Hole Saw – The Ultimate Guide of Using a Hole Saw

A Set of Hole Saws

Hole saw have gained vast usage among handymen and DIY enthusiasts due to their efficiency and the ability to cut a wide variety of hole sizes. Moreover, they are relatively affordable and consume less power.

In this article, we’ll discuss some tips and uncommon info surrounding the use of hole saws. We’ll also look at how to use hole saws to achieve project success as well as some maintenance tips to ensure that your hole saw lasts longer.

Figure 1- A Set of Hole Saws
A Set of Hole Saws

Section 1: Why Don’t Choose the Drill Bit But Hole Saw?

You may be wondering why a drill bit can’t do the same job as a hole saw. Well, if drilling sizable holes is your priority, you need a tool that is best suited for the job. A couple of reasons why a hole saw would outperform a drill bit when it comes to drilling a hole includes –

Figure 2 – A Hole Saw and a Set of Drill Bits
A Hole Saw and a Set of Drill Bits

Cleaner Finish

Hole saws cut with great precision as they come with pilot bits that allow you to precisely know the size of the hole you want to create or cut. This precision also allows the spot to come out neatly. Plus, with a quality hole saw, you should be able to avoid splintering.

You Can Use it on Different Materials.

While drill bits like spade bits and Forstner bits are exclusively for woods, you can use hole saws on a wide range of materials. Besides, there are specific hole saws for different materials – metal hole saws, diamond hole saws, and concrete hole saws.

Hole Sizes

There is a limit to the type of holes drill bits can drill. If you’re looking to drill well-sized holes, drill bits aren’t an option. You’re better off using a spot saw as you can seamlessly create holes with less amount of effort.

Section 2 What Type of Drill is Best for Hole Saws?

Yes, hole saws are powerful tools, but they are only one part of the equation. It would be best if you had a drill that powers your hole saws efficiently. Predominantly, exercises tend to come in three types – hand-held drills, drill presses, and magnetic base drills.

Your working conditions should influence your drill choice. Most handymen or DIY experts use hand-held drills (corded and cordless) because of the work-ease it provides. You can easily carry it around while you work. Regardless of your drill choice, you can’t afford to overlook some staple factors such as –

Figure 3 – A Hand-held Drill in Use
A Hand-held Drill in Use

The Material in Question

The concerned material should inform your choice of a drill. Some fabrics require a strong drill power, while others might need less. In this regard, you should always check for the RPM. Some manufacturers usually have this info on their products.

The Diameter and Depth of The Hole

Some drills tend to be more capable of drilling deeper holes and broader diameters. Each exercise comes with information regarding their capability; manufacturers should have this info on their product. Ensure to always lookout for this.

The Power of The Drill

Some materials tend to be more challenging than others. In this regard, you need a drill with a work-power that matches the material or materials in question. With a powerful exercise, you can drill through hard materials like concrete quickly. Also, the drill power affects the drill speed. For hard materials such as metals and the likes, you need a well-regulated rate. Drilling hard materials such as a metal at a very high speed can damage your drill bit. In this regard, we advise that you use a drill with speed control.

The Drill’s Battery Voltage

If you’re looking to use the cordless drill, you need to pay attention to the battery voltage. The more powerful the voltage, the more efficient your training will be.

Why Do You Need a Hole Saw’s Pilot Bit?

As the name implies, a pilot bit guides the hole saw to the area that needs drilling. It also ensures that the hole saw stays on course until you finish creating a hole. In simple terms, a pilot bit functions as an anchor that holds the hole saw, keeping it from wobbling during the drilling/cutting process.

Why is a Hole Saw’s Pilot Bit So Important?

The pilot bit plays a critical role in ensuring that the bit stays firm using a hole saw. It prevents the hole saw from spinning and wobbling over the objects you want to saw through. Without it, you might accidentally gouge the surface of your item instead of having a neat, round penetration cut. When you sink the pilot bit, it guides the hole saw in anchoring itself, enabling the saw’s stability even before the operation starts.

Section 3 How to Use a Hole Saw?

Hole saws are very efficient tools. However, you may be having a hard time figuring your way around it, and that’s okay. We’ll be looking at the step-by-step procedures on how you can effectively use a hole saw.

Before we begin, let’s look at the few components of a hole saw. A hole saw consists of a saw blade and an arbor. The arbor acts as the base to the spot saw, and it’s the part that fits into the drill directly. Now that we know this, let’s begin.

Figure 4- A Hole Saw Attached to a Hand-held Drill
A Hole Saw Attached to a Hand-held Drill

3.1 Choose the Right Type of Hole Saw and Hole Saw Arbor

Here, we really can’t’ t overemphasize that the material you’re looking to cut or drill should inform your choice of the hole saw, and hole saw arbor. It would be best to note the hole sizes you intend to cut/drill. If you frequently cut hard materials like metal or concrete, you should select a powerful hole saw to delve into these materials seamlessly. Plus, hard materials like metal also necessitates lubricants as you’ll need to seam to ease friction and have a smooth drilling process.

For detachable arbors, please try to choose a gazebo that fits your hole saw. Arbors come in two types – one for small gaps (14mm – 30mm) and one for large holes (32mm – 210mm). Besides, you want to have an arbor that will fit into either a ½ or 3/8 chuck, depending on your power drill’s specification or requirement.

3.2 Attach the Hole Saw to Drill.

3.2.1 Insert the Arbor into the Power Drill

Proceed to insert the arbor via the back of the hole saw, ensuring that the power drill grips it firmly. A firm grip prevents any wobbly movement when the hole saw is in use.

3.2.2 Attach the Hole Saw

Now, screw the hole saw into the arbor’s thread, ensuring it fits in tightly. If the drill bit happens to be adjustable, allow it to protrude past the hole saw blades by approximately 3/8 inch and tighten it again via the set screw. The reason for this protrusion is so that you can bore your pilot hole without hassles.

3.2.3 Tighten the Hole Saw Attachment

Yes, we seem to be quite stuck on tightening because it’s better to be safe than sorry. Take the extra step of drawing your hole saw onto the arbor. This additional tightening will prevent it from coming off during a drill operation. Wobbly movements from the spot saw when drilling could damage the material, and we don’t’ t want this.

3.2.4 Insert arbor into the Chuck and Tighten

Here, you’ll fit the end of the arbor into the drill’s chuck. If you’re using a cordless drill, it should, at least, have an 18-volt battery as anything less might not produce the torque you require. An 18-voltage-powered exercise allows you to use your hole saw effectively. After you’ve confirmed this, tighten the chuck and ensure that it holds onto the arbor securely.

3.3 Drill Pilot Hole

Proceed to drill a pilot hole in the center of the spot you want to cut out. The pilot hole serves as a guide to ensure that the hole saw is steady and anchored. While drilling, try to maintain a drill bit level. Plus, if your material is free-standing, you should anchor it onto something, so the hole saw doesn’t cause it to spin.

3.4 Take Some Safety Measures

Before you start the actual drilling, take a final look at everything you’ll need during the drilling process. Tighten loose ends and fix whatnots. You also want to ensure that you have a lubricant by your side.

3.5 Align the Drill Bit in the Pilot’s Hole and Start Drilling

Position the drill bit’s tip into the pilot’s hole. It will keep the spot saw steady and stop it from wobbling. When you begin drilling, the teeth of your hole saw should come in contact with your workpiece evenly. If you’re cutting a rigid material such as metal, endeavor to add a few drops of lubricant to the hole saw’s blade to ease friction.

Start drilling at a low speed and increase as you push the saw into your workpiece while making sure you’re maintaining the drill bit level. Within intervals, slow down and remove the saw from the hole to clear out chippings and pent up sawdust. It will also keep the blade from overheating.

3.6 Removing Plugs

It is one of the challenging phases in drilling, as most people find it difficult to dislodge a plug (mostly wood) from the hole saw. Well, if you’re using a spot saw that has a plug ejecting feature, you don’t’ t need to worry as the pin will come off quickly. On the other hand, if your hole saw doesn’t’ t have this feature, you can use a slotted screwdriver to dislodge the plug. Using a slotted screwdriver can be somewhat tedious as it requires a considerable amount of workforce.

3.7 Can I use a Hole Saw with a Battery or Cordless Drill?

While corded drills might allow you to outsource electrical voltage to power your training, a cordless drill will enable you to work seamlessly. It is because of its mobility. However, if you have to use a cordless or battery-powered drill, ensure it has a battery voltage of at least 18-voltage power. Anything below the 18-voltage power will cause your routine to underperform, resulting in a poorly-done project.

Section 4 How can I use a Hole Saw to Enlarge an Existing Hole?

Drilling a fresh hole requires less effort than enlarging an existing hole. When preparing a new spot, your pivot bit serves as an anchor that allows you to hold your workpiece in place and drill evenly. However, it’s quite different when you’re looking to enlarge an existing hole as there is no place to fix your pivot bit. So, how do we enlarge an existing hole? Let’s find out in the subsequent paragraphs.

Figure 5 – A Large Diameter Hole Saw and A Concrete Plug
A Large Diameter Hole Saw and A Concrete Plug

First off, you mark the existing hole with some horizontal and vertical lines. These lines will represent the center of the existing hole. After you’ve drawn the lines, place a scrap piece of plywood over the existing hole, and transfer the center lines to the plywood. Once the plywood is steady, fix your pilot bit on the intersection of both center lines and drill through the plywood and then onto your workpiece.

Another way to enlarge an existing hole is by fixing two hole saws onto the arbor. To do this effectively, you need a smaller hole saw (one with the same diameter as the existing hole). A more massive hole saw (one that has a similar diameter of the new hole you’re about to drill).

You should fix the smaller hole saw inside the large one. So, when you start drilling, the smaller hole saw will easily slide through the existing hole, and the large outer hole saw will hit a new spot. However, you should note that not all arbors allow two hole saws, endeavor to verify this before attaching two holes onto a single pavilion.

Section 5 How to Drill Tap Holes Through Acrylic or Metal Baths and Basins

Using hole saws to drill through wood materials is easy. The same is true for hard materials such as acrylic and metal baths. But you will need a different method, which we will study.

Advisably, you should always have cutting oil around when drilling metal, as this helps to reduce friction and offer the necessary lubrication. When there is a reduction in conflict, the hole saw will run as it will be cold. Besides, cutting oil keeps the flush metal chips from the kerf. Invariably, this allows the teeth of the saw to slide through your hard material seamlessly.

Alternatively, if you can’t stop at intervals to apply oil while using your hole saws, get a sponge and cut it into the exact shape of your hole saw. Once you’ve done this, soak the sponge with cutting oil and let it absorb evenly. After this, put the sponge inside your hole saw. While you drill the metal, the sponge supplies the oil making your work relatively seamless. Note that you should prepare cast iron without any lubricant as it needs none.

Section 6 How can I Prevent my Hole Saw from becoming Clogged with Dust?

As we said earlier, having a lubricant around is one of the best ways to reduce friction and sawdust formation. Ideally, sawdust comes from overheating and excess friction. One subtle and effective way to douse this problem is by slowing down and retracting your hole saw now and then while drilling. It allows the saw to cool off and the debris to the spin-off. However, if your drilling project calls for a more robust approach, you can try the trick below.

Once you drill the pilot hole for your cut, score the wood’s surface lightly with your hole saws. After scratching the surface, drill 1/4 inch holes within the scoreline’s inner markings, spacing them closely around the perimeter. Ensure that you hit the spots entirely through your workpiece. At this juncture, you can resume drilling with the hole saw and worry less about the sawdust. The sawdust will automatically escape via the ventilation holes as you drill.

Figure 6 – A handyman Drilling A Wooden Plank
A handyman Drilling A Wooden Plank

Section 7 What do I need to Pay Attention to When using a Hole Saw?

There are some specific tips you need to pay attention to when using hole saws. For the sake of precision, we’ll be looking at three separate tips that can come in handy.

7.1 Preventing A Blowout

Trying to pull out your hole saws from a cut can blow out the back of your workpiece. If you intend to blast holes through walls or floor joists, a blowout shouldn’t’ t be an issue. However, if you’re sawing through finished surfaces such as doors or slabs, a blowout can pose a serious concern. So, how can you avoid encountering a blowout while sawing through surfaces?

Fortunately, you can avoid a blowout by harnessing two approaches. First, you can place a scrap wood behind your workpiece and saw into it. Secondly, you can saw halfway through from either of the ends and complete it by drilling through the other side of the workpiece.

7.2 How to Avoid Wood-burning when using a Hole Saw?

The best way to avoid burning your wood during a drilling project is by ensuring you have an effective lubricant. Drilling with cutting oil reduces friction and stops your hole saw from overheating.

7.3 What to do When Drilling Large-diameter Holes

Yes, drilling large diameter holes can be quite daunting as it weakens the wrist, drill motor, and hole saw. Instead of trying to hit a large-diameter home at once, you can harness an effortless technique.

This technique involves drilling several stress-relief holes within the cut perimeter. You can begin by drilling a 1/8 inch deep, circular hole on the workpiece with your hole saw. After this, change the drill bit to a 3/16 inch diameter one. Use this drill bit to create several spots that are close to each other.

Endeavor to drill these holes around the initial 1/8 inch circular hole. Once you finish this, return to the hole saw and complete the sawing. You’ll discover that the 3/16 inch diameter holes will reduce the strain and stress during the drilling process.

Final Thoughts

With the tips we’ve discussed above, you should have no issue when it comes to using a hole saw. You can also use the buying guides shared in this article to choose the right hole saw for your project. However, if you need further assistance in selecting the right spot saw, feel free to reach out to us. We will be glad to guide and provide the necessary support for you.

Table Saw Blade – Choose the Right Table Saw Blade for Your Project

Table Saw Blade – How to Choose a Circular Saw Blade

Table saw blade vary in size, type, and other features. Whether you are a newbie or expert in using these tools, picking a suitable unit for your project is crucial. However, that is not always an easy task.

In this article, we are focusing on how to choose the best table saw blade for your upcoming project. You will learn all the basics about blade types, tooth configuration, and other relevant features to consider during the selection process.

Section 1 Why Do You Need a Table Saw Blade?

A table saw blade is a sharp blade that you mount on a table saw. This tool usually utilizes an electric motor to operate, and its strength can go up to 3HP or higher. The blade is the cutting portion of this tool, and the operators use it on different materials. That includes wood, plastics, laminates, and other applications.

The working process is simple – once you mount the blade to the tool safely, you activate it. It is critical to wear safety equipment, including goggles and clothes. After turning on the device, you start cutting the desired workpiece. The blade protrudes the top of the table and cuts the material.

As for the major components of a saw blade, those include:

Teeth – these are the actual cutting components of the tool. Teeth come in different configurations, but the critical thing to note is that they should be sharp.

Arbor hole – you will notice the hole in the middle of the blade. That is the arbor hole, and the vital thing is to size them correctly. That can affect mounting the blade and its operation. The general rule is that the arbor hole is from 5/8” to 1” thick.
Gullet – these are the swoops the manufacturer cuts out in front of the teeth. The idea is to ensure to remove any chips and dust from the working area.

Plate – it is the name for the entire base construction of a blade. Plate width can vary, and you should choose it depending on the application and the tool.

Table saw blades can have a different diameter. The primary consideration is that the diameter fits both the tool and the desired application.

Section 2 What Do I Need to Know About Blade Tooth Options?

A Table Circular Saw Blade on a Wooden Background
Caption: A Table Circular Saw Blade on a Wooden Background

During the process of choosing a table saw blades, it is essential to consider blade tooth configuration. As for the tooth count, it can vary significantly. The standard is somewhere among 40-50 teeth, but you can also find models with less than 30 and more than 70 teeth.

2.1 Beveled Teeth

The primary purpose of using beveled teeth is to achieve a clean and fast cut. These blades are characteristic because teeth alternate left and right. They feature a different angle range, which contributes to speeding up the cut while keeping it clean.
It is worth noting that there is a difference between positive and negative hook angles. If the teeth lean forward, you got a positive angle and a faster speed of the cut. On the other hand, a negative hook angle indicates backward-facing teeth. That is great if you are looking to achieve better precision, and you don’t mind cutting a bit slower.

2.2 Flat-Topped Teeth

Your table saw blade might also feature flat-topped teeth. They often work in combination with beveled teeth for optimal results. If you are using a combination blade, the beveled teeth will cut, and the flat-topped units will have the task of clearing any waste left behind them.

If you use a ripping blade, flat-topped teeth can come in handy for efficient stock removal. That will optimize and speed up the entire cutting process. The important thing to note here is that additional teeth do not necessarily make the blade perform better. It is all about finding the most suitable choice for your tool and the application.

2.3 Triple-Chip Teeth

The next tooth shape we will present is the triple-chip one. If we want to explain it better, we can say triple-chip is usually thicker than the sharp beveled teeth, which is why it takes smaller bites. That means these are not as pointy as beveled teeth, but they still have the required sharpness for many tasks.

Triple-chip teeth are suitable for cutting any materials prone to chipping. That is why suitable applications include laminates, melamine, metal, plastics, but also solid surfaces. Their main purpose is to help to achieve a precise cross-cutting process every time you use it.

Section 3 What Is the Role of the Gullet?

If you take a closer look at a single tool on your blade, you will find some room in the front. That gap is the gullet, and its purpose is chip removal. While you are cutting, you will remove some material, and the particles will start flying everywhere. The gullet’s task is to ensure that there are no particles that remain in the working area. It ensures they can’t disrupt the working process.

If you are planning a cross-cutting project, you don’t need a large gullet. The rate is not that fast, which is why a small blade is enough. However, ripping projects require a large gullet. That is because it needs to handle more material and a faster feed rate. That is why you should find a deep gullet for your ripping project.

Section 5 Basic Types of a Table Saw Blade

Types of the Table Saw Blades
Caption: Types of the Table Saw Blades

If you came across a table saw cutting blade, you might have noticed abbreviations on it. These might be unknown if you are a beginner, but they are crucial when choosing the right blade.

Some acronyms describe the type of tool. Find out the key feature of each below!

5.1 Flat Top Grind (FTG)

You will often find these under the FTG acronym, but some people also call it “rakers.” The critical thing about this table saw blade is that its edges are square to the plate.

As for the performance, a suitable explanation is that they perform similar to a chisel. For example, if you are cutting a wooden application, it will act as a chisel as soon as it touches.

Most people use these blades for cutting along the drain. That makes them suitable for a table saw rip blade. A flat-top grind might not provide the cleanest possible cut, especially when compared to other types.

5.2 Alternate Top Bevel (ATB)

Another common type of table saw blades is the alternate top bevel or ATB. As the word suggests, you will find that teeth are at different angles. The manufacturers usually alternate them, and the purpose is to achieve the shearing action.

That is the critical difference compared to the flat top grind. It chops the material, while the ATB shears it. It makes these tools a great choice for wood and any other application that requires a shearing action. If you want to maximize the shearing, aim for steeper bevels. However, please note that these tools go dull quickly, which means you might need a table saw blade sharpening sooner than usual.

5.3 Combination (ATBR)

The confusion about combination blades is because of their acronym ATBR. You will rarely find that it says “combination” on the tool because the abbreviation describes this type.

TBR stands for “alternate top bevel/raker.” That indicates this tool is a combination of the previous two, although the manufacturer has a usual setup. You will find that all teeth come in five groups – a single flat-top tool follows four ATB teeth. Another critical thing to note is that the gullet between the groups is bigger than usual. The idea is to achieve the best possible performance – the raker does the cutting, and the other four teeth remove any waste behind it.

5.4 Triple-Chip Grind (TCG)

The fourth table saw blade type we will mention is the triple-chip grind. These combine “trapeze” teeth that are high and “raker” teeth, and the ultimate goal is the capability of cutting tough materials. Those materials can include strong plastics, MDF, and laminates. Even if you are cutting non-ferrous metal, you can trust the TCG blade to do the job right.

As for the working process, it is similar to the combination blade. The chamfered tooth cuts the material, and the other does the cleaning. It is worth noting that triple-chip grind blades have better durability than alternate top bevels (ATB), especially if using them on hard applications.

Section 6 How to Choose a Table Saw Blade According to the Cutting Material

Man Cuts Wood on a Circular Saw
Caption: Man Cuts Wood on a Circular Saw

The next thing to consider when picking the best table saw blade is the cutting material. You will find that the task you want to perform is also important for choosing the right tool.

Take a look at these suggestions that will help you pick the right unit for the desired job.

6.1 Ripping Saw Blades

Let’s say that you have a wooden board that you want to divide into two pieces, and you want to do it quickly. Using a flat top grind blade is the best choice because it is the fastest option you have. The precision won’t be optimal, and the cut won’t be the cleanest possible, but it will do the job efficiently.

Are you cutting hardwood? If the material is tougher than usual, you might need to go with at least 40 teeth in the configuration. For softer materials, even a 24-tooth FTG will do. As long as you pick a top-quality table saw blade, you might not even need any sanding to achieve a satisfying finish.

6.2 Crosscutting Saw Blades

If you are planning on performing cross-cutting projects, you can go with alternate top bevel teeth. We mentioned that their primary task is shearing, and that will come into play here.

The general rule for cross-cutting is that you need to find an ATB blade with many teeth. The lowest you should go for is 60, but don’t hesitate to use a 100-tooth option if you have one. Thanks to those teeth, you can achieve a smooth cross-cut that will exceed all your expectations.

If you plan on performing both ripping and cross-cutting, go for an ATBR blade. That combination will ensure that you don’t have to switch the blades back and forth while operating.

6.3 Sheet Goods Saw Blades

The first thing to clarify is what sheet goods are. Those can be plastic laminates, hardboards, MDF, melamine, particleboards, and plywood. Now, the choice will depend on the exact workpiece you plan to cut.

For example, you should be careful when cutting plywood because it is prone to tearing. That is why a combination or alternate top bevel blade is the right choice. If you are cutting across face veneers and seem delicate, make sure that the blade has 80 teeth.

ATB blades are suitable for dense applications like a hardboard, MDF, or melamine. On the other hand, a plastic laminate might be more suitable for a triple-chip grind. That is particularly true because it will do a good job and last for a long time without requiring sharpening.

6.4 Thin Kerf Saw Blades

If we are talking about a thin kerf table saw blades, that means their thickness should be 3/32″ or as close to that as possible. These are thin, which means they won’t cut as much wood on a single pass. That is why your table saw won’t have to use its motor to the max, which is excellent for preserving the tool.

You might not have a strong table saw, which is another reason you should look for a thin kerf blade. As long as you find the blade of optimal thickness, even a compact-sized and underpowered tool can cut hard materials.

Section 7 Is the Saw Blade with More Teeth Better?

Teeth on the Saw Blade
Caption: Teeth on the Saw Blade

This rule doesn’t apply when choosing a table saw blade. The best number of teeth is the one that fits your application correctly.

If you ask the experts, they will say the blades’ standard size is between 40 and 50 teeth. Now, if you want to rip solid wood, the best choice might be a 24-tooth flat top grind blade. On the other hand, plastics and non-ferrous metals are most suitable for an 80-tooth triple chip grind. So this is the whole reason what you want to do with the blade and not the number of teeth.

It is far more critical to discuss the quality of the saw blade teeth. You want the teeth to have thick carbide tips. Additionally, check if the manufacturer fused them to the plate. Carbide tips can be of different quality, but how you operate the tool will also affect when the teeth go dull.

Section 8 Will the Cutting Kerf Width, Affect the Operation of the Saw Blade?

Yes, you will find that the kerf width is capable of affecting the operation. Each table saw blade comes with a slot that the blade saws into the application. Users talk about that slot under the name “kerf,” and you will find both thin and full-kerf options.

You will find that a standard kerf features a 1/8″ slot, which is why you should use them on tools with at least 3HP. Some devices don’t have a motor that strong. If it is under 3HP in your table saw, go with a thinner kerf that cuts a slotless than 1/8.”
A thinner kerf means more vibration, which is why you should consider using an accessory to dampen the vibration. Additionally, it might require some experience to achieve stability and the desired cut results.


A table saw a blade is a versatile tool capable of performing different tasks. However, choosing a suitable unit is imperative for doing every job right.

You can pick between different saw blade types and consider various tooth configurations. The cutting material also plays a role when choosing the right tool.

If you are looking for a top-quality table saw blade, NCCuttingTools can make them for you. Our company has the equipment, skills, and experience required to meet anyone’s needs related to the cutting tools. Give us a call to talk about your requirements and discover why we’ve been users’ favorite for years!


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