How to Sharpen Drill Bits by Hand (The Bare-Minimum Guide!)

How to Sharpen Drill Bits by Hand

As a DIY person, you need to be kidding me if right-tool-for-a-task is not one of your most important concerns. However, once you deal with identifying and using tools to make your projects shine as bright as possible, the concern regarding maintaining those precious tools comes next.

And one such maintenance dependent tool is drill bits. If you have ever worked with dull bits, you’ll notice how hard it gets to push the drill and makes the whole process pretty inconvenient. Sometimes due to this, you see an awful ending to your important projects plus some personal injury.

And so, a pointy drill bit should be at your hands without no worries. Let’s make that happen with today’s topic on getting the bits as pointy as possible. Yes, we’ll be chatting over how to sharpen drill bits by hand.

How to Sharpen Drill Bits by Hand Using Some Common Tactics.

Some particular types, for instance, Concrete Drill Bits are pretty vulnerable at providing a perfect result unless you keep their sharpness on the check. The guide will cover some minimal instructions that are simple for even never-did-it-before folks to do easily. Keep on Reading!

Materials You’ll Need!

  • Bench grinder or belt sander (any of these would do)
  • The drill bit that’s dull or chipped.


Since this guide is about using your own hands, clearly, it’ll be exposed to seriously dangerous sharpening devices. And so, you may think of wearing proper protective gloves. However, more than often the incident of losing skin due to glove getting caught into these devices is seen. And so, it’s best to be as mindful and careful as possible while skipping gloves. You can put on a pair of safety goggles though. The whole trick here is basically staying as alert as you can…

You Need to Explore Your Drill Bit First!

Best Concrete Drill Bits

The features of a drill bit are a very basic thing that you would learn about in a few minutes, don’t worry. Just for the sake of speed, let’s talk about the three common features. These are lip, land, and chisel.

The part that does cutting jobs is called lip basically. If you are considering a twist drill, then both lips need to be symmetric. Or else get ready to experience awful unequal cutting while drilling. Providing more favor toward one lip for sharpening will make cause an imbalance. And that is one of the reasons why some drill bits create non-straight holes.

The next part called land or landing basically follows lip. During the bit makes a cut, this part generally supports a sharp edge. The part you are drilling and lip needs to have some clearance. And the angling needs to create a suitable space for that to happen.

Now if you mistakenly cause too much angle, then the support will drastically fall down. And so, chips will occur more often. Especially when working on corners.

When both sides landing of drill intersects, a line gets created. This is the chisel. There’s hardly any cutting activity related here. This part basically helps in smearing wood or metal into lips when you are working. And so, it’s quite critical to maintaining a tiny chisel.

Avoiding Chips & Dulls.

Your landing needs to have a curvy shape. Usually, this part forces behind bits and so the mess tends to happen due to exertion force while drilling. With a curve shape, there will be better support on the lip. And so, it will eventually avoid making chips.

If the chisel faces trouble for smearing material into lip, then bits start getting dull. In such a case, the bit’s face needs re-defining. It can also be a reason for rolling over the lip. Sharpening will help here to push directly while working on a piece.

Get Your Bits Ready!

On the drill bit’s you may find burrs, especially on shank area. You need to file across these burrs. Learning how to sharpen a drill bit with a hand file will be really helpful here. Be very careful since the bit can slip into your fingers. And this will make those nasty burrs cause scars into your skin.

For the process, you will need to pick either a belt sander or a bench grinder. The guards on these machines must be 1/8 inches away from wheel or belt part. This will help in avoiding bit getting caught within guard.

Don’t Forget to Practice the Hold.

You want to be in a very comfortable position before starting. Make sure your hand is against machine support. Now hold the drill bit into both hands. To the belt sander’s face, you need to hold that bit creating a 60-degree angle. The landing need needs to be against the belt directly, hold it that way.

Now you’ll learn some movements for moving this bit across the belt. And that will result in the final outcome. While doing these movements (the following paras are going to be about that) you want to use your left hand for all activities. The right hand should stay stable and stationary while left one work. Use your right-hand fingers for guiding, however.

Cut, Shape & Rotate Combinedly.

Apply the pressure on a sharpening device while raising your left hand to cut landing. Then let your left hand move towards the right to create a chiseled angle. The chisel needs to make a 45-degree angle from the lip, keep on moving until then.

You want to move the bit in a counter-clockwise manner to end up with a rounded landing. This will provide better lip support.

Now you want to work with all of these cutting, shaping, and rolling motion for making the right cut on drill face. Keep repeating for a few times and roll the drill bit to 180 degrees within your hand.

That way you’ll be able to sharpen the other lip as well. A little bit of heating on your drill bit face is pretty normal. You can simply dip the bit into cool water filled in a bowl from time to time. Just make sure to change the water when it gets hot. Or else that temperature can ruin the material’s integrity.

Again, And Again!

You would need to go for double dozen times of this movement for getting both lips symmetric. Of course, there’s a need for a lot of patience and cautiousness. Make sure you are rotating frequently and also work on both sides as equally as possible

No light pressing into a sander or grinder is acceptable. You want to keep the cuts deliberate and less feather type. Once you find the sharpening pretty satisfying, try drilling. If pieces are yet difficult, check the chisel and landing angle.

There should be ample relief. If chips are coming off from both sides, then the trial was a success. And if you believe chips are coming from one side of a bit, then there’s more work to do for making both lips symmetric.

Wrap Up.

And that was my thoughts on how to sharpen drill bits by hand? You can easily master the sharpening skill by practicing more with patience. Also, try to make the “stop and let it cool” thing a habit when you are working with hardwood. This will drastically avoid dullness and let you come across this long sharpening procedure less often.

On that note, let’s call it a day! See You in Another Fun Topic Pretty Soon Hopefully!

About Jeremy

Hello! My name is Jeremy Bloomberg. I have been passionate about carpentry and DIY. Over the years, my passion slowly turned into expertise and wider knowledge about electronics. I’ve been involved in numerous projects, both professional and personal. I want to share all I have learned with you. Welcome!

Follow me: Facebook, Twitter

Leave a Comment