Can someone give me a quick primer on drill bits? All I think I know is that
high speed steel is the worst. Carbide tips are good. Where do cobalt and black
oxide fit into the mix? My interest in is "standard" drill bits for thin metals
and wood rather than masonry.
My Craftsmen sets are showing their age and wear. Where is a good place to buy
drill bits? Should I look at an industrial supplier rather than a retailer?
IME yes. I have some regular old HSS bits from McMaster-Carr and
haven't had any issues with them in light use. The nice thing about HSS
is that they can be resharpened.
If your Craftsman bits are just old and dull, you might try sharpening
them rather than buying new ones.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
eBay is your friend. Cheap drill bits are easy to find, but quality ones are
out there also. Or visit your local hardware store. Even HomeDepot carries
good drill bits. And definitely get a good drill bit sharpener. I have one
and I love it! Even cheap drill bits can be easily sharpened and given a new
lease on life.
Ebay is simply a tool which gives results dependent on the expertise of the
user and how well they read the manual. It's not a "friend". In fact,
without excercising care and RTFM it's one of the easiest places there is to
Life is like that in general, is it not? No matter where you go and what you
do, your results depend on your expertise, and if you are not cautious you
can easily end up screwed.
Speak for yourself if you wish, but eBay is my friend, and with a little
care and experience, it can be the friend of the OP. It it is a good place
to find drill bits.
If it's only a handful, order onesies-twosies next time you have to
order from McMaster-Carr, or if you have a GOOD hardware store (mine
closed, weep weep) they probably sell them in bins. You're going to
break the 3/64" one the second or third time you use it anyway, unless
you use them exclusively in a drill press.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
I just use paddle bits to drill a raggedy hole. That's about all I can get
from them. I have never tried to sharpen one, but I guess it could be done
with a small wheel on a Foredom, Dremel, or even a Makita die grinder. If I
need a decent hole, I use a Forstner, and I have gotten a lot of those at
garage sales. If I had to buy them new, I wouldn't. Some of these are so
old, I have to cut off the faceted end to get them to chuck up.
I was drilling 3/4 and 1 inch holes through 150 year old petrified 4X4's in
my dads house for plumbing and heat(copper pipe)....After a while they just
start burning their way through...Boy did that old wood stink when they
started smoking...Went through a few...LOL...
I use a mill bastard "flat file" to sharpen paddle bits or any other
bit I'm using out on a job. Of course a drill sharpener or bench grinder
used with appropriate skill is much better for sharpening twist drills.
Buy a good drill bit sharpener. I have the Drill Doctor 750, and love it.
Drill bits are from five cents to a dollar at yard sales. You already
probably have lots of bits where a thirty second tuning would make them like
I don't think sharpening drill bits is rocket science or that you need
extra tools. Here's a first Google hit I got and I'm sure there are better:
An occasional DYI'er like myself gets by resharpening with tools at hand.
My dad was a lifelong machinist. He was a flight engineer on bombers in
WWII in the South Pacific. He could take one of those little one by two
inch whetstones and sharpen a bit in a couple of minutes. He looked like a
surgeon looking at the angles, and holding his hands just so.
I never could get it. Even if I lived to be a hundred. Then with a badly
broken thumb, bad wrist, and years of use and injuries, my hands don't work
For us, there are the cheating devices. I do good on knives, mower blades,
chisels, and other stuff.
Pretty close. I bought one about five years ago, and the new ones are more
idiot proof. It sat in a closet for a long long time. When I did use it,
there was a very short learning curve, and even the online directions went
to the new one, and I had to search a bit for the instructions of the old
one. It was so old, it had a VHS instruction tape.
They ain't rocket surgery, but there are a couple of little things you will
catch on to. It sure is nice if you're in the middle of a project and smoke
a bit to just go sharpen it, and not have to go buy one at a far away store
or use the wrong bit and then wallow the hole. Especially when a decent
sized quality bit is $10 now.
As I said, you can get lots and lots at yard sales for pennies, literally.
I have THREE full indexes now, and that's mostly from just sharpening dull
ones I had thrown into cigar boxes. I'd just buy more, but at garage sales.
Occasionally, if I needed a letter bit for drilling a hole to tap, I'd go
splurge on a new one.
From what I understand, the issues with the first ones were improved on the
later models, but with the old ones, it would take a real doofus not to be
able to work them. The biggest problem I have is sharpening small bits, but
I am discovering that it is all in the touch. And listening to it when it
cuts will tell you a lot, too.
Watch the video and keep the instructions. I understand there's a lot of
valuable information in there. ;-)
No, high speed steel is just fine in appropriate materials like mild steel,
or softer materials.
Carbide is nice if you are working on hard material or if you are in a
production environment where you have a need for higher speed and longer
Carbide tip drills are usually used for masonry or in some cases to drill
holes in hard materials.
Cobalt is used for steels that are a little bit harder than HSS can handle
(retainer pins) but not glass hard things like files.
Black oxide or the gold colored titanium nitride bits give you some
advantages in corrosion protection and help resist galling, bit in and of
itself means a whole lot less than the quality and the geometry of the steel
Check out McMaster Carr or another machine shop supply for the better
quality drill bits, and you might want to order a few extra of the more
commonly used sizes.
About the time I had mastered getting the toothpaste back in the tube, then
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.