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Q & A: Can I Sharpen My Router Bit?

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Can I Sharpen My Router Bit?

 

Q:

I’ve got a carbide router bit that’s caked with pitch and leaves a rough cut. Can I rescue it or should I buy a new one?



A:

A bit can be brought back from the dead. Take a close look at the cutting edge. If it’s rounded over or lightly nicked, take your bit to a pro for evaluation and sharpening.Most bits can be professionally sharpened four or more times for about $5 to $7 a pop.

There’s a good chance that all your bit needs is a good cleaning and a light honing.Cleaning removes pitch and resin that can make your bit cut inefficiently and run hot. (A caked and dirty cutting edge will dull faster than a clean one.) Commercial bit and blade cleaners work far better and faster than common solvents like WD-40 or denatured alcohol.

Hone your carbide bit with a diamond paddle lubricated with water. Two grits might be necessary, coarse 325 grit for a somewhat dull bit, and fine 600 grit for final honing and routine touch-up.Lap the flat face of the bit (not the profile). Four to six passes should do it.




This story originally appeared in American Woodworker February 2002, issue #92.

February 2002, issue #92

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