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Drill bits getting dull too soon

I saw a tip for using cutting fluid instead of bees wax or Bur life as a means of extending the life of one’s drill bits. Does any one have any thoughts on the matter?

Beeswax dissolved in turpentine thins the beeswax. When used, the turpentine evaporates on the drill leaving a thin layer of beeswax.

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Thank you Betty2. Does that help to slow the dulling? Would it work on piercing saw blades?

I use oil in a small dish with a piece of cloth wrapped up in it. You can continually dip your burs and drill bits into it. Then it removes chips too when you push the bit into the oily cloth. I make a v on each side too so I can drag my saw blades over it too

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Thanks for that Shannon. What type of oil? I once read about using Oil of Wintergreen, but I think that was a very old book and you can’t get that oil anymore.
Cheers Willie

Synthetic oil of wintergreen is available, and it is as useful as the natural oil. The wintergreen smell can be overwhelming.

When beeswax is dissolved in turpentine, it becomes liquid, thus, it would be messy to apply it to a saw blade.

I make it in an antique medicine jar which is not much larger than a thimble. I use a cork to cover the jar.

To make it, I scrape off a small amount of little bits of beeswax and put it in the tiny jar. I recommend making a small amount because the beeswax will last a very long time. Even though the jar is tightly covered, the turpentine evaporates and the mixture gets thicker over time, but I make it thin again by adding turpentine and then stirring the mixture with a toothpick (because it’s a small amount in a tiny jar).

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Regarding saw blades, put the lube on the back of the blade instead of on the cutting side of the blade.

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Great - thanks again Betty. I did know about only coating the back of the saw blade - after messing up by waxing the teeth!

3 in 1 oil, or cutting if you want to get fancy

My preferred lube for saw blades, drill bits, burrs, and wire drawing is good old fashioned Parowax Blocks. You can find it in the grocery store in the baking and canning dept. A box of 8 blocks will last you forever and they are cheap.
No smell. No crumbling and dandruff that burr life leaves all over your bench. No clogging like bees wax. No oil spattering. $6.00-$8.00 for a lifetime supply. I also use mine to lubricate the bottoms of wooden drawers. I have converted many folks over the years to Parowax. It’s the bomb.


Happy New Year and thanks all of you for your advice and tips.

I use machine oil - a dap on top of the metal.

Your bits can dull quickly if you are getting the bit hot while drilling too fast. When the drill bit gets hot it can lose its temper (basically its hardness) and when the steel is softer the cutting edge will dull quickly. And when it’s dulling one tends to push harder and spin it faster, creating more heat and more dulling. The solution is to drill with moderate downward pressure and slow speed. Drill a little, watch for a spiral of metal to come up out of the hole, pull the drill out to clear the hole, wash-rinse-repeat.


Thanks Vera - that makes perfect sense, and that is what I have been experiencing.
Knowledge which prevent me from making the same mistake again - unfortunately too late for my cone burrs!

We learn lots of things the hard way…lol. You will feel great when you watch that drill lift the swarf out of the hole and you know the drill will be happy to do it again and again.

“Swarf”? Never heard of that word, could you please translate! …:>(

Gerry, on my iPhone


Gerry…You’ve been making swarf for a long time and never knew it…Rob

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and I thought it was typing error…:>)

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Gerry, “Swarf” is one of my favorite words…so now it can be one of your favorites. vera