Sharpening drill bits


Old 06-21-01, 06:57 PM
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I read your answer about sharpening drill bits with a belt sander or grinder. But isn't there a way to sharpen them by hand with a 3 sided file or something similar?
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Old 06-21-01, 08:22 PM
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Hi: skendall

There si a lot more then meets the eye to sharpening a drill bit. The professional machines do use grinding wheels but have tool holds with micrometer dials to provide accuracy.

The best method for the casual user is the electric table top or bench top portable drill bit sharpeners sold at tools stores and departments.

Yes, it is possible to totally hand sharpen a drill bit on a grinding wheel or belt sander. I do it often. However, I do not recommend everyone attempt it.

Takes lots of practice to get the angles done accurately and correctly or the bit will not cut evenly, smoothly or accurately. Often times several are ruined learning and practicing but it can be learned.

One aspect cannot be done well by hand by everyone. That's the thinning the web. Which refers to the center point and the slopes inside the spiral. This needs to be done also.

There isn't any hand file I know of that can sharpen drill bits. The steel is much too hard and the angles need to be precise. Something that cannot be done with a file.

Good Luck.

Tom_Bartco Enterprises
Accurate Power Equipment Company.
Complete Saw and Tool Sharpening Service.
Sharpeners Quote:
"I can sharpen almost anything,
except your mind and your wits."
Old 06-21-01, 09:22 PM
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Thank you for your quick response. We have considered the table top sharpeners, but aren't sure if they will meet our needs. We own a small business running network cable where we are drilling 1/4" to 3/4" by 6" to 24" deep holes through masonry, wood, metal, almost any surface that you would want to run a cable through. We have replaced several drill bits, but are looking for a less expensive alternative to buying new bits when the others no longer function well. What would your solution be for our situation?
Old 08-01-01, 05:44 PM
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Location: Kansas City, Missouri.
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I know this is too late to be of interest, but I lurk around the tool forums everwhere and got tired of waiting for new posts.

If you enjoy sharpening drill bits and hate buying them, here is what I did. Buy an 8" bench grinder (Sams club). Remove and discard the grey stone grinding wheel. Buy the white (softer) grinding stones (hardware store) and install them. Then buy any $20 drill sharpening jig (Home Depot).
Read the instructions for sharpening. Mount both the grinder and the sharpening jig to a piece of plywood, such that the jig is always preset and ready to use. Otherwise the jig takes longer to set up than it takes to sharpen a drill. If you store and move the jig from the grinder, you end up with trial and error sharpening and will get discouraged with how time consuming it is. Over time, you may refine the setting of the jig, such that you have confidence in the shapening results. Dedicate this to be your shapening station, along with safety glasses. You can always buy another style of $20 jig next year, if your first one not everything you want.

I don't want to confuse you between setting the jig's location, mentioned above, and setting the jigs built in adjustment settings. You kinda need to figure out where the best placement of the jig is, with regard to the grind stone. Then bolt it down. After that you can perform the adjustment of the jigs built in angles and so on, without moving the jig. The point here is that, if you move the jigs location, just a hair, then the you must compensate by adjusting the jigs settings. That is why I suggest you bolt them both down and dedicate it as a sharpening station. You will have great success with method.

I love this forum and love to learn as much as I can from Tom. If you own hand planes, cabinet scrapers, drills and a lawn mower, you can save time and money learning how to sharpen your own tools. And just as important, you will learn to identify when any cutting tool is dull, which can
frustrate home projects.

I recently drilled 20 1/2" holes in 1/2" thick steel for a builder friend and returned his expensive bit to him, sharp as new.
That's alot of steel!

Old 08-15-01, 08:17 AM
some help
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All drill bits that are made to drill wood and only wood can be sharpened with a file, a wood auger bit with the screw center to pull it into the wood can only be sharpend with a three sided fill..right on! ship auger and other wood bits can be sharpend with a flat file. Wood bits need to be sharp to work well and you can touch them up as you go along with a good file and or hand stone "I like the dimond stones many to choose from" do this and they will only need big sharpening when you hit a nail..or? What you are drill "for" a table top grinder will keep the other bits working well...take a new unused drill bit and study how it was sharpend and you can do the same...saves mony..Yes but should do it in the shop when ever posible...not every one cand do this well in the feeled...Good Luck

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