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

About Drill bits for wood, Countless projects occur daily across the globe, and they involve the use of 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, in any woodwork, drilling a hole is essential for its success. Factors such as wood type, hole size contribute to the nature of drill bits for woods needed for a task. 

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

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 also drive screws through woods. On the other hand, a driving bit can only drive screws through woods. Below are 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 among all drill bits with varying sizes (diameter and length).

Hole saw- This also makes a large hole, but it 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 rarely used in woodworks. 

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 of 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 key 

A drill bit is the best option to drill wood 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 effectively drill 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 use 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.

With a center punch, you can create an indent at the center of the taped or pencil-marked portion. This indent will help to guide the drill bit as it advances into the wood when drilling commences. Ultimately, 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 proceed to select appropriate drill bits for wood from the available set. Remember that the drilled hole must not be too big either 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 a bit 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 off 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, and these might dislodge the wood boards and cause errors. Thus, there is a need to clamp them when drilling. More so, clamping the boards will allow you to drill with both hands properly. 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 then 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-on the proper safety gears, especially safety goggles.

3.6 Know when to stop.

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

3.7 Achieve a rough pilot hole without a power drill.

In a case where 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. Using a hole saw, you can drill large holes from 19mm up to 57mm. Any hole less in size is a small one 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 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 results during drilling as well. 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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