Drill bits -- Titanium vrs Black Oxide ?


Lynn Dollar

TVWBB Emerald Member
My drill bits are a mess. Over the years I've accumulated a set here, a couple there, etc ............ and now , I seem to never have the size I need and a lot of sizes I never use. If I do find the right size its too dull to do a lot of damage.

So I'm shoppin and it appears to me its cost efficient to just buy another set , rather than the pieces I need. Not being a contractor, I don't make a living with a drill using one every day , so I'm wondering if it really makes a diff if I spend extra for titanium or for a brand name like Dewalt. I see a lot of good things said about the Bauer tools sold at Harbor Freight . And Ryobi at Home Depot is priced well also.
If your not using them every day all day then a bits a bit.:)
You can get some nice sets on sale and they are cheap enough to replace.
Am in a similar boat...
I have a good set of titanium but many need sharpening or replacing. I have considered a sharpener but getting a good one is open to opinion.

I watched some reviews on yootoob and there are some decent sharpeners but in the 100-150 range depending on model.
If you have bullet point bits? Those are hard to re sharpen. I know some Ironworkers that can do it by hand with an angle grinder.
Remember titanium bits are not made of it they're coated. Same with black oxide. Once the bit is dulled and yo attempt a sharpening you simply grind off the surface and the bit is still no good.
If you don't have the time or will to learn how to sharpen simple twist drills to 118 deg or 135 deg. Just toss and buy new. Or grab a hand full and send them out to a sharpening service. The biggest mistake is to use the wrong angle on the wrong material being drilled. Once you see smoke coming up while drilling metal - you just messed up the bit regardless of material. I have fount that the titanium coated/hardened bits hold an edge longer. Special pointed bits are harder to sharpen and unless you are into daily use, buy a new one or save them up and ship them to a service.

On a short notice if working a job I can pull out the files and chuck up a bit in the vise and carefully sharpen if it's HSS. I have used "Drill Doctor) type tools over the years and they work fine, but you have to invest in them. If you aren't drilling and sharpening every day, not worth it IMHO.

And - I have all the drilling and tapping stuff. Number drills, letter drills, full tap sets, etc. But if you aren't running this stuff every day, just buy a new bit so when you reach for it you know it's sharp and just get the job done.
Yeah, my cabinetmaker buddy has several of that model for “on site” projects. I need to do some tinkering on “The overperformer” and some side tables.
I have been buying the cobalt bits as they are much better for drilling metal. This is a great video on comparing bit sharpeners
. This guy is better than consumer reports!
Honestly you put a new twist on things and I truly do get the point :D
But you're still quite boring. ;)

Over the years I've accumulated a random-but-large assortment of bits from various sources. Ironically, the best of the lot have generally been older ones from American companies, so the next time I buy a set (which, honestly, may be never) I'm going to look at these manufacturers: