Reply by Rob

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Posted on How do you identify good steel from bad in tools like drill bits

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704 posts in 3037 days

#1 posted 12-14-2012 07:06 AM

You could try scratching materials of varying known hardnesses to find out the hardness of each drill bit. Where it lies on the hardness spectrum determines how well it holds its edge, how brittle it is, and more, which is why different types of drill bit materials are better suited for drilling different types of materials.

Another fairly simple approach that doesn’t take much time would be to get a Drill Doctor and just sharpen them. I was a bit hesitant to get one myself, but decided if each grinding wheel for the Drill Doctor costs $20 and supposedly sharpens about 200 bits before needing to be replaced, it’ll pay for itself over time—plus, it’s more convenient than having to run to the hardware store to buy a new bit (or a new set of bits) whenever I wear one out. They do now have a newer model that also sharpens spade bits, but it costs about $100, compared to $50 for the entry-level twist bit sharpener.

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