed to men, it has to be fast and powerful. The reason for this is that there is not much else to go on with guys. If it doesn’t appear to rip/roar, it’s no good. That alone is about the only point they are able to knowingly drive home through the mind of the average guy who isn’t going to focus on many other details. Watch all the TV commercials. It’s like you are being trained day-in and day-out with pickup trucks that can now pull 20,000 lbs. with 897 foot pounds of torque, and driving up steep, rocky inclines. Manly things are shown and no chicks are allowed unless they are cheering the manly-man on. It’s pretty ridiculous. Even a simple hammer needs to make a nail slow-mo explode on impact. As a result, you have been programmed. This is all you know because you are less likely to take two seconds and ask if this is what you need or what you’ve been made to believe you want. If you are reading this analysis, that in itself is amazing because a lot of men react more to displays of adrenalin pumping power. This ridiculous belief system of power-necessity has now become the only standard by which most “guy” equipment is now judged. If you think the Eskimo HC-40 ice auger is slow when drilling, you have been programmed quite nicely.
The HC-40 has a basic, two blade system. Each blade cuts the ice for one half a rotation every time the drill is placed on the ice. The blades are exposed and open. Step on the gas and that little propane motor is geared down to a comfortable set of RPM’s and it drills a hole without the motor bogging down. Since a set of two blades makes a complete circle in only half a turn, the drill doesn’t need to turn as much to do the same amount of work than a one-bladed auger has to do. In order for a one-blade, chipper tooth auger like the Jiffy Pro-4 propane to do the same amount of work as the Eskimo in about the same amount of time, it absolutely needs to turn the drill twice as fast to produce the same result. One blade makes a complete cut by going around a complete circle with the Jiffy. Are you following here? In order to make a hole, the Jiffy needs to turn the drill bit faster. They aren’t turning it faster to make you salivate. They turn it faster to make a hole in about the same amount of time as a slower-turning auger with two blades.
The way the Jiffy Pro-4 is made, there is a round, flat plate on the bottom from which the chipper blade hangs down. And like the slot in a cheap, simple pencil sharpener, the blade cuts the ice and blasts the ice chips up into the flights to be pumped out of the hole, just like a pencil sharpener expels a ribbon of wood. It’s spinning fast because it needs to make a complete cut in one full turn. When drilling with a Jiffy or any auger, more noise and higher rpm’s doesn’t guarantee a quicker hole. And then, when you do break through to water, the magical moment of the Jiffy design hits you. Because of that “pencil sharpener” effect with the round plate essentially sealing the bottom of the drill bit, what works effectively for expelling ice chips also works for water very well. As you blast through the ice to the water, the chipper blade picks up water at those higher RPM’s and blasts it out of the hole like a pretty effective pump. The water that the blade catches cannot go down. It only goes up and it comes out of the hole in substantial volume, soaking you and your Ice Castle floor, every time.
By comparison, the Eskimo HC-40, does not force the water up and out of the hole like the Jiffy design. Sure, you get a little, but when you let go of the throttle, it’s not even close to what the Jiffy pumps out and the upward force dissipates instantly because there is no flat plate below holding it back. That is why you see me drilling in my jeans. You can stay relatively dry with the Eskimo.
Now, I’m not going to crack open a brand new Jiffy to do a side-by-side race. As a retailer, if I take it out and use it, then I have to sell it used and the margins on all of this stuff is piddly-rinky-dink at best. But, I have used a Jiffy Pro-4, 10″ auger and I know they turn a lot faster. I also remember using it thinking that it makes an awful lot of turns to drill a hole in the ice at a somewhat slow pace. What you need to look at is how fast two power augers sink into the ice, as opposed to just seeing the obvious RPM’s of the drill. That’s the Captain Obvious part that so many see – fast RPM’s. A test of both drills has to be done on a level playing field with new sharp blades on both otherwise the results are worthless. Does the Jiffy Pro 4 cut the hole faster than the Eskimo? Having used both, I’m not so sure it does. And, if it does cut one second faster in 12 inches of ice, is that significant? Is that worth the substantially heavier weight and being soaked from the knees down all the time?
So, the real questions remain:
- Are you a complete slave to marketing in general with a programmed set of beliefs?
- Are you in an ice fishing race?
- Do you like wet knees?
- Do you like a heavier weight auger at breakthrough?
- Can you only see the obvious differences and advantages of any tool?
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions – well, I have no idea what that means. All I know is that the Eskimo HC-40 seems to drill a 10 inch hole just fine. The motor doesn’t bog and I don’t get wet from the knees down.
Disclaimer: I’ve been advertising now for Eskimo with this auger for months now. The videos I’ve shot have had thousands of views on this auger. Eskimo has not so much as paid me one dime to speak favorably about their propane auger. They’ve yet to send me so much as a T-shirt despite all the work I’m doing that benefits them directly. So, at the moment, I’m not particularly impressed with Eskimo as a company and they’ve kinda really sucked this year as a supplier. Fortunately for them, I happen to think this is a good auger and worth my efforts. We also sell this auger along with Jiffy’s. I think Jiffy’s Pro-4 is a good power auger, too, but it has had it’s share of proving time for the last three seasons. The HC-40 is new and my customers want to know.
That is what Red Rock Outdoors blog is all about.