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Thread: sharpening brad points

  1. #1
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    sharpening brad points

    From the other discussion on Drill Doctors, I was reminded that I don't have a good solution for sharpening brad point bits.
    For larger bp I use my 1" belt sander/grinder. It works fairly well if I get the right angle on the inside edge. Not real good but sorta OK.
    Smaller bits are the challenge. I can touch up some with a diamond Ez Lap sharpener, the kind that is about the size of a tongue depressor. But that is not effective for a dull bit.
    How can one sharpen a brad point bit properly?
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  2. #2
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    Brad point bits come in different profiles. I do basic utility profiled bits with a teardrop jeweler's file or, for the larger ones (3/8" and over) I use one of these. The auger file is also perfect for Forstners along with a small cone grinding stone (I use one made for a Dremel in the drill press at about 600rpm) and those inexpensive diamond paddles. The more involved brad point profiles, like lipped bits, are pretty much throw away's per Lee Valley. [UPDATE: bad phrasing in previous statement . By "throw-aways, I mean they are better replaced than sharpened. Great bits and I do recommend them.] This is why I am very careful when using them and have more than one of sizes under 1/8". I don't like buying multiples but, I like getting stopped in the middle of something even less ;-)
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 10-14-2012 at 02:19 PM. Reason: Added note regarding bad phrasing
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  3. #3
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    Frank, when I spent a week with Elia Bizzarri, he showed me how he does it. Before I go on, I have to say that I wouldn't try this myself. He took a diamond wheel truer and made a groove in the face of his wheel. [It used to be 8" and was down to around 6] This was right at the arris of the wheel. He then put the spur of the bradpoint in that groove, and a few seconds later, he had himself a sharp and refreshed brad point bit. Some folks have so much skill, they make it look way too easy.

    I hate to disagree with Glenn, but maybe I'm misunderstanding your post. I have the LV brad points, and other than hitting a hard screw or nail [DAMHIKT] they seem to last and last. I've had mine for years, and they still seem plenty sharp. I don't use them for crappy holes though, just the good stuff.
    If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

  4. #4
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    I think Ken is disagreeing with my statement that Lee Valley lipped bits are throw-aways. Now that I re-read that, it does sound like I am advising against those bits. This could not be more wrong ;-) I love my LV lipped bits. I was trying to say that Lee Valley responded to my inquiry about having them sharpened by saying I should just replace them. I just phrased it poorly. I have a full set between 5/64" and 1/2" in 64ths and would recommend them heartily. The original small set I have is still in use within that range and has served me well. They are still serving right along side the new ones. Great bits.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
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    Ken, mine are a mix of inexpensive 'set' bits and more expensive no-names from the woodworking supply catalogs. I'm not sure how I dulled them but I do have some that do need sharpening, especially smaller sizes.
    The idea describes sounds interesting but not something I'll be trying soon. Thanks.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

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