Reply by crank49

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

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4032 posts in 2997 days

#1 posted 12-15-2012 03:39 AM

For what it’s worth, some folks on LJ make their own brad point bits from regular HSS bits.
It’s a great idea because a brad point bit ground from high speed steel will last about forever.

I think the Drill Doctor is a great idea. I wish I had one.
One other justification for one of these is that you usually only use a few bits from a set. If you go and buy replacements for the few that are dull you pay way more per bit than you would for a set.

I can sometimes get a bit sharp on the grinder, but it’s trial and error.

As far as knowing the quality of the steel, some of the better bits will be stamped with HSS to let you know they are high speed steel, the basic standard choice. If a bit has been used very long after it became dull and overheated (visable by discoloration) it will not be much good for anything. Most likely will not hold an edge if sharpened.

I like to buy Cobolt Steel bits in sets from places like HF or TSC. They hold up extremely well and are the very best for drilling stainless steel.

One way to test the hardness of the steel in a drill bit is to try to file the end of it with a cheap file. Good steel is harder than a cheap file and will round off the teeth on the file.

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