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  • Spring meet up in Ontario, Newmarket, April 6/2024. Discussion

Sharpening Drills.....

thestelster

Ultra Member
Premium Member
I was having fun Peter. My facetiousness was maybe a wee bit too subtle but I wanted to avoid being political.

I suppose I could have said "Canada, is becoming the new China". But now that I'm explaining it, it's not really political anymore.
In the photo of that Lee Valley link, the nameplate on the sharpener says Taiwan.
 

garageguy

Super User
Premium Member
I have one of the general drill bit sharpeners that I bought 30 yrs ago. it looked so cheap and poorly made that I tossed it on the shelf and left it there till a few months ago. Figured it was $13 wasted on a piece of junk. So a while back I got bored and figured I would give it a try. It actually works pretty good. Very poorly made, but it works. The instructions say up to 1/2in. so I tried some larger sizes and found that the cutting edge chips completely off.
 

Mcgyver

Ultra Member
I was having fun Peter. My facetiousness was maybe a wee bit too subtle but I wanted to avoid being political.

I suppose I could have said "Canada, is becoming the new China". But now that I'm explaining it, it's not really political anymore.

You guys are really trying to push my grumpy old man buttons aren't ya? Lee Valley, the evolution of what was a great store for woodworkers into a gift shop, and Tim Hortons....that those purveyors of crap food and weak coffee get cast as a national icon is oh so embarrassing! :D :D.

Sharpening by hand works, but its nicer and easier having them ground accurately so they cut to size. I batch them and can do one in a minute or two when the rhythm is going so yes, sharpening drills, even small ones, is quite economic (granted, just doing one would take awhile, setup etc). They cut to with 2-3 thou....get that geometry a mirror image on each lip and they will do so.

Here's a Canuck made drill grinding fixture. works from close to nothing to 1" The problem with some fixtures is holding the drills. As the diameter goes up, the land helix gets really long meaning you need a long fixture to get enough contact. Collets are a problem for that with large drills for instance - the land surfaces are so close to parallel to the axis, that the drill isn't held firmly.


tr & V block.jpg


tr assembly.jpg


pt 2 with larger drill.jpg


pt 2 sharpened drills.jpg
 
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thestelster

Ultra Member
Premium Member
You guys are really trying to push my grumpy old man buttons aren't ya? Lee Valley, the evolution of what was a great store for woodworkers into a gift shop, and Tim Hortons....that those purveyors of crap food and weak coffee get cast as a national icon is oh so embarrassing! :D :D.

Sharpening by hand works, but its nicer and easier having them ground accurately so they cut to size. I batch them and can do one in a minute or two when the rhythm is going so yes, sharpening drills, even small ones, is quite economic (granted, just doing one would take awhile, setup etc). They cut to with 2-3 thou....get that geometry a mirror image on each lip and they will do so.

Here's a Canuck made drill grinding fixture. works from close to nothing to 1" The problem with some fixtures is holding the drills. As the diameter goes up, the land helix gets really long meaning you need a long fixture to get enough contact. Collets are a problem for that with large drills for instance - the land surfaces are so close to parallel to the axis, that the drill isn't held firmly.


View attachment 31727


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View attachment 31730
Nice!! Did you make the jig?
 

Mcgyver

Ultra Member
What do you have attached to? A tool and cutter grinder?

I've got a floor model T&CG and this little bench model, a Chevalier 610. Roughly a knock off of a cuttermaster, imo a little nicer. Made in Taiwan, quality is actually pretty good. I use it for endmills (w airbearing) lathe tools (threading) and drills. The big one I use mostly has a light cylindrical grinder and for the occasional horizontal cutter

It would work just as well on a surface grinder with a cup wheel installed. Very old photo before my shop got crowded!

DSCN0972-1300x975.JPG
 
You guys are really trying to push my grumpy old man buttons aren't ya? Lee Valley, the evolution of what was a great store for woodworkers into a gift shop, and Tim Hortons....that those purveyors of crap food and weak coffee get cast as a national icon is oh so embarrassing! :D :D.

Sharpening by hand works, but its nicer and easier having them ground accurately so they cut to size. I batch them and can do one in a minute or two when the rhythm is going so yes, sharpening drills, even small ones, is quite economic (granted, just doing one would take awhile, setup etc). They cut to with 2-3 thou....get that geometry a mirror image on each lip and they will do so.

Here's a Canuck made drill grinding fixture. works from close to nothing to 1" The problem with some fixtures is holding the drills. As the diameter goes up, the land helix gets really long meaning you need a long fixture to get enough contact. Collets are a problem for that with large drills for instance - the land surfaces are so close to parallel to the axis, that the drill isn't held firmly.


View attachment 31727


View attachment 31728


View attachment 31729


View attachment 31730
Nice 4 face grind.
 

Downwindtracker2

Well-Known Member
I was taught to use both wrists and elbows when sharpening by hand. You'll see the motion on some videos.. Both flutes have to be the same angle. I saw a machinist sharpening drills, he measured both flutes with a caliper. I found I got the correct clearance angle if there was dip between the flutes at the center.
 

Brian H

Super User
I took the time to read Harold Halls article on drill bit sharpening (http://www.homews.co.uk/page354.html ). Good read but unless I missed it, for jobber bits, using a bench grinder, what sort of stone/wheel is recommended?

I usually have a 1" wide 80-120 grit on my right wheel. Nothing fancy but considering a second "tool bit only" bench grinder... Any preferences for wheel choice would be appreciated (for bit and tool sharpening).

BTW, I've had Drill Doctor for years, must admit, it is incredibly frustrating and darn near useless. Watched all the videos, but can't seem to find anything that spells out how to get a great "bit" out of this contraption.... about the only thing it does well is "splitting bits".... I've just starting using a jig that Harold talks about and pretty pleased with my first efforts, looking at improving the setup.

(PS... I drink too much to sharpen anything by hand ;-) )

Cheers

Martin
I have had a different experience with the Drill Dr. I purchased one on sale a couple years back and was quite impressed with it. I did find that if the bit had significant damage (i.e. a chip or gouge) it took quite awhile to correct. The habit I have gotten into is to use a drill a couple of times then put them in a bucket and once a month or so I spend an afternoon sharpening. I have gotten much better results just using it to touch up bits as opposed to regridsing them.

Also, I have watched many videos on using a bench grinder to sharpen drills and it would appear that I just suck at it... never had any success whatsoever.
 

Alawishes

Member
I learned to sharpen drill bits by hand and was fairly happy with how well they drilled holes, until I put those bits in the tail stock of my lathe. Invariably the cutting was done a lot more with 1 cutting edge than both. I use a drill gauge to check angles and lip lengths but I guess that is not quite accurate enough. Once I sharpen a bit I return it to the index case upside down so I know it no longer has a factory ground end. I have a Drill Doctor but it always seems like a huge production to set up and use to sharpen one bit compared to quickly touching up an end by hand.

I’ve had good luck hand sharpening on my 1” vertical belt sander with a ceramic belt — it lasts a long time, it stays flat, and doesn’t seem to put as much heat into the bit.
 
I have a Drill Dr 750x and have used them extensively, while their ads say a fairly large range they are best from the smallest size up to about 3/8 maybe a bit larger. The second thing is they are good for split points, no brainer set up.

I also have the General sharpener, better at the larger sizes 1/4 and up. Used correctly these things are cheap and work great (don't do split points). You can free hand split points with layout dye, crisp edge stone, good eyes and nerves of steel.

I have also done a few bits by hand, a little hit and miss here. Not enough practice and need to think about approach, methodology and angle.

I also have a Deckle (Shars) yet to be tried, as I begin to understand its motions I can see great ways of grinding drills, endmills and or bits. Need to spend a week on it before I comment on how easy and good it is.
 
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LenVW

Process Machinery Designer
I have a Drill Dr 750x and have used them extensively, while their ads say a fairly large range they are best from the smallest size up to about 3/8 maybe a bit larger. The second thing is they are good for split points, no brainer set up.

I also have the General sharpener, better at the larger sizes 1/4 and up. Used correctly these things are cheap and work great (don't do split points). You can free hand split points with layout dye, crisp edge stone, good eyes and nerves of steel.

I have also done a few bits by hand, a little hit and miss here. Not enough practice and need to think about approach, methodology and angle.

I also have a Deckle (Shars) yet to be tried, as I begin to understand its motions I can see great ways of grinding drills, endmills and or bits. Need to spend a week on it before I comment on how easy and good it is.
I hope you pull that out the next time I am at your garage.
No rush, I will call you on a Tuesday or Friday, this Summer.
 

Art M

Active Member
I have a Drill Dr. I like it for small bits as my arms have gotten too short to read the news paper. On anything 1/4” and up I usually hand sharpen and then just touch up the edges with the Drill Doctor. I’ve found it works ok. Always wanted a real Darex or other makes but never found one in my price range. Freehand I use a drill gauge to check the angle and the lip edge length. I use the flat washer trick to check the relief angle. Sometimes not pretty but usually cut.
 

Alawishes

Member
I have a Drill Dr. I like it for small bits as my arms have gotten too short to read the news paper. On anything 1/4” and up I usually hand sharpen and then just touch up the edges with the Drill Doctor. I’ve found it works ok. Always wanted a real Darex or other makes but never found one in my price range. Freehand I use a drill gauge to check the angle and the lip edge length. I use the flat washer trick to check the relief angle. Sometimes not pretty but usually cut.
Art, I don't know the flat washer trick for checking the relief angle. Nothing on a quick internet search either. Can you enlighten me? Thx, al.
 

Art M

Active Member
No problem. So I can’t take credit for this I seen it somewhere. Example 1/2” bit take a flat washer say maybe 3/8” so it will sit on the end of the drill and hold it up. When you look at it it gives you a more clear indication of the relief angle on the cutting edge. Especially when your trying to straighten out bits somebodies sharpened like a pencil
 

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
No problem. So I can’t take credit for this I seen it somewhere. Example 1/2” bit take a flat washer say maybe 3/8” so it will sit on the end of the drill and hold it up. When you look at it it gives you a more clear indication of the relief angle on the cutting edge. Especially when your trying to straighten out bits somebodies sharpened like a pencil

So it's a contrast sort of thing? If so, that's not gunna help me much. You mentioned your reading challenges. Try it with only one good eye thanks to a stroke.

I never could sharpen drills with any proficiency. But I have an old Drill Doctor 200. I dragged it out yesterday, found the instructions on the worldwidewondernet, and on the strength of the discussion here, I sharpened and repaired a few drill bits. Worked a lot better than I remembered. Seems to like a very light hand. I'm thinking I probably pushed too hard in the past.
 

6.5 Fan

Ultra Member
Premium Member
I was taught to use a drill gauge, way back in the dark ages we had to make a gauge in tech class and sharpen a drill before using a drill press. Same thing for lathe bits, learn to grind proper angles before using the lathe.
 

Susquatch

Ultra Member
Administrator
Moderator
Premium Member
I was taught to use a drill gauge, way back in the dark ages we had to make a gauge in tech class and sharpen a drill before using a drill press. Same thing for lathe bits, learn to grind proper angles before using the lathe.

This is a missing element in my background. I "think", I came through the system at a transitional point in time. There were trades and apprenticeships, but there was no highschool shop class. That came along just a few short years after me. I say "think" because I'm really not sure of that. Maybe they did exist elsewhere.

In any event, I never had that option so it didn't happen. Everything I know was learned by watching others or by the experience of learning from my mistakes. I had no formal training at all. I can say with some confidence that I would have learned more, better, faster if I'd been given that opportunity. Ya, I missed out on a few bad practices and a slough of wives tales, but they pale compared to the good stuff I never got.

I think you are lucky to have had that.
 
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