Drill Bits for Wood – How to Drill a Hole in Wood?


About Drill bits for wood, Countless projects occur daily across the globe and involve various techniques and machines. However, one of the most prominent among these techniques is drilling, whether for metal, wood, plastic, etc.

Most importantly, drilling a hole allows for the use of fasteners. Hence, drilling a hole is essential for its success in any woodwork. Factors such as wood type and hole size contribute to the nature of drill bits for woods needed for a task. 

Consequently, this article will enlighten you on properly drilling a hole in wood

Table of Contents

A drilled hole and bit.

Figure 1: A drilled hole and bit.

Section 1: Which tools can we use between drill bits and driving Bits?

Generally, a drill bit makes a hole and can drive screws through the wood. On the other hand, a driving bit can only drive screws through the wood. Below are a few types of drill and driving bits and their corresponding use:

Drill bits:

Forstner bit- This is perfect for dowels and comes in various sizes.

Spade- This has a center bit that stabilizes it through large-hole drilling.

Countersink- Creates a canonical hole that allows for an effortless flush of screw heads with the wood.

Helical- The most common drill bits with varying sizes (diameter and length).

Hole saw- This also makes a large hole but does not create chips. Instead, the waste ejected is cylindrical. 

A Forstner bit.

Figure 2: A Forstner bit.

Driving bits:

Torx- This has a higher ability to get adequately torqued without the risk of a cam-out. However, it’s not readily available in most markets.

Allen- This is similar to Torx with all its characteristics but is rarely used in woodwork. 

Phillip- This is by far the most versatile driving bit and screw head. It is possible to drive undersized or oversized screws.

More so, you are not likely to experience cam-out (breaking the screw head due to overtightening). 

Robertson- It’s quite rare but also known as a square drive. It does not cam-out and is very easy to use.

Slot- This is the most common driver style, which requires less force to drive but can easily cam out.  

Allen key

Figure 3: Allen’s key 

A drill bit is the best wood-grained option due to its versatility over driving bits. Also, bits are more available and easier to lay hands on than driving bits. 

Section 2: Prepare the tools we need.

Undoubtedly, you will require some tools to drill effectively, and they are as follows:

  • Drill
  • Center punch
  • Tape
  • Pencil

Section 3: How to drill a hole in the wood with drill bits for wood?

Drilling in progress.

Figure 4: Drilling in progress.

3.1 Mark the spot with a pencil or tape before you begin.

Once you have correctly measured the spot you want the hole located on, then you must mark. You can mark with a pencil or tape to make an “X” sign on the spot to drill. 

The use of tape is better because it eliminates the risk of a tear-out when drilling commences. 

3.2 Create an indent that your drill bit can grip.

You can create an indent at the center of the taped or pencil-marked portion with a center punch. This indent will help to guide the drill bit as it advances into the wood when drilling commences.

An indentation prevents the drill bit from slipping off the marked point. 

3.3 Choose the right size drill bit for wood.

It would help if you decided on the depth and diameter of the hole you want before starting to drill. Then you can select appropriate drill bits for wood from the available set.

Remember that the drilled hole must not be too big or too small for the fastener to pass through. Hence, correct sizing is exceptionally vital. 

If the hole is for the nail to pass through, make it smaller than the nail size. On the other hand, if the hole is for screws, make it the same as the screw’s body.

Besides, some charts bear the corresponding drill bits for the wood needed for a particular fastener. It is better to have a smaller hole that allows for expansion than a bigger hole for the fastener.

3.4 Clamp your wood boards to steady them.

When drilling, vibrations will occur, which might dislodge the wood boards and cause errors. Thus, there is a need to clamp them when drilling.

Clamping the boards will allow you to drill properly with both hands. Sometimes, apply some glue to a portion of the boards before clamping.

3.5 Keep your drill bit perpendicular and slowly drill your pilot hole.

Provided you have properly clamped the boards; you can expect a precise perpendicularity of the drill bit. Start drilling at a slow speed via the indent and gradually increase the speed if required.

Also, ensure you have strapped the proper safety gear, especially safety goggles.

3.6 Know when to stop.

As said earlier, you must have determined the hole’s expected depth, which corresponds to the fastener’s. Once you reach the target depth, stop drilling immediately. 

3.7 Achieve a rough pilot hole without a power drill.

If a power drill is not accessible, use a nail to create the hole. Afterward, remove the nail and manually drive in the screw.  

Section 4: How to drill a large hole in wood?

Drilling large holes differ from the usual small holes, which drill bits for wood drills. You can drill large holes from 19mm up to 57mm using a hole saw.

Any hole smaller in size is small, and a regular drill bit can drill such. Unlike drill bits for wood, the hole saw has teeth around its round tube with a pilot bit. 

To drill a large hole with a hole saw, carry out the following steps:

  1. Mount the hole saw on the drill’s arbor bearing in mind the size of the hole you intend to drill. 
  2. Fix the pilot bit on the arbor via its shank and a grub screw to hold it in place.
  3. Ensure that the pilot bit protrudes past the hole saw’s teeth to give stability and accuracy when drilling.
  4. Start and complete your drilling at a low gear and speed setting. 
A hole saw

Figure 5: A hole saw.

Section 5: How to prevent the wood from tearing when drilling?

Majorly tearing occurs on the exit side of the wood when using drill bits for wood. It happens when some wood fiber gets stuck to the bit’s tip, and you pull out.

You can prevent this by using a sacrificial board on the exit side of the primary workpiece.  


Finally, we have demonstrated the crucial steps to use drill bits for wood to make holes. We have outlined other useful tips to help you achieve great drilling results.

NCCuttingtools is a force to reckon with in general and customized cutting tools production and supply. Should you require any assistance or help, do not hesitate to reach out.

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