Most woodworkers know how crucial it is to work with sharp tools, but they also know how irritating it can be to interrupt work for sharpening. The folks at Darex, which makes the Drill Doctor sharpeners and other small shop sharpening solutions, have tried to address this need. Now they’ve expanded the capability of the newest Drill Doctor unit to handle spade bits.

Not a toy 

When I first saw the Drill Doctor sharpening unit some years ago, it seemed like a gimmick geared toward hobbyists. Then I started using it (watch the video). The unit does such a good job, so quickly and so easily, that it has become a regular part of my routine. I never have to worry about working with a dull twist drill bit because in seconds I can touch it up and have it sharp again.

But the limitation of the Drill Doctor has always been what bits it would sharpen. Twist drills are the most commonly used bits, but they aren’t always the first choice for woodworking. Installers in particular frequently have the need to drill larger holes for electrical wire access. Frequently their tool of choice is a spade bit, but until now, the Drill Doctor couldn’t handle that one.

Simple procedure 

The new unit looks like a regular Drill Doctor with a pivoting add-on unit to handle spade bits. The spade bit unit pivots in a clutch-like action to engage the main motor on the Drill Doctor.

To use the unit, you first mount the spade bit in a simple fixture, align it with the sharpening wheel, then lock the bit down. With the unit on and the clutch engaged, you move a trigger control to shift the grinding wheel back and forth to sharpen the bit. With spurred bits, you have to be a little careful to not grind too much on the spurs.

The whole process takes just seconds and delivers a good sharp result to get you back to work.

Great addition 

Because the Drill Doctor hardly takes up any space, it’s simple to leave it plugged in and setup in a convenient location to make sharpening easy. At a street price of about $100, this unit would pay for itself quickly in saved replacement bits since most shops don’t bother to send small bits out for sharpening.

My only complaint is I wish the unit would also sharpen brad point bits. Maybe the Drill Doctor folks are working on that.

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