Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Homemade Brad Point Drills Better Than W.L. Fuller and Lee Valley?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    973

    Homemade Brad Point Drills Better Than W.L. Fuller and Lee Valley?

    I was looking at expensive brad point drill sets when I came across a Fine Woodworking video from a furniture maker who claims the bits he grinds himself work better. Great idea, or has he been inhaling too much turpentine?

    Cry "Havoc," and let slip the dogs of bench.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    5,543
    Interesting. Might want to try it

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    973
    Lee Valley bits are $200 per set. I can get a 115-piece Harbor Freight index for $40 minus 20%! I don't mind grinding a little to save money. I mean, even if I get expensive bits, I'll eventually have to sharpen them, too, so what's the difference?
    Cry "Havoc," and let slip the dogs of bench.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Alberta
    Posts
    1,287
    Thats Michael Fortune,if he says they work good I would tend to believe it. definitely worth a try,I have that jar of wrecked bits at my shop too.

  5. #5
    I've done a few by hand in a pinch. It works better in larger sizes, say bigger than about 5/16", or maybe 1/4" if you get good at it. Unless you can successfully sharpen bits freehand already, I wouldn't recommend trying it yet. You need to have a pretty good understanding of drill bit and cutting geometry to get it to work right.

    I don't use brad point bits that often though, and when I do, they are ones too small to cut freehand. I've got forstners down to 1/4", and they tend to cut cleaner, so I don't normally have much need or use for brad points in sizes that I can grind. I do find some of the smaller sizes quite useful for pilot drills, particularly 1/8" but those are too small to grind by hand, though you might be able to touch them up if you are skilled.

    If you really feel the need, try sharpening an existing brad point, or maybe try to make a new one around 11/32" or 3/8" That is large enough to give you some room to work with, but small enough to not worry if you are slightly off in your grinding. Or just buy them and work on a more useful skill

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michiana
    Posts
    1,518
    Three questions: What is better? What is your time worth? Do you have the right grinder setup or is that another purchase?

    All in, I spent more money on cheap drills than I did on the brad point index from LV. I bought lots of drills with dull tips, drills that would wander, and drills that resulted in holes differently sized than expected. I still have a cigar box full of them and use them for rough work. The LV index was expensive. I've never regretted the purchase. They're sharp as razors and drill straight and true every time.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  7. #7
    To each his own, but for me, I'll take the LV or Fuller. I stink at hand sharpening bits.
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
    - Sir Edmund Burke

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Alberta
    Posts
    1,287
    Steve you asked whats the difference in the LV bits versus habour hate ? It can be sumed up with one word,QUALITY. The LV bits are about 10 times or so better. I am going to try grinding some of my own old good quality bits as per this video though. I think this technique would be the most useful for when you need a size that you do not have in hand.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    1,902
    LOL I love threads like this. Hey, if Harbor Freight works well enough for you, awesome! Personally I haven't found anything there as far as tools go that I didn't think was junk and I can't imagine their drill bits would be any exception, but as mentioned before: to each their own. Ill stick with my LV sets.
    If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rivel View Post
    LOL I love threads like this. Hey, if Harbor Freight works well enough for you, awesome! Personally I haven't found anything there as far as tools go that I didn't think was junk and I can't imagine their drill bits would be any exception, but as mentioned before: to each their own. Ill stick with my LV sets.
    In my experience (2015 or 16), HF bits tend to be soft and bend. For bargain bin cheapos, the Menards 100 for $15 have been fine. I sharpen when they dull (drilling steel usually). I'll have to try this idea!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    Princeton, NJ
    Posts
    6,351
    Blog Entries
    7
    The Lee Valley type are pretty similar to what Michael Fortune is grinding here. I prefer just to buy them, but I respect that he likely does a fine job of this.
    Bumbling forward into the unknown.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Holcombe View Post
    The Lee Valley type are pretty similar to what Michael Fortune is grinding here. I prefer just to buy them, but I respect that he likely does a fine job of this.
    This is correct with regard to what Lee Valley calls "Utility" brad point bits. The bits LV calls "Lipped" are the type that Michael considers to be a flawed design as he discusses in the first 30 seconds of the video.

    BTW, I took a class with him and have watched him do this process in person and it's very interesting. This discussion thread has reminded me to give it a try.

  13. #13
    Actually my standard Viking bright finish bits cut cleaner than some of the cheap brad points I have used.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •