Sharpening router bits

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 06-15-2011 03:29 PM 3870 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4541 posts in 4124 days

06-15-2011 03:29 PM

Has anyone had any success in sharpening router bits after they have gone a little dull? If so, could you share your technique and/or any tips

I’ve tried several times to sharpen some straight bits with a hand file and/or a diamond plate. It never seems to do any good.

It may be that, because most bits are carbon tipped, they are not intended to be sharpened. Nonetheless, I would like to try it.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

10 replies so far

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4625 days

#1 posted 06-15-2011 04:02 PM

I use a little diamond slip stone and barely kiss them Rich.
They don’t get as good as new, but you can tell a difference.
It seems to work best for me when I concentrate most on the back of the cutting side.

View devann's profile


2260 posts in 3742 days

#2 posted 06-15-2011 04:32 PM

While I don’t have the proper equipment to do it myself, I have had router bits resharpened for years by the people that resharpen my saw blades and planer knives. They cut like a new one when I get them back.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 4336 days

#3 posted 06-15-2011 08:23 PM

Rich, you can touch them up by hand if they are in good shape, and not too dull. It must be diamond. A regular file will not work. Work the flat side, not the profile. I use the Easy-Lap Diamond Sharpener that looks kind of like a file.

If they are very dull I would send them to a pro sharpening service. If there is not one in your area, ther are several around the country you can send them to. The shipping (or mailing) is not much on several bits.


View wchips's profile


314 posts in 4137 days

#4 posted 06-16-2011 04:38 AM

I take mine to 3 b’s saw shop in Omaha They are yery resonable and do a super job sharpining both router bits and saw blades

-- wchips

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 3886 days

#5 posted 06-17-2011 05:02 AM

I seem to enjoy sticking my foot into my mouth… so here goes. Most of my problems with both saw blades and router bits is that they gum up or at least build a burnt pitch on them. To clean my circular blades and router bits, I take a very sharp chisel and scrape the gunk off, first from the cutting edges, then the sides, and gullies for saw blades. Any surface I can scrape, I do. Off course, I’m gentle in my scraping and haven’t ruined any blades or bits yet. If I do, then off to the professional sharpeners they go. As for my planer blades, I did invest in a Tormek and own the planer blade attachment. Using their set-up, I successfully sharpened my planer blades, re-installed them, and went to town. The Tormek system is expensive along with their jigs, but if you want professional results, that’s the machine you need.

I’m not trying to sell the Tormek, but once I’m done with my blade and bit clean-up, I resharpen my chisel on the Tormek! As a foot note, I’ve owned a few expensive saw blades and bits for about 10 years and I have never sent them to a professional sharpening service. Two weeks ago, I performed this procedure on a Freud ripping blade and it’s working like new!

One other quick method… on the face of my saw blades, when they accumulate lots off gunk, I spray them with oven cleaner. Wait a few minutes and wipe them clean. The only problem her is that the oven cleaner will also take the paint and print off your blades!

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View DLCW's profile


530 posts in 3704 days

#6 posted 06-17-2011 05:23 AM

To clean bits and blades I use regular oven cleaner you can get at your local grocery store. Here’s the process:

Spray the stuff on
let it sit for a couple of minutes
scrub any stubborn areas with a nylon brush
rinse with water
dry with paper towel
spray on the bit and blade lubricant

Blade with lots of pitch is good as new and feels nice and sharp again. Elapsed time – about 6 minutes.

I use a pro sharpening service for my carbide bits and blades. I even use them for my CNC bits. I tried using a very fine diamond file and the results were never encouraging. So I gave up.

-- Don, Diamond Lake Custom Woodworks - - "If you make something idiot proof, all they do is make a better idiot"

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12314 posts in 4478 days

#7 posted 06-18-2011 01:41 AM

I’ve never had any router bits sharpened because I was always fearful that the diameter would change. This wouldn’t be too good for a flush trim or a drawer lock bit. But I suppose it wouldn’t adversely affect a straight bit of even a round over.
wchips, what has been your experience?

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 4109 days

#8 posted 06-18-2011 05:19 AM

My CNC instructor who walked into a guitar factory. Hes sees barrel and barrels of holding metal. In the barrel hold thousands of CNC bits. So why didn’t they just send it to have it sharpened? Because when its sharpened the the diameter will be shorter

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 3742 days

#9 posted 06-18-2011 03:43 PM

One of the jobs I had in the past was as a tool maker. 90% of the work I did was making carbide cutting tools. Sharpening them at home is difficult if they are too warn, it takes a long time with a dimond plate or slip to get them sharp again. One problem is pitch but as others said oven cleaner works best. The other problem with doing them yourself by hand is getting each side equal. This is where a pro can get things right. As for diamiter change it depends upon what you use your bits for. If you use them for 1 pass dados yes you may have a bit of a problem if they are forming bits depending upon how much material had to be taken off the bit to sharpen it it may not be perceptable.

-- See pictures on Flickr -[email protected]/ And visit my Facebook page -

View pierce85's profile


508 posts in 3612 days

#10 posted 06-18-2011 11:40 PM

Great question. I’m wondering about the change in bit diameter as well…

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