A brad point drill bit is a very useful tool if you’re in the business of drilling precise holes in wood or other materials. Learning how to sharpen a Brad Point drill bit can be a little tricky, but essential if you want to maintain a high level of precision with your drilling.
A Brad Point drill bit is designed for precision so you need to take great care when sharpening it. If you sharpen it unevenly it will no longer drill precise holes.
If the drill bit remains centered as you are sharpening it, you have the best chance of sharpening its edges evenly. If the drill bit is not kept straight and the tip of the Brad Point ends up off-centered, the holes you drill won’t be accurate.
The safest way to sharpen Brad Point bits is with a specially customized grinding wheel. If you just use a regular bench grinder, you run the risk blunting or sharpening the edges unevenly.
Sharpening A Brad Point Drill Bit With A Customized Grinding Wheel
To begin, you’ll need a static diamond wheel dresser. This tool has a cuboid shape and is attached to a long handle. The cuboid-shaped part of the tool will have a coating of Polycrystalline Diamond or PCD, which is one of the toughest materials for grinding.
In order to sharpen the bit evenly, you’ll need to make a groove on one side of the grinding wheel at 35 degrees. This groove will match the shape of the spurs on the Brad Point bit.
Place the diamond wheel dresser down on a tool rest facing the grinding wheel. Measure an angle of 35 degrees from the thin edge of the grinding wheel before starting it up. If you want, you can mark the tool rest so you can easily find the angle again.
Gently move the wheel dresser towards the grinding wheel until it makes contact and begins to carve out a groove. When the groove is a little under half an inch or 10mm from the grinding wheel edge – then you are finished.
Your grinding wheel is now set up to sharpen Brad Point bits.
Step 1. Sharpen the spurs (The circular edges below the Brad Point)
The spurs of the Brad Point drill bit should be sharpened first. However, these circular areas don’t need to be sharpened as much as the pointed edge itself.
The spurs only need a second or two against the grinding wheel to be sharpened. Make sure to maintain the correct angle while sharpening the spurs by keeping the grinding wheel flat while pressed against the surface of the spurs.
Step 2. (Sharpen the pointed edges)
At this stage of the sharpening, Brad Point needs to be kept centered. If the very point of the drill bit becomes off-centered from sharpening, the bit will drill larger holes than expected. To help, if you have a drill press handy you can attach the drill bit to it.
To sharpen the Brad Point properly, you will need to grind the pointed edges evenly so that the point sharpens, but remains centered. It will only take a couple of seconds on the grinder to sharpen each side of the point. To ensure the point is sharpened evenly, allow each edge of the point the same amount of time on the grinder.
Be careful not to let the spurs touch the grinding wheel as you can easily blunt them again.
Step 3. (A final touch-up)
The third and final step is to sand the pointed edges and spurs with a piece of sandpaper or a small file – like a jeweler’s file. This finishing touch will remove any flaws, residual bits, or rough edges that may have been left behind from the grinding.
How To Make A Brad Point Drill Bit Last
Your Brad Point drill bit will serve you for a long time if you keep just two things in mind:
- Only use the drill bit for its intended purpose
- Keep the drill bit sharp
Brad Point bits come in all different lengths and thicknesses, but there are generally two different types; ones designed to drill hardwood, and ones designed to drill softwood. These two types of Brad Points should not be used interchangeably.
If you use a softwood Brad Point to drill hardwood it will produce too much heat and you will have difficultly pushing through the hardwood.
Likewise, if you use a softwood Brad Point to drill hardwood, the cutting edges will rip away the grain of the softwood and leave your holes with a rough, unprofessional finish.
Using a Brad Point on a material it’s not designed for will blunt it faster and may even create so much heat that your bit will lose temper. Brad Point drill bits that are tipped with diamond or carbide will do a much better job at boring through harder materials, though they will still need to be sharpened from time to time.
Let The Drill Do The Work
Allow the drill to do the bulk of the work for you, and don’t apply too much force as the Brad Point bit is pushing through the wood. Putting excessive pressure on the drill won’t do your drill driver any favors; it also makes you more likely to have an accident as you have less control over the drill, and it may even make the Brad Point bit snap off in the wood.
Be Careful How You Store Your Drill Bits
If your Brad Points are loosely stored together and knocking and rubbing against each other, they will also blunt and get damaged much faster. Try storing them in a wood block that has a separate hole for each drill bit.
That’s about all you need to know to sharpen and get the best out of your Brad Point drill bits. We really hope you’ve gotten some use out of this article. If you have any questions or tips to add to the list please leave a comment below. Thank you.