Can I Sharpen My Router Bit?
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 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.