Now these don’t work well unless they are sharp. Well a burn auger works if it is red hot, sharpness is not that much of an issue. On all other bits it requires that the bits are sharp to easily remove the wood occupying the space in which you want to make a hole.
The Center Bit on the left is easily sharpened with a flat file, auger file or triangular file. The Gimblet bit on the right needs a round file and a flat, auger or triangular file to sharpen. The numbers indicate the order in which the bit should be sharpened.
When sharpening center bits it is important that it is symmetrical and that 5 the center pivot is in the center. The spur is for scoring the wood so it should be sharpened like a knife edge, sharp on the bottom and leading edge. The excavation cutter on the opposite side is sharpened like a chisel or plane blade, with the bottom flat and the bevel dressed to a sharp edge.
The Gimblet bit needs to be sharp on its edges and this requires a small round file. Needle files work well to bring the inside pod edge up to meet the outside edge to provide a sharp cutting edge. The edges of the tip need to be sharp as they act as a screw to pull the bit into the wood. This bit produces a smooth exit hole as it enlarges the hole and pulls the dreck back through the hole.
Here is the method of sharpening twist auger bits.
Auger bits can be sharpened with a flat file, a triangular file or much easier an auger file, a special file with safe edges and safe faces to allow for proper sharpening. The numbers indicate the order in which the edges are addressed. When sharpening it is just like sharpening a knife, chisel or plane iron in that you get the flat surfaces flat then work on the bevels. The last part #5 is to freshen the threads of the screw, this is generally done with a triangular file. If the threads are sharp, then no attention is needed, but most need to be freshened a bit.
Reciprocating bits are sharpened flat and square as they cut in both directions, spoon bits on their end, nose augers on their nose. It helps if the bits are bright, for one thing that helps prevent rust and for another it facilitates chip removal, rough, rusted or pitted surfaces tend to clog up. Some bits remove their chips as you work, others require that the bit be periodically removed to remove the dross from the hole.
I sharpen bits like I sharpen saws after I have joined off the teeth. I remove the metal until the shine on the top is gone. Same for sharpening knives look at the edge and when the shine is gone, it is sharp. Hand drills are not that hard to sharpen, with the exception of flat countersink bits intended for metal, they are quite a bit harder and require honing on a stone.
Equip yourself with round needle files, round files, triangular files (in all their iterations), flat files and most importantly the auger file. Joel at Tools for Working Wood sells auger files, order one you will need one. Avoid filing on the outside of any bit as much as possible as it will eventually reduce the diameter of the bit and can cause binding, etc.
When drilling through boards it is always a good idea to have a backer of scrap wood to prevent split out on the off side. A square or bevel can help get the hole at the proper angle, a bit extension can help with angles and the wedding ring can be used to drill horizontal holes.
I sometimes dip my bit into the grease cup to help with difficult woods, such as green or wood with a lot of pitch. When drilling green wood, make sure to wipe off the bits immediately to prevent rust.
Choose the proper bit for the proper job. Wait a minute what kind of stupid advice is that? You are adults you know what you are doing.