What is a Brad Point Drill Bit? The Ultimate Guide

Woodwork has never been easy without the right tools. It is a multi-million investment for many and looking at a well-furnished house you can tell that apart from workmanship, the choice of tools is a big plus.

A brad point drill bit makes drilling in wood easy, time-saving and efficient, and we owe it to its cutting points and flute. The spur-like tip resembles that of a spade bit but it is smaller in diameter compared to a spade drill bit.

Now, a brad point bit works on two types of wood: the hard and softwoods.  However, the cutting points for the two kinds of wood are not the same. So, let us look at the two kinds of brad point drill bits for wood.

Two Kinds of Brad Point Bits

Looking at the bit’s cutting points, the two sharp cutting edges form the flute. However, the part responsible for contact and biting into wood is the middle point called the pin. So, the difference between the drill bit for hardwood and softwood is in the pin angle.

For hardwood

The pin is sharp and pointed at a 90 degrees angle. This ensures that the bit cuts when it meets the hardwood grains. This feature of brad point bits prevents walking and broken edges at the finish, something that is a bit different from regular twist bits.

Brad points for softwood

On the other hand, the cutting point of a softwood brad point bit is slightly rounded. The pin is not at a 90 degrees angle and it cuts smoothly into softwood.

You may want to know why you should choose brad point drill bits over other regular bits. Yes, for productivity, brad point drill bits should not be an option. It is a simple investment and a necessity for any tool kit. Here is why you should consider brad point drill bits.

Why Use Brad Point Drill Bits Over Regular Bits?

Chipping happens when you do not secure your workpiece with soft plywood beneath it as you drill. This is commonly associated with ordinary twist drill bits. Yet, the cutting tips of a brad point drill bit ensure a smooth and clean finish without uneven edges.

Besides that, it is faster in drilling and the flute allows for faster chip removal. If you need to fix doorknobs, drawers, and cabinet hinges, the high cutting precision and efficiency of these bits provide a smooth finish.

Carbide-tipped drill bits and HSS brad point bits have the cutting stamina and angle not just for wood but also plastics and other soft material.

Can You Re-Sharpen a Brad Point Drill Bit?

The pin and the lips of brad point drill bits should stay sharp because when they dull, exerting a little pressure on them breaks the tip. A wheel grinder, mill file, or diamond stone file should help you restore its edges to a working state.

Take note of the angles and the lips and ensure that the few seconds of grinding do not wear out your cutting edges. Otherwise, you need some knowledge on how to hold the drill bit against each sharpener.

Materials that Make the Best Brad Point Drill Bit Set

If you should Google or Bing search for quality drill bits for wood, it goes without mention that brad point bits are amongst top-rated bits. However, knowing the construction materials that form sturdy and durable bits may be a subject for discussion. Here are some of the high-quality bits under this category:

High-Speed steel drill bits

HSS bits are stable with high heat resistance. Their cutting edges do not easily blunt for this reason and if they do, sharpening can restore their working prowess. You can also buy them at a lesser cost compared to carbide bits.

Carbide-tipped drill bits

Carbide brad point drill bits make your drilling experience enjoyable. The flute design quickens the process of chip removal while the carbide tips ensure longevity, heat, and corrosion resistance. You don’t have to worry about the cost since they are much durable than regular bits.

Uses of Brad Point Drill Bits

These are special drill bits for wood, but they are also used to drill holes in plastic and rubber. On the contrary, if you need drill bits for metal, consider other bit types with suitable tip points (118 or 135 degrees) unlike for brad point.

Besides, these bits serve as pilot point bits so that instead of a center punch, you can establish straight contact and start with your drilling job. However, woodworking can use metal bits conversely.

When it comes to making holes for door hinges, you cannot do it by hand. However, with a drill press and a well-clamped workpiece, brad point drill bits provide highly accurate holes.

Brad Point Bits and Twist Drill Bits

If you are already using twist drill bits for wood, you know the benefits and cons of the same. A brad point drill bit cuts through grain without breaking its edges as it emerges through the piece. However, you may experience wood splintering if using the twist drill bits.

But not to worry, there’s always a solution for each problem. There are ways to avoid such. For instance, you can use soft plywood to support your workpiece, or masking tape the area, then support with a flat piece of wood.

Brad point bits may be a bit expensive than twist bits but the good thing is that they can last for long with the right use. Lastly, a twist drill bit has unbeatable speed with power drills.

Their spiral flute makes it easy to sink into the wood and with the right length and diameters; you can have variable diameter holes as you like. However, there is a limit to widening holes using a brad point bit.

Sizes and Diameters

A brad point drill bit set carries metric values for length and diameters according to the manufacturers’ specifications. It depends on the fasteners to use in those holes: nails, screws, nuts, bolts, or any other fixtures.

You may need to consult with your carpenter or home improvement consultant for the right sizes and specifications.

Can you Use Brad Point Drill Bits for Plastic?

The cutting points of a brad point tip do not cause cracking in plastic. Since they cut with clarity and precision, it is possible to use brad point drill bits for plastic.

Cons of a Brad Point Bit

Having a brad point bit is a wise decision as you can play around with your tools yet maximizing on production. However, a few things limit its workability.

  • You may need some knowledge on how to turn it around while sharpening. Otherwise, it is a bit challenging to sharpen by a beginner.  Over-grinding any edges may result in wobbling and you may not work with it without its uniform edges.
  • It’s a bit expensive than the normal twist bits
  • For high accuracy, clamp down your workpiece and use a drill press. A hand drill may cause precision issues. You can therefore use a brad point drill bit jig to level and increase accuracy.
  • Adjusting hole diameters is almost impossible using a spur-tip drill bit.

Are Brad Point Bits Worth It?

Having some brad point drill bit sets for your woodworking projects not only improves precision, but you can also save on time spent on center marking. At times cheap becomes costly, and that’s why a small investment on these bits may be worth more than several sets of ordinary bits.

Conclusion

A brad point drill bit is the perfect tool for drilling in softwood, plastic, and hardwood materials. With the right drilling speeds and pressure, your drill bits should serve you longer with few replacement costs. Otherwise, we hope that the knowledge of these bits inspires your purchasing decision today.

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