Text Resize

  • -A
  • +A
  • Your rating: None (21 votes)

    Best Practices for Drilling

    By Ernie Conover

    Sinking a hole straight and exactly where you want it is not as easy as you would think, especially if you don’t own a drill press. A handheld drill, be it corded or cordless, can be difficult to control. As with all shop practices, there are some tricks and tools that can help you to drill holes accurately.

    Find the center to drill on target

    Layout is the first step in drilling a hole. To determine the precise location of a hole, draw or scribe cross lines. Then use a center punch to make a 90° dimple in the wood at the intersection of the lines. The dimple will prevent the bit from wandering when you start drilling.

    Find the center

    Self-centering bits help when installing hardware. Drilling for hinge screws requires precision. Self-centering bits have a tapered end on the metal housing, which centers the bit in the hinge’s machined hole.

    Another way to drill in an exact location is to use a self-centering bit. These bits most commonly are used to drill holes when installing hardware that needs flat-head crews,
    such as hinges. The bit is housed inside a metal casing, which has a tapered end. To use it, fit the tapered end of the housing into the hole on a piece of hardware. The tapered end automatically centers itself in the hole. As you apply pressure to the bit and begin drilling, the housing retracts and exposes the bit, allowing it to drill centered into the workpiece.

    Back up the workpiece to prevent tearout

    The best way to prevent tearout when drilling through-holes is to place a sacrificial backer board underneath the workpiece to support the wood fibers where the bit exits.

     Position board underneath 

    Position a sacrificial board underneath the workpiece. When wood fibers are supported, they don’t tear as the bit exits
    the workpiece.

    When using a bit with a brad-point tip, you can prevent tearout by drilling until the point just peeks through the back side of the workpiece. Then turn over the work and use the resulting pinhole as the center point to finish drilling.

    A power drill with a variable-speed motor can be especially useful when it comes to drilling without tearout. Drill slowly at first, and increase the speed as the bit finds center and starts to bite in.

    Clear the chips often

    If the flutes of a bit get clogged with wood chips, they can cause the bit to burn or wander, to create oversize holes, or even to get jammed completely in the workpiece. It is important to withdraw the bit from the work periodically to clear the chips. This also is a matter of safety, as impacted bits are more prone to spin the work or the drill motor in the hands of the operator.

    Square the bit for perpendicular holes

    If your shop lacks a drill press, it can be a challenge to drill a perpendicular hole in
    a workpiece. Some power drills have embedded bubble levels on them that can be
    used to help align a bit. If your drill doesn’t, one simple trick is to place two squares on the workpiece next to the area where a hole is to be sunk. Use the squares to sight your bit. If it is parallel with the squares when looking from all sides, the bit should drill perpendicularly into the workpiece. Continue sighting the bit until the hole is complete.

     You don't need a drill press to make straight holes 

    You don't need a drill press to make straight holes Sight the bit against two squares to ensure that the hole is drilled
    perpendicular to the workpiece. Or you can use an accessory, like a drill guide, which turns the handheld drill into a mini drill press.

    When you want to be more precise than is possible by sighting a bit, there are several commercial jigs that can be used to keep a bit square to a workpiece. Many of these jigs convert a handheld drill into a miniature drill press.

    Use a shopmade jig for angled holes

    For drilling angled holes, I like to use a shopmade jig that consists of a block of wood with a hole drilled through its center. The end of the wood block that makes contact with the workpiece is crosscut at an angle so that it can rest on the workpiece in the correct position. Glue two support blocks to the sides of the jig to create a larger base. Finally, mark the bottom of the jig with lines that intersect at the center of the hole. Continue the lines around the sides of the jig so that they will be visible when drilling.

    Make a jig for drilling at an angle

    Make a jig for drilling at an angle. A block of wood cut at an angle helps guide the bit into the workpiece at a consistent angle.

    To use the jig, line up the cross lines on the jig with the cross lines that mark the location of the hole on the workpiece. If your lines are accurate, the hole in the jig should line up dead center with the desired location of the hole on your workpiece.
    Hold the jig steady with your hand or with clamps, and drill through the jig and into the

    Drill in the right order

    When countersinking for bolts or screws, you often need to drill stepped holes. In most cases, you must drill the biggest-diameter hole first and then follow that up with the smaller-diameter hole. The smaller bit can be centered in the larger hole using the dimple created by the tip of the larger bit as a center point. Common twist bits are the exception. They can be used in the opposite sequence; large twist bits will  self-center in a hole drilled with a smaller bit.

    Lag bolts require stepped holes.

    Lag bolts require stepped holes. When using brad-point bits, drill the larger hole before the smaller one.

    Use a stop to control depth

    Sometimes it is necessary to control the depth of a drilled hole. A variety of drill stops
    can help you do this. For example, you can buy a locking collar that fits over the drill bit. Once the bit cuts into the wood to the desired depth, the collar prevents it from going any deeper.

     A wood block controls hole depth. 

    A wood block controls hole depth. A block of wood cut to a precise length and fitted over a drill bit will prevent overdrilling.

    A wood block also can be used as a drill stop. Drill a hole in a small block of wood so that the bit is completely buried in the block. Then cut the scrap to length so that the bit protrudes from the block equal to the desired depth of the hole. When you drill into a workpiece, the block will stop the bit from going in any deeper than you intend.

    In many situations I have found that wrapping a piece of masking or duct tape around the bit at the desired depth works fine. However, the tape will become unreliable after drilling five to 10 holes.

    Photos by Matt Berger

    From Fine Woodworking #170



    Comment viewing options

    Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
    peredam suara writes: Thank for this article. visit my website http://jualperedamsuararuangan.blogspot.com
    sean mao writes: The horses are of walnut and the knotwork is done in cedar. ip
    galaxy apply writes: Thanks for sharing the great post have a look at it. bigg boss 9
    ashley danielle writes: Nice to read your article! I am looking forward to sharing your adventures and experiences. https://www.facebook.com/textyourexbackreview
    Kelly Andris writes: Thank you ! I support you my french website mutuelle Comparateur de mutuelle santé
    Isabella Tieman writes: Thank for this article. I support you my french website mutuelle annonce infirmiers
    faraz ahmed writes: My friend mentioned to me your blog, so I thought I’d read it for myself. Very interesting insights, will be back for more! Astuce Clash of Clans
    Melanie Gesquiere writes: Top! Thank you for this article my french website mutuelle Comparatif mutuel santé
    aaronaxel sanwatson writes: post about best practices for drilling is genuine, it also explain that how to make risk free drilling with modern methods, and drilling for wood.. http://www.acedrilling.com.au/
    rahul kumar writes:

    :One of the major things that keep us from colonizing space is oxygen. Other planets don’t have that much of it, and we really need it. But when did we first learn exactly what it took to keep us breathing?

    headlines today,

    headline news,

    latest news headlines

    commenter man writes:

    I am pleased to read the post it is really very informative.
    Get sticker printing at low rate from market for more information http://mountainsportsliving.com/

    comment master writes:

    A good jig keeps the router in line. By controlling the line of cut, jigs make mistakes less likely. meniu nunta

    master comment writes:

    Your first name and last name will be published alongside all comments and posts. We hope that the use of real names will help keep the discourse cordial and respectful dragon city

    cak nun writes:

    i'm very glad vist this site, with awesome pict and good article
    tas kulit murah dan celana jeans

    stand up writes: Thanks to a brilliant effort in publishing your Information. One can be more informative as this. suci 4 show 11
    mardy gibbs writes:

    I have learned the correct process in drilling a hole because I did it myself and the first holes were not that good looking. - Feed the Children

    cak nun writes:

    You have done a great job. I will definitely dig it and personally recommend to my friends. telur asin cara cepat hamil jalan jalan celana chino bandung mesin penetas telur

    noki ari writes:

    sepatu vans terbaru you provide an easily understandable tutorial celana chino murah bandung

    Dexter Camcord writes:

    This is a nice project. And the man expertly show us his skills on how to drill.

    mayweather vs alvarez live streaming

    Jean-Francois Negrini writes:

    Excellents tips, I am going to use many of them.


    ahsan zulfiqar writes:

    good working tips.wing nuts

    Login or register to post comments