Restoring/sharpening old Auger Bits

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Forum topic by 12strings posted 09-02-2012 08:03 AM 9014 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View 12strings's profile


434 posts in 2623 days

09-02-2012 08:03 AM

I would like to buy and restore an old brace and bits for drilling large holes. There is a local flea market that always has them really cheap. But the bits are all covered in rust.

Does anyone have a good method for cleaning and sharpening them?

I assume the electrolysis is best, but what’s second best?

And for sharpening, any method for that? Do I only need to sharpen the end?

...My back-up plan (more money) would be to buy and restore and old brace, but buy new auger bits as I need them.

Any recommendations?

-- I'm strictly hand-tool only...unless the power tool is faster and easier!

9 replies so far

View Tedstor's profile


1678 posts in 2872 days

#1 posted 09-02-2012 11:55 AM

I personally think this is the best option.

View dhazelton's profile


2805 posts in 2535 days

#2 posted 09-02-2012 01:02 PM

How rusty are they? If just surface rust then running it through wood will probably scour most of it off. Harbor Freight or Lowes has sets of small diamond impregnated riffler files that you could use to sharpen the tip of the augur (not the screw tip obviously). The length of the augur just moves the chips up and out of the hole.

View DocBailey's profile


584 posts in 2599 days

#3 posted 09-02-2012 03:23 PM

First, ensure that bits are not twisted (this can happen with heavy use, in extremely hard woods, and with the amount of torque available with the big throw braces). Check by rolling on a flat surface—the twisted ones will not roll in a straight line. Also ensure that the threads are still sharp and that no one has (incorrectly) ground or sharpened the OUTSIDE curvature of the cutting spurs. This would changed the diameter of the hole they produce, making them virtually useless.
Lastly – go online and search for “sharpening auger bits” or the like. You’ll find tons of info and pictures of exactly what and where to file. Much easier than trying to explain in words alone.

View waho6o9's profile


8539 posts in 2816 days

#4 posted 09-02-2012 03:26 PM

View hutchinsonkw's profile


5 posts in 2372 days

#5 posted 09-03-2012 05:30 AM

This is a question I have been wondering myself. I got an old tool box with 60+ auger bits thrown in for “cheap” with two braces I purchased a year or so ago. They have just been sitting so I am thinking about trying this.

Thanks for the link waho6o9!

I am not sure if this is the place to post this but I will probably sell a bunch if you are interested. I have never sold anything so I am unsure on how it works.

-- -Kevin

View hhhopks's profile


654 posts in 2616 days

#6 posted 09-03-2012 12:23 PM

You remove the rust just like you remove rust for hand plans.
There are plenty of blogs here on LJ on that subject.

Brit (Andy) has blogs of brace refurbishing and did a blog on sharpening auger bits as well.

Here is his blog:

Be sure to check out his other blogs on braces too.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5149 posts in 4199 days

#7 posted 09-03-2012 03:45 PM

After cleaning, and before sharpening, I take a piece of cotton “sash cord” rope charged with valve grinding paste (fine) to polish the flutes of the bits. Kinda like shining a shoe. Wipe ‘em down, sharpen, drill.


View bondogaposis's profile


5151 posts in 2590 days

#8 posted 09-03-2012 04:17 PM

Get one of these.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Brett's profile


666 posts in 2922 days

#9 posted 09-04-2012 03:01 PM

Here’s another article on restoring bits:

It describes an interesting technique for sharpening the lead screw that uses valve grinding paste, not a file.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

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