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What is a Drill Bit Sharpener?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

A drill bit sharpener is a device that sharpens and hones dull and broken twist drill bits. Consisting of an electric motor and a sharpening stone, the typical drill bit sharpener is able to grind and shape the bit in order to return it to service in a very short time. The sharpener is fitted with a guide that conforms to a vast array of drill bit sizes. Sharpening a drill bit is as simple as placing the dull or broken bit into the correctly-sized guide, pushing the bit down until it contacts the grinding stone, switching the drill bit sharpener on and turning the drill bit to ensure that both sides are sharpened.

Drill bits are made of high-carbon steel to maintain a sharp cutting edge and they are relatively expensive. The very purpose of a drill bit is to cut through wood, steel or a large assortment of other materials. This cutting and drilling wears the sharp cutting edge of the drill bit, rendering it useless over time. Without a drill bit sharpener, the drill bit would require replacement, costing the operator unneeded expenditures of money and time. If the operator has a drill bit sharpener, however, the dull drill bit can be resharpened and the task at hand can be resumed in a matter of minutes with no unforeseen cost for a replacement drill bit.

A drill with a Forstner bit.
A drill with a Forstner bit.

Prior to the advent of the drill bit sharpener, broken and dulled drill bits were sharpened on a grinding wheel. This sharpening method was crude at best and relied on the eye of the operator to place the correct angle on the drill bit. Often, the two sides of the drill bit were sharpened at different angles, making drilling straight through a work piece a very difficult and often impossible task. The drill bit was also frequently over-heated, creating a drill bit that would lose its sharp edge almost instantly once started through a work piece.

A drill bit sharpener can sharpen dull or broken drill bits.
A drill bit sharpener can sharpen dull or broken drill bits.

By holding the drill bit in a locked position, the drill bit sharpener ensures that both faces of a drill bit are sharpened at precisely the correct angle. Depending on the particular drill bit sharpener being used, a drill bit can be resharpened many times before having to be discarded. The only limiting factor on the number of times that an individual drill bit can be sharpened is its length. If a drill bit becomes too short to fasten into the drill bit guide of the drill bit sharpener, it can no longer be properly sharpened and must be replaced.

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    • A drill with a Forstner bit.
      By: Amy Walters
      A drill with a Forstner bit.
    • A drill bit sharpener can sharpen dull or broken drill bits.
      By: gavran333
      A drill bit sharpener can sharpen dull or broken drill bits.