If you are an aspiring handyman or just a woodworking enthusiast, chances are you must have used a router tool. These tools perform various functions ranging from shaping wood panels to cutting through drywall. Router bits attach to the tool and help with the cutting. These come in various shapes and sizes depending on the function they perform. What makes routers so effective is that they can provide several different ways to cut. Apart from that, they are excellent for handling sideways pressure. Router bits come in two types: carbide tipped and hardened steel router bits. Know more about how to sharpen router bits?
How to Sharpen Router Bits?
Sharpening the router bits is the most important part in the maintainance. For that you may require a nice router bit sharpening tool to get the work done effectively. Following are the steps to know how to sharpen router bits precisely:
Step 1 : Attach to Grinder
Take your router bit and attach it to an angle grinder. This makes it easier to hold when grinding it against a diamond wheel. It is also important to note the condition of your bits before you proceed. If your bits are quite worn down, sharpening them with router bits sharpener wont help. However, if they seem to hold on pretty well, you can proceed further.
Step 2 : Greasing
Next, take an industrial greaser and apply it all over the surface of the bit. Let this sit for sufficient time before using a scourer to clean up the surface.
Step 3 : Sharpen with Diamond Edge
Now, get a diamond-edged stone and lay it flat on a steady surface. Take the bit’s cutting edge and sharpen it by rubbing it on the stone. You can choose to use water as a lubricant in this stage. The water would also help to wash away the shavings and fine dust being created. Sandpaper should work well enough if you do not own a diamond-edged stone. You can use P600 and P1000 grit sandpaper for this purpose.
Step 4 : Deep Sharpening
If you notice that the entire cutting edge is nicked, the best thing would be to go for a deep sharpening. Here, the bit is clamped between a U-shaped aluminum bracket to facilitate easier movement.
Step 5 : Grind More
The next step is gradually grinding the bit against the diamond wheel. Here, it is important you control the movement, as it is very easy to cut too deep into the router bit.
Step 6 : Repeat
After finishing the process of cutting edge, repeat it for the other edge.
How to Know if your Router Bits Need Sharpening?
Router bits are components of power tools; hence they are under a lot of stress when being used. A simple crack in your bit can spell disaster for both the surroundings and the material it is being used on. The excessive strain on the material often makes it easy to eject out small broken shrapnel. These tend to travel at extremely high velocities and get lodged into objects. A dull or broken router bit can also damage your working material, setting you back by hundreds of dollars. It is imperative that you keep a lookout for the condition of your router bits.
Signs that Your Router Bit Need Sharpening
Check for Size
The router bits tend to look visibly smaller after every use. This is a good indication that your tip has worn off and needs some sharpening. What happens, in this case, is that you end up carving the wrong dimensions into the material. As a result, it is extremely difficult to get any flush fitting.
Burining Marks on Bits
Another clear sign would be that the material shows marks of burning upon using your router tip. This is especially seen across wood and plywood objects, where a dull router leaves a dark burn mark. For other materials, it might not be easy to observe. This generally provides a rough edge finish and might destroy the material.
Check for Tip of Bit
You could also go for a visual inspection of the tip to figure out if the router bit is sharp or not. The dull bits tend to be shiny in spots on the surface and not overall. The visual inspection would also involve rotating the cutting edge against the light. If it shows a glint, it is good enough for cutting. Else you might want to proceed with the sharpening.
Check for Sharpnes
If you find the router a bit difficult to push into the material, it might indicate that the bit is not sharp enough for cutting. Sometimes the finish of the cut might also talk about the sharpness of the bit. A clean router bits finish means the it is sharp, while a rough edge means the bit is dull. For some router bits that are dark gray or black, you might find them progressively turning white as they get dull.
Check for Ball Bearings
Most routers come with ball bearings. These can also be a great way to check the sharpness of your router bit. If you feel the bearings and realize there is a lack of ease of movement, it might be time to sharpen them. One way to deal with this is to ensure that the bearings stay well lubricated. A general inspection using touch can also be done. If you feel that the edge feels sharp, then most likely it is. A smoothed over the edge, easy to the touch, will indicate a dull bit.
They say a good workman never blames his tools; however, a good tool goes a long way in determining the result. This is the same for your router bits as well. Take good care of them, which are bound to last for a long time. Best router bits would not only ensure a better finish but help with the overall safety. You can easily sharpen the bits at home with just a few tools. These would save you a consequential sum of money as we advance as well.