Sharpening Auger bits?

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  • dbhost
    Slow and steady
    • Apr 2008
    • 9308
    • League City, Texas
    • Ryobi BT3100

    Sharpening Auger bits?

    I had 2 trees that were over stressed by the drought this summer taken down in my front yard before they came down on their own. I now have 2, honestly nicely cut close to the ground stumps to get rid of. Unfortunately both of them are VERY close to the sidewalk and one very close to my driveway, so stump grinding is a poor option.

    I figured on boring holes for stump rot.which I have had good luck with dealing with other storm / weather killed trees in the past.

    The drilling was VERY difficult, and realized very quickly that the auger bit was dull.

    The issue is I do not know if it is worth getting the bit sharpened. The replacement bits are not exactly cheap.

    Does anyone know of sharpening services that do these and service Houston Metro?
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  • twistsol
    Veteran Member
    • Dec 2002
    • 2931
    • Cottage Grove, MN, USA.
    • Ridgid R4512, 2x ShopSmith Mark V 520, 1951 Shopsmith 10ER

    #2
    There are only two parts of the auger bit that matter when it comes to being sharp and both are easily cleaned up with a file. The bit shown below is in desperate need of sharpening.

    The first is the main cutting edge. This cleans out the center of the hole. A few minutes with a file will clean this up and make a world of difference. Since this does 90% of the cutting you could just do this and be good to go.

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    Opposite the cutting edge is the spur. Some are pointed and this one is round. File the leading edge from the inside of the bit so the outside stays the same size and shape. This is what cuts the egge of the hole and gives a nice smooth wall.
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    Chr's
    __________
    An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
    A moral man does it.

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    • dbhost
      Slow and steady
      • Apr 2008
      • 9308
      • League City, Texas
      • Ryobi BT3100

      #3
      So the SpeedBor are a funny design, they auger at the tip like shown above, but they have 3 flutes with spurs, sort of like a 3 winged spade bit but with a spiral after that. Generally speaking the outer edge of each spiral is supposed to be sharp as well. The screw auger does its job, but once I get to the spurs all bets are off...

      And unfortunately I do not have a small enough round file do get in there and clean that up...

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      • twistsol
        Veteran Member
        • Dec 2002
        • 2931
        • Cottage Grove, MN, USA.
        • Ridgid R4512, 2x ShopSmith Mark V 520, 1951 Shopsmith 10ER

        #4
        Sandpaper on a dowel or bolt may work since you are drilling into a stump and not doing fine woodworking. A Dremel sharpening stone ma work as will if it is the right size. A chainsaw file would probably be about the right size. Looks like you are spending some money one way or the other.

        I use auger bits mostly for drilling through studs for wire and know that I need to sharpen it if the screw strips because the bit isn't following it or if my drill tries to break my wrist.

        Just for my own amusement, I drilled two holes in a piece of 3/4 birch.
        The hole on the left was before sharpening and took ten rotations with a brace until the screw popped out the other side.
        I then spent two minutes with a file on. the bit I posted earlier.
        The hole on the right was after sharpening and five and a half rotations and the hole is quite a bit cleaner.

        Conclusion: A sharp auger bit will cut nearly twice as fast.


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        Chr's
        __________
        An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
        A moral man does it.

        Comment


        • dbhost

          dbhost
          commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah the bit gets absolutely stopped in the stump. The drill tries spinning my substantial mass around...
      • capncarl
        Veteran Member
        • Jan 2007
        • 3581
        • Leesburg Georgia USA
        • SawStop CTS

        #5
        You are probably trying to cut the hardest to cut part of the tree, green wet wood end grain. A couple of weeks ago I ground about a dozen large pine stumps. Not something I’d recommend for most people. It was about like cutting a broom with a dull saw! I can’t imagine much success drilling with an auger.

        After you get the stumps drilled what’s your next move? The stumps are still there and will take a long time to rot, even with magic chemicals.

        I wouldn’t hesitate cutting a large tree trunk with a proper stump grinder within several feet of the sidewalk or curb, they are very stable and controllable. When you are finished you have royal mess to clean up, and the stump is still there, about 12” below the surface of the ground. Price is brisk! Probably depends on your area, but mine rented for $400/day. In the long run it may be cheaper to hire a tree service to grind and clean up.

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        • dbhost

          dbhost
          commented
          Editing a comment
          There is less than 6" from the outer boundaries of the stump closest to the driveway to the driveway and the sidwalk. It actually has pushed the sidewalk up about 2"
      • dbhost
        Slow and steady
        • Apr 2008
        • 9308
        • League City, Texas
        • Ryobi BT3100

        #6
        Well, if it wouldn't thoroughly freak out my neighbors and likely get the fire department called on me, I could encircle the stumps with flashing, fill the circle with cheap charcoal and light it off, keep filling it until the stump is gone. The concern is these were tall trees and fire can follow tree roots.
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        • LCHIEN
          Internet Fact Checker
          • Dec 2002
          • 21224
          • Katy, TX, USA.
          • BT3000 vintage 1999

          #7
          I have a brand new set of Craftsman "Ship" Auger bits bought probably 15-20 years ago on sale and never used....

          3 bits, 1/2", 3/4" and 1" x 7.5 inches long.

          And

          2 bits, 3/8", 3/4" x 17" long/

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          Last edited by LCHIEN; 11-05-2023, 10:02 PM.
          Loring in Katy, TX USA
          If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
          BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

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          • Black walnut
            Administrator
            • Aug 2015
            • 5464
            • BT3K

            #8
            I tried burning a stump out. It was a big willow at nearly 5 feet across at the ground. I used it as my burn pile for leaves and branches and such . Took about ten years. I would not recommend doing that even if your neighbors are good with it. Be a heck of a party.

            A long time ago when I was first getting started in gunstock checkering my dad suggested that I make my own checkering tools as that is what the best in the world at the time did.(he was friends with Al and Roger Biesen of Spokane, WA) I told him that I wasn't good at making tools, I was good at using them. He replied "guess you're not good at either." Lots of wisdom in that reply that I appreciate more each day. Still he had me checker a couple of stocks. The Biesens were impressed with the result.

            I tell this story to encourage you to find the right sized files to sharpen these bits yourself. A set of needle files is pretty low cost and would be just the ticket for this.
            just another brick in the wall...

            Boycott McAfee. They placed an unresponsive popup on my pc.

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            • dbhost
              Slow and steady
              • Apr 2008
              • 9308
              • League City, Texas
              • Ryobi BT3100

              #9
              When I first bought this house there was a giant Chinese tallow tree Right along the fence hurricane Ike took care of that but I had to cut it what was left down pretty close to ground level and get it out before I could put the fence back app it was about 36 inches in diameter and I took flashing surround of it and filled it with about 4 bags of charcoal and lit it on fire It took probably 3 days before it burned out and left a 3 foot deep hole of nothing but ash. At that point I simply filled the hole with water to douse what was left Once that all settled I went and got a load of soil backfield and compacted it you can't tell where it was now.
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