How to Sharpen Forstner Bits

You may have come across some of the most hardened drill bits and thought of how challenging it is to sharpen them. The carbide-tipped Forstner bits are one of the easiest bits to sharpen.

Many questions all over the internet on any topic discussing the sharpening of Forstner bits are becoming a commonplace. The prompted our research and thought it wise to share our findings. To add to what we found. Out of the various options, we will share the one that is convenient for anyone who uses the Forstner bits regularly.

Additionally, you could check out the drilling advisor pick for Forstner bit to get some good ideas.

What is a Forstner Bits

Larger diameter holes in wood may be drilled using Forstner drill bits. They may make extremely clean cuts, but their main benefit is that they create holes with flat bottoms (with the exception of a small indent left by the center point). They may also be used to create many overlapping holes, unlike conventional drill bits. Forstner drill bits are frequently used to remove a lot of material prior to routing applications or to place hinges into cabinet doors (to save wearing out the more expensive router cutters). While many of the smaller sizes are perfect for use in both handheld drills and stationary machines, Forstner bits work best when used in a drill press or with a corded drill placed on a drill stand.

Why the name Forstner Bits 

The German immigrant and creator of the Forstner bit, Benjamin Forstner, resided in the United States in the middle of the 19th century. This kind of bit was created by toolmaker Forstner to bore flat-bottomed holes in wood that were not achievable with conventional auger bits or spade bits. The Forstner bit’s center point and radial cutting edges enabled it to create accurate, spotless holes with flat bottoms, making it the perfect choice for woodworking applications. While the Forstner bit’s design has changed through time, it still goes by the name it was given in honor of its creator.

Tools You Will Need

  • Round chain saw sharpening tool – be sure to check out the best chainsaw under $300 as well.
  • Triangular file
  • Vise
  • Forstner bits
  • A sharpening stone or a bench grinder
  • Security glasses
  • Working gloves

The Process

Step 1: Set up your work area

To prevent scratching your Forstner bits, locate a level surface and cover it with a thick cloth or mat. Put on your work gloves and safety glasses.

Step 2: Clean the Forstner bit

Remove any dirt or corrosion from the Forstner bit using a wire brush or a soft cloth. By doing this, you can make sure that you can see the cutting edge clearly and that no debris or dirt is being ground into the bit.

Step 3: Establish the cutting edge’s angle

The cutting edges of various Forstner bits have different angles. When sharpening your Forstner bit, it is imperative to ascertain the angle of the cutting edge. To determine the angle, consult the manufacturer’s specs or use a protractor.

Step 4: Make the Forstner bit sharper

The cutting edge of the Forstner bit should be precisely sharpened using a bench grinder or sharpening stone. To prevent establishing a new angle that might not be appropriate for the bit’s function, follow the cutting edge’s angle. In sharpening the bit, use moderate pressure and keep it from getting too hot. The bit may lose its cool due to overheating, which will lessen its efficiency.

Step 5: Check the Forstner bit

Check the Forstner bit’s effectiveness and smoothness on a scrap piece of wood after sharpening. If not, keep honing it until it functions properly.

Step 6: Keep the Forstner bit in place

When you are done sharpening, wipe the bit with a clean towel and keep it somewhere dry. The need for frequent sharpening will decrease and rust from developing on the cutting edge will be prevented by proper storage.

In conclusion, every woodworker should be proficient in the process of sharpening Forstner bits. You can sharpen your Forstner bits to help them cut more smoothly and efficiently if you have the correct equipment and follow these step-by-step instructions.


Larger Forstner bits have teeth or cutting edges on their rims as opposed to the smooth ones that we encounter daily. The same sharpening approach applies. You need to work with the round file on the Forstner bit rim and then sharpen the individual teeth.

Using the Pointed Guide to Widen a Hole

  • Forstner bits just like the spade bits have a small sharp point at the center that you can use as a pivot point when working. For you to enlarge an existing hole in the absence of wood for the point to use to center itself, the bit will walk away.
  • Carefully center the hole and align with the sharp point over an existing hole, then clamp the bit securely and make the new hole in your workpiece. Secure your workpiece on a backer board to minimize chances or wear and tear when using a larger Forstner drill.

What to Look for When Buying Forstner Bit Sets

When it comes to buying the right Forstner bit sets, even the experienced DIYers and professionals find it a big challenge. To get the precise size for a particular hole, you need to look for the following before taking the bit.


Size is everything for a professional concerned about precision. There is an option of getting a complete set of bits so you can always choose from a variety.

Edge of the Bit

Different edges offer different designs. The edge of a bit determines how your design will look like. For example, a knife-edge bit will make beautiful cuts and drills holes faster at the expense of overheating.

Bit Material

The general feeling of high-grade steel used as one of the best drill bit material to get clean and clear holes to make it as a leading material for bits. If your choice of material is light, then going for a Forstner bit made of steel is an excellent choice.

Final word

Like any other thing that requires persistency to be perfect, sharpening a Forstner bit needs patience. You will always win big the day you realize that you can sharpen bits on your own without spending an extra dime. The center pointed [art of the drill bit should always stay at the center. To achieve this guide it using your thumb when filing.