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How to sharpen a brad point bit?

How to sharpen a brad point bit

Shop for Brad Point Bits

Example of a brad point bit Sharpening brad point drill bits can be tricky. The bits themselves are made to be extremely accurate, and this can be compromised if they are sharpened unevenly.
Image illustrating the idea of a computer centred brad point The most important thing to remember is that the brad point must be kept centred. If the tip ends up slightly off centre after sharpening, the bit will drill a hole bigger than its circumference as it wobbles around erratically.
Image advising DIYers to have their brad point bits sharpened by professionals if they are worried about ruining them in the home workshop If you’re worried this might happen, you can always get your bits sharpened professionally!
An example of a bench grinder If you’re keen to sharpen your bits yourself, there are a few different ways to tackle them. The first is to use a specially customised grinding wheel, shaped to allow you to sharpen the spurs and brad point of your bit at the same time.

For instructions on how to do this, see: How to customise a grinding wheel to sharpen a brad point bit

Alternatives to bench grinders and drill sharpening tools: swiss flat files, taper saw files, diamond cards and rotary tools Alternative tools include flat Swiss files, taper saw files, diamond cards and rotary cutting tools.
Close up of a carbide tipped brad point bit, which can be used to bore through plastic or fibreglass without dulling quickly If your brad point bit is carbide tipped, only diamond files or diamond grinding wheels will have any effect due to the hardness of the material.

The sharpening process

A piece of wood with a straight edge clamped onto the tool guide of a bench grinder, creating a jig that allows the twist bit to be turned and remain on centre during the brad point grinding process

Step 1 – Sharpen spurs

Sharpen the spurs first, making sure to keep to the correct angle by keeping your sharpening tool flat against each spur’s surface. All this will take is a few strokes of your file or card, or a second or two against the grinder.

A warning to DIYers to remind them that they need to be careful not to push the spur they're not grinding into the wheel by mistake Be aware of where the brad point is at all times. Grinding it off by mistake will cause you a lot more work!
Your rotary cutter should be at a 5 to 10 degree angle]

Step 2 – Sharpen point

Grind the edges of the brad point evenly so that the point becomes sharp. You should aim to give the sides an angle of around five to ten degrees. Giving each side of the point the same number of passes with the file or the same amount of time on the grinder should help you to keep it even and correctly aligned.

Diagram showing a misaligned brad point and how to work out the size of your new hole Make sure you keep the brad point central. If you make a mistake, the bit will not spin uniformly, and it will create oversized holes. The width of the new hole will be double the distance between the brad point tip and the spur furthest away from it.
Grinding a brad point sharp using a drill press to keep the point central One way to keep your bit centred is to attach it to a drill press, and activate it before you start to sharpen the bit. The rotation of the bit will help you to sharpen it consistently all the way around and create an accurately centred point.
Wonkee Donkee reminds DIYers that it's important not to grind off the spurs on a brad point bit while sharpening

Wonkee Donkee Tools