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Drill Bit Sharpening

Discussion in 'Homesteading' started by Peanut, Dec 2, 2019 at 10:19 AM.

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  1. Dec 2, 2019 at 10:19 AM #1

    Peanut

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    It’s nice having a tool & die maker in the family, someone who can make a set of drill bits from scratch. I still have the tool & die maker, just not the equipment.

    Back in the 90’s when flying back home for a visit I’d sometimes bring a set of drill bits that needed sharpening. My dad and I would go to his shop and sharpen them. He’d usually do it with something like the #825 Drill Bit Grinding Attachment by general tool in the $40 price range, https://www.generaltools.com/drill-bit-grinding-attachment .

    A similar but more advanced tool is the “Tormek Drill Bit Sharpening Attachment” in the $300 price range. https://www.sharpeningsupplies.com/Tormek-Drill-Bit-Sharpening-Attachment-P406.aspx

    These allow the use of a bench grinder, a multipurpose tool which can be powered by pedals.

    There are stand alone drill bit sharpeners available for purchase. Under $200 the “Drill Doctor” has a line of them. https://www.northerntool.com/shop/t...s+sharpeners-accessories+drill-bit-sharpeners

    Anyone have preferences on sharpening drill bits? From a prepping point of view a way to sharpen drill bits would come in handy.
     
  2. Dec 2, 2019 at 11:12 AM #2

    Cnsper

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    I have been free handing on a bench grinder all my life.
     
  3. Dec 2, 2019 at 11:28 AM #3

    Haertig

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    I've never bought a drill bit that was expensive enough make resharpening worthwhile. I don't do much drilling, and therefore I buy mid-range drill bits (the super-cheapies will break, so you have to buy a step above that level). I've got some really old bits, never sharpened, that still make holes. A couple hundred dollars for a bit sharpener? That'll buy you a mess of replacement drill bits. Precision woodworkers might be aghast at cheap bits, but the kind of holes I drill are, e.g., to run a screw through a fence post. You don't need a whole lot of precision for that.
     
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  4. Dec 2, 2019 at 11:31 AM #4

    phideaux

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    Yeah , sorry , only used a special bit grinder when degree of angle, chisel point width, and relief angle was needed for a specific material . Steel , aluminum, wood, poly, etc.

    I just custom grind the point free hand by eye...always worked good,

    Figure that ability would come in handy one day.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 1:26 PM
  5. Dec 2, 2019 at 12:20 PM #5

    hiwall

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    I sharpen mostly on the 1" belt sander. I have many, many spares that I have bought for cheap at yard sales through the years. I have packages of many smaller sizes both numbered and fractional.
     
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  6. Dec 2, 2019 at 2:16 PM #6

    Peanut

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    I’ve known for several weeks I was going to buy a new set of bits when the black Friday sales started. I got one yesterday. My old set hasn’t been sharpened in 20 years, 5 bits were broken or lost, never replaced.

    I started digging through the shop a few weeks ago also… There are probably 50 individual bits in drawers or boxes, not counting partial sets. I found 6 of those. Then there are the boxes of bits my dad brought home from work when he retired.

    Many times I’ve seen my dad free hand bits here on the farm in the middle of a job. At a later date he’d always take them into work and put a precise angle on them. I guess it was the tool & die marker in him… Plus, if you have the equipment, why not?

    As best as I can recall I’ve never sharpened a bit. I know I could do it in a pinch but my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be. I know from my experience with chainsaws I’m above average at freehand sharpening a chain. But I’m not good enough to keep a chain sharpened over time with the precision of a factory edge or the Granberg sharpener that I have.

    For me there is a difference in getting a bit sharp and putting a precise factory edge on one. So, I started looking for economical ways to precisely sharpen bits at home in a prepping situation. More importantly keep them precisely sharp over time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 2:41 PM
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  7. Dec 2, 2019 at 2:30 PM #7

    Sparky_D

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    Back when I was in the industrial equipment manufacturing field, we bought a Drill Doctor to re-dress and recondition our bits.

    One of the guys did a LEAN study to determine if the time spent reworking old bits was worth more or less than the cost of replacing. It turned out we had a 20% savings if we simply replaced the bits when they were worn out.

    The line boss took the Drill Doctor home and refinished all the bits we dumped in the "Dull" box and his brother sold them at flea markets and split the money with him. He'd make about $50 per weekend in "refurbished" bits, lol.
     
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  8. Dec 2, 2019 at 6:53 PM #8

    hiwall

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    Most sharpened bits drill over-size holes.
     
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  9. Dec 4, 2019 at 7:54 PM #9

    Bacpacker

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    My stepdad has a drill doctor he's had for years. Works pretty good. He got a Tomec set up he uses for all his blades, ax's, sissors, most anything you can put an edge on. It works better than anything I've ever been around. He don't have the drill sharpener attachment. Will have to look into that.
    IMO cheap bits aren't worth the time to sharpen, unless you have no option. But for good quality steel bits, no reason not to sharpen those. Dad has a ton of those.
     
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  10. Dec 5, 2019 at 2:35 AM #10

    Caribou

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    I've straightened nails when I needed to but I've never paid anyone to straighten nails. Paying someone to sharpen a bit only makes sense if you are low on bits or have no choice. Sharpening them makes sense if you are sharpening your own drill bits, or it saves a trip to the store. The economics of sharpening bits depends on your situation.
     
  11. Dec 5, 2019 at 3:55 AM #11

    ssonb

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    I only straighten the nails that are pointed in the proper direction in the box. I wish they would load and Mark the nail boxes with an arrow letting you know if they are for left of right use.
    I have a Drill Dr I might need to practice , it does not seem to work very well......or I may be trying to sharpen the wrong end.
     
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