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Brad point bit care and maintenance

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Example of a brad point bit As with all other drill bits, brad point bits can last a long time if they are treated properly.
A DIYer who is advocating the correct use of brad point bits This comes down more to correct use and keeping the bit sharp than running any specific, regular maintenance tasks.

Using the right bit

Image illustrating the build up of heat due to friction from a clogged up brad point bit Using a softwood bit on hardwood can result in a build-up of heat due to increased friction. This can cause your bit to overheat and lose temper. It’s possible to re-temper a brad point bit, although you will only be able to achieve any success with the process at home if your bit is uncoated and does not have a carbide or PCD tip.

For more information, see: How to re-temper a steel drill bit.

Image to illustrate two separate storage containers for hardwood and softwood bits If you have bought softwood bits, keep them separately from your hardwood bits and make sure they are labelled.
Wonkee Donkee extols the virtues of keeping all of your tools organised, not just your brad point bits!

Staying sharp

Sharpening a brad point bit on a custom grinding wheel Keeping your tool sharp is another way to avoid overheating. If you find that your bit is not drilling as quickly and effectively as it used to, sharpening it will prevent it from wearing out completely.

For more information, see: {{widget type=”cms/widget_page_link” title=”How to sharpen a brad point bit” template=”cms/widget/link/link_inline.phtml” page_id=”3631″}}

Excessive pressure

Avoid applying too much pressure to your drill bit while drilling, as this may cause it to clog or char the workpiece Don’t be tempted to try to force your drill bit into boring a hole faster by applying a lot of downward pressure. This can potentially damage your drill driver, not to mention the bit itself, as the excessive force can cause it to become stuck in the workpiece or break.

Materials other than wood

Using a brad point bit to bore through plastic could cause it to become blunt more quickly than using it on wood While brad point bits can be used in materials other than wood, this can make them wear down more quickly. If you have been using your brad point bit to drill through plastic or other materials, you will need to sharpen it sooner than if you had only been using it for wood.
Close up of a carbide tipped brad point bit, which can be used to bore through plastic or fibreglass without dulling quickly Carbide and diamond-tipped drill bits are the exception to this rule, and can cut through harder materials without blunting as quickly.

Storage

Brad point bits stored in a rack so that they will not come into contact with one another and potential damage can be avoided Brad point bits should be stored so that they aren’t touching any other drill bits. One way of doing this is by storing them in a block of wood that has a hole drilled for each size of bit.
Storing a large number of drill bits in one box can damage bits. In the case of brad point bits, it can chip the sharp edges. If they are stored in the same box as other bits, the sharp edges on the bit could chip, meaning they will have to be resharpened before they can be used again. As this can be a difficult process, or even impossible, it’s well worth taking the right precautions to prevent it from happening!