View Full Version : Re-handling advice. How to avoid wearing out drill bits.

04-22-2013, 06:04 PM
I am attempting to re-handle a knife for a friend. I glued the handle scales on and was drilling the holes for the pins and on the second hole my drill bit broke. I am sure the reason for this is because the knife is already tempered. Is there a way to dill holes for pins without using up a lot of drill bits or is that just a price you pay for re-handling? I am using 3/32 drill bits and the steel is 1095.

Marko Tsourkan
04-22-2013, 06:15 PM
I would take a torch and soften the pin area on a tang (heat it till it blued) before attempting to drill through. I would also widen the holes (drill through with a larger bit) before gluing on scales.


04-22-2013, 07:07 PM
This is a friends knife. Would that ruin the temper or weaken it? Thanks for helping by the way.

04-22-2013, 07:10 PM
get a carbide bit (I think that is what they are called) they aren't too expensive $5-10 I think, and you just have to go slow and steady with lots of lubrication (that's what she said).

04-22-2013, 07:20 PM
I was using a carbide bit. I was not going very slowly however (not that I was rushing). Thanks for the pointer.

04-22-2013, 07:23 PM
Just go slower and you should fine. I can usually drill 10 holes or so with a carbide tipped bit in tempered steel.

04-22-2013, 08:18 PM

Pensacola Tiger
04-22-2013, 08:31 PM
Brownell's Do-Drill should help some.


Marko Tsourkan
04-23-2013, 12:12 AM
This is a friends knife. Would that ruin the temper or weaken it? Thanks for helping by the way.

You heat the tang, not the blade. The problem with drilling hardened metal is that the drills spins too fast generating heat burning the bit. You got to reduce speed to the lowest on your press.

04-23-2013, 03:21 AM
A 3/32 solid carbide drill is going to be mighty brittle as well so watch it doesn't catch and snap in the hole.

04-23-2013, 11:05 AM
You need a very sturdy setup to drill with carbide becaues it is brittle and can snap and ruin your 10 dollar plus bit very easily. For 1095 or fairly simple carbon steels, ff you keep the blade cool by submerging it in water or a least a wet rag, you can heat the tang to cherry red a few times and let it cool in still air, thus normalizing it and it drills very easy with regular bits. Do not get higher alloy steels to red because they can air harden, you are better off just tempering them to a lower hardness.

05-01-2013, 10:44 PM
Cobalt bit, slow speed, plenty of coolant. Recently I put a slab on the tang with double face tape then drilled thru from the tang side. Then I taped the other slab on and drilled thru from the other side of the handle. That worked better than trying to drill one side then the other.

I really like that idea of annealing the tang for drilling. Don't want to make it too soft tho. I recently got a Regent Sheffield 10" chef and it's like a laser - really thin. Light weight, nice tap tone and hard. I know my die master blade is getting tired, but 'bout 1-1/2" from the choil section it stopped cutting. I had to finish with grinder, sander, and file.

05-02-2013, 06:22 AM
I found this discussion interesting -


05-02-2013, 06:58 AM
can i submerge the whole lot in a tub with water than drill?

that might actually work :p

05-02-2013, 10:44 PM
If you use a hand drill you can. :justkidding: