If you have ever been involved in making furniture or are a woodworker, you would agree that accurate holes are essential to the success of your project. Producing a hole in the exact place on your project can be challenging.
You can’t just pop open your toolkit and use the first drill bit that you see. You have to choose the right drill bit for the task carefully. Brad-Point drill bits are the best drill bits for wood, especially if the goal is a clean, exact centred hole.
For the woodworker, these drill bits are made to deliver precise positioning while providing a smooth, clean finish.
We will discuss more about Brad-Point drill bits in this article. We will consider some of the factors that should affect your buying choice, as well as how to use and maintain a Brad-Point drill bit.
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Table of Contents
Types of Brad-Point Bits
There are two main types of Brad-Point drill bits. The first type is excellent for softwoods, while the other is meant for hardwoods. To drill softwoods effectively, look for Brad-Point bits that have flatter outside spurs. One the other hand, the best Brad-Point bits for hardwoods feature pointed spurs.
Advantages of Brad-Point Bits
Brad-Point bits feature center points and sharp cutting spurs. This combination allows these bits to create accurate, clean holes in your project. While they are primarily designed for drilling these types of holes, they can also be used for other materials aside from wood.
Here are some of the benefits of Brad-Point drill bits:
Clean, Accurate drilling
As mentioned earlier, Brad-point bits can drill clean, accurate holes into wood with ease.
One problem many folks have with drill bits is that there is a tendency for the wood to splinter when drilled. This isn’t the case with Brad-Point drill bits. The top of the piece being drilled will cut a clean entry and if the piece being drilled is supported underneath, these drill bits will produce a clean exit hole.
They are designed for drilling wood; however, as many will attest, they can be used on other materials such as plastic, soft metal, MDF, and other materials.
Having considered some reasons why these bits are advantageous, you might wonder if they have any disadvantages. Well, they come with drawbacks. Some of the cons of these materials include the following:
As you will see later in this post, these drill bits can be sharpened. However, it is rather challenging to sharpen it. These drill bits are ‘delicate,’ and you can easily mar the tile by grinding the wrong part.
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Brad-Point drill bits cost more than the regular drill bits. It’s a more intricate process to make the brad and the spurs than with a regular or v-point drill bit.
At the initial point of contact with the wood, Brad-Point drill bits make a clean entry and produce an accurate hole. However, during through-drilling, if the piece being drilled is not properly supported underneath, the spurs can cause splinters or make the material tear out.
Sharpening the Brad-Point drill bit
As we said earlier, one of the problems people have with this drill bit is the difficulty faced when sharpening it. The next section contains tips that will assist you in sharpening it easily.
Tips that can help you
If you plan on doing the sharpening by yourself, here are some tips to help with the process.
There are different methods you can use. First, you can use a customized grinding wheel. This is the easiest method as it allows you to do two things at once. You can sharpen the spurs, as well as the brad-point.
If you do not have a grinding wheel, you can use flat Swiss files, rotary cutting tools, and taper saw files.
Step-by-step instructions on sharpening
1. Start with the spurs
With a few strokes of your file or a few seconds on the grinding wheel, the spurs will be sharpened. Ensure that as you do this, the right angle is kept. To get the right angle throughout the process, make the sharpening tool flat against the surface of each spur.
2. Move to the Point
Next, sharpen the edge of the Brad-Point. To make sure this part is done evenly, ensure that each side of the tool receives an equal number of passes.
It is essential to remember that when sharpening, the drill bit must be centred. If not, you will discover that it won’t drill accurately. A wrongly centred drill bit will create holes that are too big and inaccurate.
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Brad-Point drill bits offer excellent drilling performance and are generally preferred by woodworkers. Just as important as the drill bit, is the accurate marking of the hole to be drilled. Use a precise measuring tool as well as a sharp marker. Don’t just put a tick mark when measuring. Mark using two lines to form a V so the tip of the V represents the exact measurement point. If you are using a measuring tape, don’t always rely on the end catch being accurate. Sometimes glue or other material attaches to the end catch. It’s better to measure between holes using the exact markings on the tape measure.