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What Is a Brad Drill Bit?

Don Kress
Don Kress

A brad drill bit, otherwise called a brad-point drill bit, is a tool that is used in woodworking for boring holes that have to have precision circumferences. This is most often seen in setting dowel pins but can be used for many applications. Brad drill bits are used with plastics and woods — materials that are usually prone to cracking or breaking when a standard drill bit is used.

The difference between a brad drill bit and a standard drill bit can be seen by looking at the cutting tip of the bit. A standard drill bit has a V-shaped tip that terminates in a point at the very bottom. By comparison, a brad drill bit resembles an "M."

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

The center point is used to align the drill bit onto the measured point where the hole is to be drilled, and the two edges of the drill bit cut into the wood or plastic in the same manner that a hole saw does. These tips cut the wood or plastic while they spin, so the materials are less likely to splinter or otherwise become damaged. In addition, brad drills will produce smoother side walls than ordinary drill bits.

Using a brad drill bit is similar to using a standard drill bit. A user should mark the point where the hole is to be drilled, then line up the center point of the drill over this point. The center point of the brad drill bit should be exactly in the center of the mark. The power to the drill is then turned on, and the weight of the drill is allowed to bore the hole into the wood. Attempting to press down too hard could damage the wood and defeat the purpose of using the brad drill in the first place.

Brad drill bits are available in as many sizes as it is possible to find standard drill bits in, but consumers should anticipate paying slightly more for brad drill bits because they are more complicated to manufacture. In addition, brad drill bits cannot be sharpened in the same way that standard drill bits can be. This is why they are predominantly used for woods and plastics. Hard woods will tend to heat up the drill bit, which causes it to lose its sharp edge, so the brad drill bit should not be allowed to heat up too much while it is being used. This will prolong the tool's life and ensure accurate cuts in all of the user's woodworking projects.

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      Man with a drill