Tuesday , February 20 2018
Home > Shop Tips > Video: Sharpening Twist Drills By Hand – A 2 Part Video Tutorial

Video: Sharpening Twist Drills By Hand – A 2 Part Video Tutorial

In the following two videos Barry Young walks you through the process of sharpening your twist drills by hand. There are a few other videos on the web showing this process, but none (at least none that I’ve found) show multiple angles and describe the process in as much detail as these videos do.

This is our first major video tutorial project with multiple camera views. We shot it in HD (1080p) with High Def cameras and then uploaded it to YouTube in HD (720p) which is as high a quality as YouTube will allow. But even at 720p the video is better than DVD quality.

Please leave your comments via the forum and let us know what you think. Our next videos will be on grinding your own HSS tooling (RH Tool, LH Tool, and Threading Tool), and then we plan to do a multi-cam video on single point threading.

However, your feedback is critical. We want to know your thoughts, good or bad. It would also be helpful to know if there are any other topics that you’d like to see made into videos.


Tyler and Barry

Video #1 of 2: Sharpening Twist Drills By Hand – Introduction

Video #2 of 2: Sharpening Twist Drills By Hand – Sharpening



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About Tyler

Tyler is a hobby machinist and 3D printing aficionado. He teaches computer programming and web development at Highline College near Seattle. Tyler founded Projects In Metal in 2008 because he was frustrated by the lack of free plans available for hobby machinists.

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  1. What a great video, with clear, concise information.

    The video and sound quality was really great, and all the points that were highlighted were clearly explained.

    This has prompted me to want to have a go at sharpening my own bits.

    Thanks guys, well done.

  2. Covers the basics really well, good images and clear audio, which is a battle around machines I know. Great work.

  3. SantaCruzClocks

    Nice job, you guys.

    Very well done- good camera work, Tyler, and a very clear demonstration by Barry.

    Looking forward to more!

  4. Outstanding video; thanks to both Tyler and Barry.  Barry needs to double-check that his shirt is buttoned up, though ;)  It's really nice to see videos in HD, but I wouldn't worry about it being “only” 720p.  No one is broadcasting in 1080p that I know of due to bandwidth constraints, and on a typical monitor, 720p is super-crisp.



  5. Very Nice work gentlemen…I look forward to the HSS tooling editions.


  6. Very good video Tyler and Barry. I think maybe my drawer of dull bits may have some hope.Laugh I ditto all the previous comments but you did ask for some critique. The portion where Barry was grinding out the gouge I think could have been shortened once the technique of what he was doing was shown a couple times. You can back the video up to see it again if you need to. This would allow more other information to be shown. Also attention to camera view. A couple of times what Barry was explaining wasn't in the audience view. This comes with experience of which I have none in this field either.Laugh Other than those 2 things it was superb in presentation, explanation, and demonstration. I learned a lot and am looking forward to more. Barry may have a second career in acting.Wink


    PS: I notice the math validation is getting tougher. I have to get the grand kids in to help as I only have 10 fingers and 10 toes.

  7. In all the videos were excellent, vary in formative and interesting. What I might add is in the second video were Barry lists a series of safety procedures and operation, I would suggest using lung protection or an effective ventilation system and second he makes no mention of dressing the wheel.

  8. Thanks to all of you who have viewed the videos and have cared enough to take some of your valuable time to comment. We truly need the feedback, all of it. I noticed my shirt was unbuttoned after the second ten hour marathon filming session and Tyler said nobody would notice. Now we know that there is nothing that will go un-noticed. 


    As Sammy said, that drawer full of dull bits is looking like it might have some life left in it after all. That was the object in producing this stuff was to help people to use their tools. If we can get a couple of hundred users sharpening drills who didn't think they could do it before the video, I will be a happy man.


    Alexander brought up the missing step of dressing the wheel. We talked about that but because of time limitations imposed by the venue we were intending to use, there was only just enough time for what we had. In fact, these vids are less than half the length they were on the first take. We could have picked up some time as Sammy suggested with the longer repetitive grinding sections being shortened, but starting and stopping caused major irritation with the sound so we had to do it in one take. We thought it was worth including all of that grind to show how even a mangled drill could be repaired quickly in one go. If we had cut it up, the viewers would have had no idea that it took a short time to fix that drill considering its “before” condition.


    Thanks for all the wonderful feedback both positive and suggestions for improvement. We want to do this well so every suggestion you give us will make the next video better.


    Barry Young

  9. Ditto on what Barry said, good points all around!

    Some of the things were left out due to time constraints as Barry said, but you're right Alex, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have included lung protection in the safety portion of the video. 

    We are considering adding a 3rd video showing some advanced techniques, like splitting the point. But we wanted to limit these videos to the basics to show people how easy it can really be to grind bits by hand. 

    If we decide to do a 3rd advanced video, what things would you guys like to see included that we might not have though of?

  10. These 2 videos have taught me more in 13 minutes than many of the books I have read. 

    I usually take my drills for granted, that they will drill the correct size hole – these videos really demonstrate that looking after my drills will pay off.

    Thank you for making the videos and showing them. I shall refer to them often.

  11. Great video. Need more like that Does and Don't. I do learn by myself, but It's costly and time consuming. Good videos like these one are fast learning and show us exactly the trial and errors we have to try.

    Again, from Québec, thanks a lot 

  12. This was a great intro video set!  I might add a few points.  I would like to get a bit more about the terminology used for the various angles and faces of the bit.  The terminology is important when discussing special sharpening techniques for different metals or different desired results, and many of the terms carry over to other types of cutting tools.  I would have liked for Barry to specify the approximate clearance angle he was going for.  He made the point that there needs to be clearance, but was not specific about how much, and too much may be as problematic as not enough.  I also wondered what wheel types and grits are best for drill and tool sharpening.


    In future videos, I would like to see how the sharpening technique changes for small drills, say, less that about 1/8″, and sharpening for special situations, like breaking the lead edges when drilling brass.


    Thanks again for an informative and straightforward video!



  13. harborfreight8x12

    This was excellent.  Very well demonstrated.  I have a Drill Doctor but it only goes to 0.500″.

    Thanks, Al

  14.    Very good plain basic drill sharpening video, also the best i,ve seen.

     (A pretty good job for a young fella.)  Ha Ha!!

     Certainly will recommend this video highly!!

  15. Thanks for the feedback guys! And I'm speaking for Barry as well. Positive feedback (even constructive feedback) lets us know that people are watching the videos and therefor our effort was worthwhile. 

    In future videos, I would like to see how the sharpening technique changes for small drills, say, less that about 1/8″, and sharpening for special situations, like breaking the lead edges when drilling brass.

    @jimryan2000 We are thinking about making a 3rd advanced video that covers more terminology and also talks about many of the topics you mentioned, including dubbing for brass. We even shot a drill geometry video, but the video quality was poor (we were using different non-HD cameras for that shoot) but in the interest of keeping the videos short we decided to cut the drill geometry info out of the re-shoot. But we will put it in for the advanced video. Thanks for the suggestions!