Tools to Sharpen Drill Bits

Written by david clark
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Tools to Sharpen Drill Bits
Drill-bit sharpeners extend the life of many common and speciality drill bits. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Dull drill bits are ineffective, inaccurate and time consuming. Sharp bits require less force and create safer, cleaner cuts. Drill bits should be sharpened as needed, especially if they're chipped. There are a number of commercially available drill sharpeners, designed to sharpen different kinds of bits for hobbyist and professional use. The type of sharpener you buy should match the type of bit you have.

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General Purpose

General-purpose drill bit sharpeners are readily available at your local building-supply store and will sharpen a variety of common bit types, including high-speed steel, carbide, cobalt, tin-coated and carbide-tipped masonry. Some models, like those made by Drill Doctor, allow sharpening of spade bits as well. General-purpose bit sharpeners are designed for home and contractor use.

Attachment Sharpeners

Attachment sharpeners offer some advantages over all-in-one, general-purpose bit sharpeners. Attachment sharpeners, like those made by Tormek, accommodate all twist-bit sizes at a variety of nonstandard angles and make consistent cuts. Attachment sharpeners require a bench grinder to do the actual sharpening and are designed for frequent use.

Hand Held

Some speciality bits, like hole-saw bits, are too large for sharpening machines and require hand-held rasp or diamond-plated files to hone dulled edges. When hand sharpening bits, it's important to maintain the factory angle to prevent widening the bit's hole size, say the experts at Woodcraft. Stabilize the bit in a bench vice before running the sharpener along each tooth. Hand-held sharpeners are typically stocked in your local hardware store.


A heavy-duty sharpener is required for the highest-precision sharpening of common and speciality bits. Fully automated computer numerical control (CNC) drill-bit sharpeners, like those made by DAREx, are high-end industrial sharpeners designed for continuous, professional use and can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

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