How to Sharpen a Router Bit

Updated: Jan. 14, 2022

If your router bit isn't cutting as cleanly as it used to, this video is for you.

What is a Router Bit?

Woodworkers use routers to make cutouts, trim edges and create designs that wouldn’t be possible with a normal saw. Routers can accomplish many tasks, depending on which of the many styles of router bits you choose.

When To Sharpen a Router Bit

Your router is only as good as the router bit attached to it. If that bit is dull, the quality of your work will suffer. If you start to notice imprecision in your router cuts, it’s probably time to sharpen the bits.

Thankfully, sharpening a router bit is a straightforward task requiring only a few tools. You’ll need a clamp, a diamond paddle, and maybe an Allen wrench depending on the style of bit you’re sharpening.

How to Sharpen a Router Bit

Step One: Remove the Bearing

Some router bits have a ball bearing. If the bit you’re sharpening has one, remove it with an Allen wrench.

Step Two: Clamp the Paddle

Clamp the handle of your diamond paddle to the edge of your workspace. A 600-grit diamond paddle works for most jobs, and 300-grit if the bit is in especially rough shape. Once you’ve clamped the paddle in place, wipe a little water onto its surface to act as a lubricant.

Step Three: Sharpen the Bit

Run each edge of the router against the diamond paddle in quick, repetitive motions. Each cutting edge should only need five to ten strokes before it’s fully re-sharpened. Make sure that you sharpen each surface equally. Sharpening one edge of a router bit more than others will throw off the balance.