Drill sharpening, the old timer's way

Bi11Hudson

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My father taught me how to hand sharpen HSS drills when I was a kid. Pop's been gone for many years now. I did pretty good for many years until my eyesight started downhill. I use a number of small drills, smaller than 1/16 inch sizes that won't fit a Drill Doctor or the commercial drill sharpener. So, those I use hand sharpening with a Dremel tool under a "bench glass". For the larger sizes I now use a Drill Doctor or the commercial machine that will handle the really big drills, Silver & Deming and such up to inch and a half or so.

The Drill Dr works well enough for me, but I have seen a number of comments here, derogatory and worse, to the point that some absolutely refuse to even consider them. All in all, I am still a firm believer in hand sharpening, I've just gotten lazy in my old age.

With this in mind, I have found a useful jig, made by a carpenter on a woodworking site, for grinding drills. He is a woodworker, but his explanation of drills and how to sharpen them is spot on. And his jig is a piece of cake, made out of a scrap piece of plywood. If anyone is considering drill sharpening fixture, I highly recommend watching the video first. If you don't use the jig, opting for something metal, it will still pay off just to see the finer points of what he is covering.


There are two parts, both should be watched. The first is sharpening the drill, the second is building the jig. I cannot give a suitable complement, I just think this guy really has his stuff together. Watch them... ...

Bill Hudson​
 

redgrouse

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Bill I too am pretty adept at free hand drill grinding, again taught by my Dad as a youngster but age takes its toll and whilst still ok with larger drills smaller ones become more difficult -- even with a loop ! This is one of the simplest and effective ideas I have seen !
 

Ken from ontario

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Simple jig, easy to make and seems to be a very capable performer, I have thought about buying a drill Doctor for a while , still might but for sure will give this jig a try first.
 

Bob Korves

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My father taught me how to hand sharpen HSS drills when I was a kid. Pop's been gone for many years now. I did pretty good for many years until my eyesight started downhill. I use a number of small drills, smaller than 1/16 inch sizes that won't fit a Drill Doctor or the commercial drill sharpener. So, those I use hand sharpening with a Dremel tool under a "bench glass". For the larger sizes I now use a Drill Doctor or the commercial machine that will handle the really big drills, Silver & Deming and such up to inch and a half or so.

The Drill Dr works well enough for me, but I have seen a number of comments here, derogatory and worse, to the point that some absolutely refuse to even consider them. All in all, I am still a firm believer in hand sharpening, I've just gotten lazy in my old age.

With this in mind, I have found a useful jig, made by a carpenter on a woodworking site, for grinding drills. He is a woodworker, but his explanation of drills and how to sharpen them is spot on. And his jig is a piece of cake, made out of a scrap piece of plywood. If anyone is considering drill sharpening fixture, I highly recommend watching the video first. If you don't use the jig, opting for something metal, it will still pay off just to see the finer points of what he is covering.


There are two parts, both should be watched. The first is sharpening the drill, the second is building the jig. I cannot give a suitable complement, I just think this guy really has his stuff together. Watch them... ...

Bill Hudson​
He gets them to cut, which is part of the equation, but extremely crude work. At the very least he should be comparing the angles and the lengths of the facets with a really inexpensive drill point gage, which can be had for well less than $10 new. The way he was showing it will not get you a hole close to the size desired, or one that cuts with both flutes. In truth, I still occasionally will grind a drill quick and dirty in the field by eye and with no jig at all when there are no other options. In our shops, we really need to do better work than shown in the video.

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Last edited:

pacifica

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Screen Shot 07-06-19 at 12.53 PM.PNG I use this model by sears(usa) , got on ebay for $15 . I put it on the belt grinder and use 120 grit belt. It cuts precise angles, a nice wedge and can cut a relief angle. I was surprised it stayed ridgid with no chatter. It works fine as small as 1/8", smaller than that drills are inexpensive to buy.
 

Bob Korves

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I made this jig on my mill last week, works great! I added a screw to bolt it down to my rest because the vibrations make it hard to hold steady.

I also check the flute lengths with the tool mentioned above and thin the web on larger bits
Pics?
 

Bi11Hudson

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He gets them to cut, which is part of the equation, but extremely crude work. At the very least he should be comparing the angles and the lengths of the facets with a really inexpensive drill point gage, which can be had for well less than $10 new. The way he was showing it will not get you a hole close to the size desired, or one that cuts with both flutes.
It takes more than a drill guage to properly sharpen a drill. It also takes a very good eye and good knowledge of how a drill works. The intent of this post is to show that it can be done with no more than a scrap of wood. I use drills in fractional sizes, letter sizes, and number sizes down to Nr 80. I personally would never use such a jig today, I have a Drill Doctor for up to a half inch and a serious sharpener for larger sizes. And a fixture for holding the Dremel for doing small sizes. Such small sizes as Nr 48 and smaller are cheap enough. But unavailable at 2:AM on Sunday. When I need a drill, I need it now, not next week. BTW, Nr 48 is tap size for 2-56 threads, a fairly large fastener for my models...

I have sets of drills for machine work. And others for utility work. At the bottom line, a two flute twist drill doesn't drill a round hole anyway. It's actually a triangular hole. If things are so touchy that a truely round hole is needed, a reamer should always be used to finish.

If I am attaching a fastener on the dump truck ('68 C-30), the drill doesn't need to cut that accurately, it just needs to cut fast. That's where the utility drills come into play. For tight work that's important, I usually drill a few thou undersized and use a reamer to finish.

Laying out a fixture on plywood costs nearly nothing and gets the job back up and running in short order. The Craftsman fixture, while cheap enough, takes a week to find and get here. The plywood fixture takes an hour and then the job can continue. If you already have the stuff to sharpen a drill, you don't need such a contraption. But if you're working with almost nothing, it's a Godsend to have a way to dress a drill when you need it. Been there, done that, got a coffee cup.

Bill Hudson​
 

T Bredehoft

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I'm with Bill, (above). I've got a project where I must put a .1250 hole in the middle of a .312 drill rod. I chuck the drill rod in a collet, center drill with a spot drill, drill to depth with a No. 31 (.1200) drill and bore it to depth (.305) with a 1/8 (under size) carbide boring bar. The holes scome out a snug slip fit on a 1/8 dowel. The assembly will be lock-tited together eventually. The No. 31 drill gets replaced when it's dull.
 

martik777

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What carbide boring bar are you using to bore 1/8"? I have trouble with thin bars just flexing and not cutting
 
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