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Drilling problems

Discussion in 'Shop Talk - BladeSmith Questions and Answers' started by Jessetheknifeguy, Mar 20, 2019.

  1. Jessetheknifeguy


    Dec 16, 2018
    i am working with some new steel (80crv2) and am having a hard time drilling the holes in the tang. I always have a hard time with that though:) I am using basic high speed steel bits and I annealed the steel before I started but the bits are getting dull fast and not cutting well. Any help would be much appreciated. What oils do you use? What kind of bits? Can I cool with a stream of water? I am very new to this whole thing and don't have a drill press or intend on getting one soon though I'm sure that would help.
  2. Hengelo_77

    Hengelo_77 Basic Member Basic Member

    Mar 2, 2006
    cobalt drill bits
    Scaniaman likes this.
  3. DevinT

    DevinT KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Jan 29, 2010
    Reverse the direction of the drill and see if that helps.

  4. scott kozub

    scott kozub Gold Member Gold Member

    Jan 1, 2018
    I bought cobalt bits from drill hog and love them.
  5. GBinGA


    Dec 7, 2018
    This may be more basic than you are looking for, but generally speaking, when drilling a hard metal, I find that slowing your RPM and increasing your pressure helps. Otherwise the bit tends to skate on the surface of the steel rather than biting into it as it should. That will wear out and/or overheat a bit. I see a lot of people over the years trying to drill steel by running the drill as fast as it will go. In my experience that doesn't work well. (Note that my experience has been drilling steel on construction projects or warehouses. NOT the sort of steel you are trying to drill)

    I don't know what oil is best. But certainly use something. don't drill dry.
  6. milkbaby


    Aug 1, 2016
    +1 to cobalt bits. I use the Norseman/Viking Ultra S/P metal cutting and drilling lube that was recommended at USA Knifemaker though it's available elsewhere. It's viscous and sticks around a little better versus a runny watery lube.
  7. HSC ///

    HSC /// KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Nov 7, 2012
    So you are using a hand drill?
    How is the blade held? Do u have a rigid setup to hold your blade?

    Anyway...If you aren’t feeding fast enough through the material then the end of the drill will just rub instead of cut. If your steel is truly soft annealed, it's likely you are simply not using enough pressure IMO

    Just roughly it takes about 10 seconds max to drill a 3/32” hole in 1/8” annealed steel

    Generally speaking in machining , drilling is the fastest way to remove material, next to sawing :)

    I just did one and if you like I’ll upload a little video to my Instagram story So U can see the feed rate by hand

    I generally drill dry in annealed material, if I want to use oil, I like these little bottles with a needle spout, you need very little oil for most of the holes we do and the other bottles just leave a big mess. If you want to use oil/coolant, practically speaking, "anything" is fine and will work. It's a knife, we aren't drilling into Inconel for aerospace parts. :D

    this #43 drill I'm showing just did 12 holes


    Last edited: Mar 20, 2019
    Frozen Bear Trading likes this.
  8. Frozen Bear Trading

    Frozen Bear Trading KnifeMaker / Craftsman / Service Provider Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Feb 22, 2019
    Dont feel bad I had this very issue today I understand the struggle
  9. Spalted

    Spalted My name is Britt Askew I like making knives Knifemaker / Craftsman / Service Provider

    Dec 9, 2010
    Do you know somebody that has a drill press that you could use? If so you would probably change your mind, drills much easier than a hand drill. I dont use any kind of coolant (because I use the same drill press for woodworking)and never have problems. I really like the USA made bits from USA knifemaker, the bits from lowes just aint the same.
  10. Drew Riley

    Drew Riley

    Oct 17, 2007
    A drill press would definitely help. When in doubt, slow your speed and increase your pressure. If the chips and/or the bit are turning colors, you're getting things too hot and dulling your bit. If you want a good relatively cheap oil that works really well, grab a gallon of sulfur based cutting fluid at your local big box store. It'll likely be in the plumbing section where your pipe cutting/threading dies are. A couple drops per hole should be plenty.

    How big of a hole are you trying to drill? It may help to start with a smaller bit around the side of the webbing of the final drill size that you're going for.
    Ken H> likes this.
  11. Jessetheknifeguy


    Dec 16, 2018
    Thanks, I'm not quite that new :)
    I've tried a bunch of those things. The oil and bits were the main problem. It works now. They were 6mm holes. I live in Germany so i dont have Access to all of these stores.
  12. Tom Lewis

    Tom Lewis

    Feb 24, 2000
    A friend brought over a knife blade he made out of a file. He had ruined several bits trying to drill it. I used a masonry bit in my drill press and easily drilled the holes he needed. Masonry bits have a carbide insert.
    If you can, use a drill press, it will be much easier.

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