How to Sharpen a Drill Bit?


Sharpening the drill blade is essential to maintain the performance and longevity of your drilling equipment. A sharp blade can improve cutting performance, making it easier to cut through materials with greater precision, efficiency, and safety. A dull blade can cause the drill to slip, increasing the risk of accidents and reducing the tool’s efficiency. There are different drill bits available for different purposes such as drill bits for hardened steel and more.

Sharpening the blade also extends the tool’s life, saving money in the long run. Therefore, it’s important to prioritize regular blade sharpening to ensure optimal performance and safety while using drilling equipment. Learn more about changing drill bits in simple steps.

Tools Required while Sharpening the Drill Bit

Sharpening drill bits requires a few essential tools, including:

  1. Bench Grinder: A bench grinder is an essential tool for sharpening drill bits. It has a grinding wheel that spins rapidly, allowing you to sharpen the bit quickly and accurately.
  2. Grinding Wheels: The grinding wheel is the most crucial component of the bench grinder. They come in different sizes and abrasive materials, and it’s important to use the right wheel for the job. For sharpening drill bits, a fine-grit aluminum oxide wheel is typically used.
  3. Drill Bit Sharpening Jig: A drill bit sharpening jig holds the drill bit at the correct angle while you sharpen it, ensuring that the cutting edges are sharpened evenly and accurately.
  4. Drill Bit Gauge: A drill bit gauge helps to ensure that the drill bit is sharpened to the correct angle and length. It can also be used to check the bit’s diameter to ensure that it’s not worn down.
  5. Safety Equipment: When using a bench grinder, it’s important to wear safety equipment such as safety glasses or a face shield, gloves, and a dust mask to protect yourself from debris and sparks.

How to Sharpen Drill Bits

Follow the below steps where we’ve explained all the necessary points in detail:

Step 1: Examine your dull bits.

The first step in sharpening drill bits is to examine them carefully to determine the extent of the dullness and any damage to the bit’s cutting edges. You should inspect the drill bit for any chips, cracks, or other damage that may require the bit to be replaced instead of sharpened.

Dull drill bits

You can also check the angle of the cutting edge with a drill bit gauge to ensure that it matches the original angle. If the cutting edge has been damaged or worn down, you may need to grind the bit down to a smaller size to remove the damage.

Step 2: Don your goggles and turn on the bench grinder.

Before you begin sharpening your drill bit, it’s essential to wear appropriate safety gear, including safety goggles or a face shield, gloves, and a dust mask. Once you have your safety gear on, you can turn on the bench grinder.

Make sure the grinding wheel is clean and free of debris before you start. You can do this by running the grinder for a few seconds without any drill bits in the jig. Then, adjust the rest on the grinder so that the angle of the bit matches the original angle. This will ensure that you sharpen the bit evenly.

Once you have the angle set, you can insert the drill bit into the jig and lock it in place. Hold the jig firmly and slowly move the bit back and forth across the grinding wheel, being careful not to apply too much pressure or overheat the bit.

Step 3: Hold the bit against the wheel

bench grinder

It’s important to hold the bit steady and maintain the proper angle as you move it back and forth along the grinding wheel. This will ensure that the cutting edge is sharpened evenly and that you don’t grind away too much material.

As you sharpen the bit, periodically check the angle and adjust it if necessary to ensure that it matches the original angle. You can also use a marker to color the cutting edge before sharpening to make it easier to see which areas still need to be sharpened.

Remember to take breaks and dip the bit into cool water periodically to prevent overheating and maintain the bit’s temper. With practice, you’ll be able to sharpen your drill bits quickly and effectively, improving their performance and lifespan.

Step 4: Take Breaks Periodically

It’s important to pause after grinding for a few seconds and dip the drill bit into the ice water to cool the metal and prevent overheating. Overheating can cause the metal to lose its temper and become brittle, reducing the lifespan of the bit and making it prone to breakage.

To dip the bit, simply remove it from the grinding wheel and submerge it in a container of cool water or hold it under a steady stream of cool water. Keep the bit in the water for a few seconds until it has cooled down, then dry it off before returning it to the grinding wheel.

It’s important to take breaks and cool the bit regularly to prevent overheating and maintain the bit’s sharpness and strength. With practice, you’ll be able to sharpen your drill bits quickly and effectively, improving their performance and durability.

Step 5: Grind one side, flip, and repeat for the other side.

Once you have finished grinding the first side of the drill bit, you can turn the bit 180 degrees and repeat the same grind-and-cool process for the opposite side of the tip.

It’s important to ensure that you maintain the same angle as you sharpen the opposite side to ensure that the cutting edges are symmetrical and the bit cuts evenly. Use a marker to color the cutting edge before sharpening to make it easier to see which areas still need to be sharpened.

Step 6: Give the bit a test run

After sharpening both sides of the bit and achieving a finely honed point with sharp and evenly sized cutting edges, it’s important to give the bit a test run before using it for any serious drilling.

To test the bit, use it to drill into a scrap piece of wood or metal at a slow speed. This will help you to determine whether the bit is cutting smoothly and effectively without any wobbling or drifting.

If the bit is cutting smoothly and cleanly, congratulations, you have successfully sharpened your drill bit. If not, you may need to recheck the angles or repeat the sharpening process to achieve optimal results.

Remember, a properly sharpened drill bit is essential for effective and efficient drilling, so take your time and practice regularly to become proficient in this skill.

Pro Tips for Keeping Drill Bits Sharp

Here are some pro tips for keeping your drill bits sharp:

  1. Use the right bit for the job: Different materials require different types of bits. Using the correct bit for the material being drilled will help to reduce wear and tear on the bit and keep it sharper for longer.
  2. Keep bits clean and lubricated: Dirt, grime, and debris can accumulate on drill bits, causing them to wear down faster. Keeping bits clean and lubricated will help to prevent this from happening.
  3. Store bits properly: When not in use, store your drill bits in a dry and cool place to prevent rusting and other forms of corrosion. Using a dedicated bit holder or organizer can also help to protect them from damage.
  4. Avoid overheating: Overheating can cause bits to lose their temper and become dull. Use a low-speed setting when drilling and take breaks periodically to allow the bit to cool down.
  5. Sharpen bits regularly: Regularly sharpening your bits will help to keep them sharp and reduce the need for replacement. Use a dedicated bit sharpener or take them to a professional sharpening service for best results.

By following these tips, you can keep your drill bits sharp and extend their lifespan, helping you to save time and money in the long run.


Sharpening drill bits is an essential skill for any DIY enthusiast or professional tradesperson. A properly sharpened drill bit will not only improve the efficiency of your drilling, but it will also prolong the lifespan of the bit, saving you time and money in the long run.

Remember to use the right tools and techniques when sharpening your drill bits, including wearing safety goggles, using a bench grinder, and taking breaks to cool the metal. With practice and attention to detail, you can achieve optimal results and enjoy the benefits of a sharp and efficient drill bit.

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