Can Drill Bits Be Sharpened – Easy & Quick Tips

Ever been in a situation where you’re wresting with sub-standard drill bits that just aren’t cutting it? Boy, do I understand — it’s an exasperating ordeal. Yet after much delving and experimenting, I’ve uncovered some speedy tricks for honing those drill bits that helps maintain them at peak performance.

So, Can drill bits be sharpened? The answer is yes! Some drill bits can be sharpened more easily than others. Twist drill bits, for example, are the easiest type of drill to sharpen

This blog is your roadmap to revitalizing your toolkit by instructing you on how to proficiently sharpen your drill bits using diverse techniques. Stay tuned – this might be the golden nugget making your DIY endeavors glide smoothly towards success!

Can Drill Bits be Sharpened – Key Takeaways

  • Drill bits can become dull due to friction and heat generated during drilling, causing the cutting edges to wear down.
  • There are several methods for sharpening drill bits, including using a bench grinder, a drill bit sharpener, or sharpening by hand with a file.
  • Sharpening your drill bits can save money and improve their performance for more precise drilling.

Disclosure: At zero cost to you, I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. I earn from qualifying purchases as an Amazon associate. Products featured are selected based on quality, performance, and reputation, regardless of affiliate relationships.

How Drill Bits Become Dull

Drill bits become dull due to the constant friction and heat generated during drilling, which causes the cutting edges to wear down and lose their sharpness.

Understanding chip and dulling

Drill bits get dull with time. The more you use them, the faster they wear out. This is due to chip and dulling. Chips in your drill bits happen from hard use. They can also form when you drill into tough stuff like metal or steel.

It slows down your drilling speed and makes less clean holes, so, I guess you can see the importance of a sharp drill bit. When a bit is dull, it won’t cut as well as before. Trying to keep working with a worn-out drill bit does not save time or money! So, take care of your tools for best results!

Methods for Sharpening Drill Bits

There are several methods for sharpening drill bits, including using a bench grinder, a drill bit sharpener, or sharpening by hand with a file. Curious to know more? Keep reading!

Different types of drill bits on a white back ground

Using a bench grinder

Sharpening drill bits with a bench grinder is not hard. Let’s dive into how you can do it:

  1. Safety first: Wear your safety glasses and work gloves.
  2. Turn on the grinder: Make sure it runs at full speed before starting.
  3. Hold your drill bit: Keep the cutting edge level with the grinding wheel.
  4. Press the bit against the wheel: Apply gentle pressure and move it back and forth.
  5. Cool the bit: Do this every few seconds to avoid heat buildup that can harm your bit.
  6. Grind both sides: Each side should have a sharp edge.
  7. Check your work: Your drill bit should be sharp, with no nicks or dings.

Using a drill bit sharpener

I often use a drill bit sharpener to bring life back to dull bits. It’s a handy tool that makes sharpening tasks pretty easy. You just insert the bit into the sharpener, turn it on, and let it do its job. If I need a quick fix, the Drill Doctor drill bit sharpener is my go-to. This tool adjusts the cutting edges of the bit at the right angle.

  1. Start by clean up the bit.
  2. Put the bit in the sharpener.
  3. Switch on the sharpener.
  4. . Allow it to shape and polish your bit.

Sharpening by hand with a file

I love sharpening drill bits by hand with a file. It’s a simple and cost-effective method that allows you to restore the cutting edges of your drill bits. Here’s how you can learn how to sharpen:

  1. Start by clamping the drill bit securely in a vise, making sure it’s stable and won’t move while you’re filing.
  2. Hold the file firmly in one hand and place it against the cutting edge of the drill bit.
  3. Move the file back and forth along the edge, applying even pressure. Make sure to maintain a consistent angle as you file.
  4. Continue filing until you remove any dull or damaged metal from the cutting edge, exposing fresh and sharp metal underneath.
  5. Take breaks occasionally to check your progress by running your fingers lightly along the filed surface. You should feel a smooth and sharp edge.
  6. Once you’re satisfied with one side, flip the drill bit over in the vise and repeat the filing process on the other cutting edge.
  7. After both edges are sharpened, inspect them for any burrs or rough spots. If necessary, use a fine – grit sandpaper or honing stone to smooth out any imperfections.
  8. Finally, clean off any debris or filings from the drill bit before using it again.
Ebook part 1 woodworking basics

Best Practices for Sharpening Drill Bits

To ensure the best results when sharpening drill bits, it is important to choose the right grinder or sharpener for the job.

Choosing the right grinder or sharpener

To choose the right sharpening tool for drill bit sharpening, there are a few factors to consider. One important factor is the size of your drill bits. Different grinders and sharpeners may be better suited for different sizes of drill bits.

It’s also important to consider the material your drill bits are made of, as certain grinders or sharpeners may work better with specific materials like steel or metal. Additionally, you’ll want to think about the level of precision you need in your sharpening process and whether you prefer manual methods or using a dedicated tool like a bench grinder or drill bit sharpener.

Taking these factors into account will help ensure that you choose the right grinder or sharpener to keep your drill bits in top shape.

Grinding the heel of the bit

To sharpen a drill bit, it’s important to pay attention to the heel of the bit. The heel is the back end of the cutting edge, and it needs to be ground properly for effective sharpening.

By grinding the heel at a slight angle, you can ensure that both cutting edges meet evenly with no flat spots or gaps. This will help maintain the strength and integrity of the drill bit during use.

Properly grinding the heel of the bit is an essential step in achieving a sharp and efficient drilling tool that can make clean and precise holes in your woodworking projects or DIY tasks.

Being mindful of heat buildup

When sharpening drill bits, it’s important to be mindful of heat buildup. Excessive heat can damage the temper of the bit and make it lose its hardness. To prevent this, take breaks during the sharpening process to allow the bit to cool down.

You can also dip the bit in water periodically to keep it cool. Remember, a cool bit will retain its sharpness and last longer, so take your time and avoid overheating it.

Can Drill Bits Be Sharpened?

Yes, all drill bits can be sharpened, but some are easier to sharpen than others.

Yes, but some sharpen easier than others

Some drill bits can be sharpened more easily than others. Twist drill bits, for example, are actually quite easy to sharpen by hand. However, different types of drill bits may require different methods and techniques for sharpening.

It’s important to choose the right method based on the type of bit you have. This way, you can effectively restore the cutting edges and maintain the overall performance of your drill bits.

Twist drill bits are the easiest to sharpen

Twist drill bits are the easiest to sharpen. This is good news for woodworkers, DIY enthusiasts, and hobbyists who often use these types of drill bits. When they become dull, you can quickly and easily restore their cutting edges with a bench grinder or by hand using a file.

By sharpening twist drill bits regularly, you can maintain their performance and save money by not having to buy new ones all the time. Plus, properly sharpened twist drill bits will provide cleaner and more precise holes in your projects.

Subscribe to My Newsletter

Join 5000+ followers and get useful tips and notifications about new content in my weekly newsletter! Don’t miss it, register now!

Christofix newsletter


In conclusion, drill bits can indeed be sharpened using various methods such as a bench grinder, drill bit sharpener, or by hand with a file. It is important to choose the right equipment and follow best practices to ensure proper sharpening.

By sharpening dull drill bits, you can save money and improve their performance for more precise drilling. So don’t throw away those dull bits just yet – give them a new lease on life with these quick tips!

Next to drill bits, chisels are other tools you better keep sharp in your workshop. You can read all about it in my article How To Sharpen Chisels Until They Are Razor Sharp – Quick Guide

The Ultimate workshop free e book

Building your workshop can be daunting, filled with trial and error. Believe me, I’ve been there too.
But it was “The Ultimate Small Workshop” course, a gem I discovered and now endorse on, that provided insights unparalleled to any other. This expertise empowered me to invest wisely and save substantially.

I really suggest it to all of my fellow DIYers and creators!

I hope this was helpful, and that this blog inspires you.

Feel free to share this blog on Facebook, Pinterest, or other social media.
You can do this by using the buttons below or at the top of the blog.
It will be much appreciated.

I’m looking forward to seeing you soon in another blog or video.

Christophe, founder of
Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration

Logo on bottom of blogpost