Here’s the truth about sharpening brad point drill bits – it can be tricky. How so? Simply because the bits are made to offer extreme accuracy which can be compromised by uneven sharpening. You can sharpen just for the sake of it but rather to achieve perfect results.
What you need to keep in mind here is that the brad point has to be kept in a central position because if the tip is even slightly off-center, the bit will drill holes bigger than its circumference and unevenly wobble around.
For this reason, most people prefer to have their bits sharpened professionally and that is quite understandable. There is no shame in not wanting to ruin your bits by sharpening them yourself.
However, if you are determined to do the sharpening on your own, you are in the right place as this article will help you do just that.
What is a Brad Point Bit?
Before we get into how to sharpen the bits, why don’t we first explain what a brad point drill bit is? Well, it is a bit, just like any other.
A Brad otherwise known as the Pilot point drill bit is used for drilling clean and accurate holes in both hardwood and softwood. The bit comes with a pin at the center for proper alignment when precision is required.
As you may have guessed, a blunt drill bit will simply not create holes and even if it does, they will not be as accurate and as clean as you need them to be hence the need to sharpen.
Here is How to Sharpen your Brad Point Drill Bits:
First, you will need to get a sharpening tool that will be used to make your tip sharp. It could be a file, grinder, or whatever else that can be used for sharpening. The only thing you want here is for the sharpener to be coated with hard material for easier and faster sharpening.
To increase your chances of getting uniform results as far as the sharpening of your bits, you will have to make a 35-degree groove on the side of the grinding wheel. That is what will match the shape of the spurs on the brad point bit.
After that, you need to sharpen the spurs while keeping a correct angle. You do that by keeping the sharpening tool flat against the spur surface.
That will take several strokes of scratching with your card or file and a second or two against the grinder. Be careful not to push any spur that you are not grinding into the wheel accidentally and be aware of where the brad point is always.
Grinding it will cost you a lot more work.
Next, you want to grind the brad point’s edges so that you end up with a sharp point. The aim here is to give the sides an angle of around 5-10 degrees.
You also want to keep in mind that giving the same number of passes with your grinder or file on each side of the point should give you an even and accurate alignment.
Ensure that the spurs do not touch the grinding wheel as that will only make them blunt again and you do not want that.
This final step involves sanding the spurs and pointed edges with a small file or sandpaper. That will eliminate any rough edges, residual bits, and flaws that may have been caused by the grinding process.
How To Make a Brad Point Drill Bit Last
After sharpening your brad point bit, you want it lost a long time, right? That is understandable so here is what you should do to make that possible.
- Use the bit only for the intended purpose
- Do not use it when it is blunt
Remember that brad point bits come in different thicknesses and lengths and there are generally two kinds; the ones designed for softwood and those designed for hardwood.
Never use the two interchangeably because if you use the ones designed for softwood on hardwood they will overheat and you will experience difficulties.
On the other hand, if you use a softwood bit for hardwood, the cutting edges are likely to rip the softwood grain away and leave you with rough and unprofessional-looking holes.
Using a Brad Point bit on materials is not specifically created for will blunt it faster or cause it to overheat and spin erratically.
These bits are tipped with carbide or diamond and do a good job at boring through harder surfaces even though they will need frequent sharpening.
Tips for Maintaining your Brad Point Bit
1. Let the drill do its job- It is easy to get tempted to apply a lot of force when drilling through surfaces but that is not a good move.
The excess pressure will not do any favors to your bit. Moreover, you are more likely to experience accidents because then, you will have less control over the drill.
Sometimes, applying a lot of pressure can make the bit snap off.
2. Store the bits correctly– When you store your bits too close together or too far apart, they are likely to get blunt and damaged faster than anticipated.
As such, you may want to store them in something like a woodblock with separate holes for each bit.
3. Remember that these tips are carbide-tipped which means they are hard. Therefore, you need an equally tough sharpening surface such as diamond for effective sharpening.
4. When sharpening, begin with the spurs before proceeding to the point. The spurs take only a few strokes to sharpen especially if the spurs are at an accurate angle.
Upon sharpening the spurs, you then want to focus on the point edges to ensure that you get the sharpness you are looking for. Each side should be at a 5-10 degree angle with the same number of passes applied for each side.
5. The key to a successful sharpening session is to keep the point centered. Failure to do that means you risk having the bit spin irregularly. You will also end up with a wider hole that creates wandering problems.
To ensure that it remains centered, try sharpening the bit on a drill press as the rotation will help keep the point centered well for uniform sharpening.
Well, that is more or less about what you need to know when it comes to sharpening and making the most out of your sharpened brad point drill bits. With that, we hope you have learned a thing or two to help you out whenever you need to handle projects that require drilling with such bits.