How To Sharpen Drill Bits By Hand?

Transform your existing Drill Bits

If there is a project that requires some drill work and your drill bits are getting a little worn, but you’re really not too keen on the idea of trekking out to the local hardware store to buy more, then read on – there’s actually a simple little technique you can do – whether your drill bits are chipped, broken, or just plain worn out – that will transform your existing drill bits back (or almost back) to their original sharpened luster!

Sharpening your Drill Bit

Keep in mind that sharpening your drill bits can be a rather tricky process. What this article demonstrates is more of the old school way of sharpening by hand. It’s not a perfect way, however, if it’s done right, this technique will save you some money and add some time to your existing bits, getting you back into action fast. To sharpen your bits you will need 1) a dull, chipped, or worn out bit; and 2) a bench grinder or belt sander.

Safety Precautions

WARNING: Your hands will be near a dangerous sharpening device. Wearing gloves will run the risk of getting caught in the machine and pull you in – so don’t wear them. Be very careful about how you position your hands, and wear safety glasses.

Follow these steps:

  • Hold the drill bit so that the cutting end is parallel to the surface of the grinding wheel. You only want to remove as much metal as is needed to clean up and sharpen the edge.
  • Slowly bring the bit in contact to the wheel, keeping it as straight as possible without rotating or turning it. Don’t worry about maintaining the original curvature. Instead, this will make a newer, flatter cutting surface.
  • The heel of the bit’s cutting face, or the back of the end, should be ground slightly more than the edge, causing the cutting edge to contact the material first when in use.
  • When sharpening drill bits, the steel will heat up as metal is removed. Dip the bit into water frequently to keep it cooled.
  • As soon as the edge is sharpened enough, rotate the bit a half-turn and start sharpening the other side of the face. If this is done evenly, the bit will perform better.
  • When both edges are sharpened, check to make sure they are the same width by looking at the drill bit end-on. The two cutting edges should meet to form a center point. If not, just make grinding adjustments until the two sides center up.

Testing your Drill Bit

Test your new and improved drill bit by holding the tip against a piece of scrap wood, turning it clockwise by hand. If it is properly sharpened, it will easily begin making a hole with very little pressure. Then, if it passes this initial test, chuck the bit into your drill and give it a whirl.

Push the bit down into the wood piece just enough for it to “bite”. The bit should easily bite into the wood without force. After drilling an inch or two, pull the bit back out and you should see chips flying. And that’s all there is to it! With this clever technique you won’t have to rush right out and spend money on new drill bits. Enjoy!

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