Water Well Journal Q&A

Published On: January 18, 2024By Categories: Drilling, Features

Terry’s Randall Terry is known for stellar customer service and willingness to customize a tool to customer specifications.

By Mike Price

Terry’s Bit Service works on a PDC (polycrystalline diamond compact) hole opener. Photo courtesy Terry’s Bit Service in Foxworth, Mississippi.

Like many reputable businesses, Randall Terry of Terry’s Bit Service has made a name for himself in the drilling community that has led to word-of-mouth recommendations.

Founded by Terry’s father in 1973 before he took over in 1996, Terry’s Bit Service in Foxworth, Mississippi, manufactures and repairs drill bits for the water well, geothermal, cathodic protection, and environmental markets.

Jake Foord, a driller for Wm L Foord Water Well in Benton, Louisiana, needed a stabilizer built five years ago and was recommended to contact Terry. Terry built the stabilizer and a couple of drag bits for Foord.

“Quality of work on those parts was excellent,” Foord says. “When he came to deliver the bits and stabilizer, he questioned the types of drilling we encounter and asked if we had ever run a PDC [polycrystalline diamond compact] bit. At that point we had not. The cost was
significantly higher, but the purported benefits certainly had our attention.

“Terry proceeded to make us an offer that was hard to refuse. He would send us a PDC bit in whichever size we wanted. If we liked the bit, we simply had to mail him a check. If we did not like the bit, then we would simply send him the bit back and that would be the end of it. After drilling three or four wells with a 4-wing PDC, I called Terry and requested he send me a second PDC bit and an invoice for both bits.”

Wm L Foord Water Well’s rate of penetration increased dramatically through most formations, with the PDC bit’s top benefit being if it hit a layer of rock, the company didn’t need to trip out of the hole and switch to a tricone bit. The company could simply continue drilling.

Randall Terry

Before Terry sent Wm L Foord Water Well a PDC bit, he explained the types of formations that PDCs excel in along with ones they poorly perform in. He warned Foord to try to avoid drilling through a lot of gravel as this would risk breaking the cutters off the bit.

Since these early transactions Terry has built Wm L Foord Water Well several hundred feet of new drill pipe, several stabilizers, PDC hole openers, and tricone bits of various sizes.

“Terry is always responsive to phone calls and has helped on some time-sensitive projects by expediting us a bit if there was a change in plans on the fly,” Foord says. “I can’t speak highly enough about his customer service and his willingness to customize a tool to customer specifications.

“He has helped us design our tooling where almost everything can be broken out with our rotary table instead of having to use pipe wrenches and cheater pipes. This has sped up trip times and saved immense amounts of frustration with over-torqued bits not wanting to break free.

“By switching from drag bits to PDC bits we have extended the rebuild interval from 1500 to 2000 feet of drilling to 15,000 to 30,000 feet of drilling. We typically use a PDC bit for about a year before it needs to be sent in for a rebuild.”

Jake Foord, a driller for Wm L Foord Water Well in Benton, Louisiana, had these made by Terry’s Bit Service: (Left) two 3.5-inch × 5-foot bit stabilizers, a 6.5-inch × 5-foot bit stabilizer, holding clamp for the 6.5-inch stabilizer, and a 6¾-inch 4-wing PDC bit; (Middle) 6¾-inch 4-wing PDC bit; (Right) 6.5-inch × 5-foot weighted bit stabilizer. Photos courtesy Foord.

Trint Clark of Clarks Well Drilling in Grand Ridge, Florida, shared that Terry recently built the company custom 34-inch and 28-inch bits for a 36-inch dual rotary job in Orange Beach, Alabama.

“Very pleased with how those worked,” Clark shares. “However, he also builds us many 7¾-inch 5-wing custom PDC bits which have been a versatile bit that we use daily for our residential jobs. He builds every bit we use, and he always listens to our new ideas or concerns.

“About nine years ago my brother came up with an idea to reverse the wing setups on our drag bits and Randall was more than happy to build it for us. Ever since then he has been building those bits for us and continues to try and make them better.”

Water Well Journal contacted Terry to learn more about his business.

Water Well Journal: Which drill bit type do you sell most to water well and geothermal contractors?
Randall Terry: We do drag bits and PDC. Environmental contractors? Spade bullet cutter head.

WWJ: Can you explain the repair services you offer and your process of repairing bits?
Terry: We retip all teeth and cut off old blades, replacing with new blades, and we redress the body as needed.

WWJ: With supply chain issues still expected to linger in 2024, what are you telling your customers in the United States on lead time for orders?
Terry: We usually get items out in three to seven days and will overnight items if necessary.

WWJ: Regarding drill bits, what are the most common questions you receive from your customers?
Terry: We answer their questions by trying to educate them on acquiring the correct bit for their particular drilling applications.

WWJ: What does your customer support consist of and what are the details of your warranty program?
Terry: If our product we provide fails, we will repair or replace the bit quickly and free of charge.

WWJ: Which drill bit design are you most excited about in 2024?
Terry: Our PDC design.

WWJ: How can a contractor know when to send their bit in to be retipped?
Terry: Our bits are made to be repaired by us no matter the condition.

What kind of shortcuts have you seen from bit repairs?

Terry: We have seen bits that have not been redone to the correct gauge, and with some of the carbide tips, they will regrind them instead of replacing them with new carbide tips.

WWJ: Do you plan on offering any new products or services in 2024?
Terry: Yes, we strive to develop and meet our customer bit needs by offering to build specialty bits for the needs in the well drilling business.

WWJ: Lastly, what is your favorite part of being a supplier of drilling rock bits and downhole tools for the water well drilling industry?
Terry: The interaction and satisfaction of providing our customers fast, friendly, and quality products that meet their specific needs in the water well drilling service.

Mike Price is the senior editor of Water Well Journal. In addition to his WWJ responsibilities, Price contributes to the Association’s scientific publications. He can be reached at mprice@ngwa.org, or at (800) 551-7379, ext. 1541.

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