How To Drill Clean Holes

Drilling into wood, or any other surface, is a skill. Drilling a clean hole, without splintering the wood is an art. The good news is that drilling is an art that can be learned through proper instruction and practice. Here are a few tips you can use to get you started:

  1. Determine what kind of wood you are trying to drill. Most people assume that wood is wood, but there are different types. Wood surfaces generally fall into one of two categories: hard wood and soft wood. Different drilling techniques are required when drilling each type of wood. Hard wood requires more pressure and a sharper bit in order to splintering at bay. Gouging hard wood is not normally a concern since it is difficult to do. Soft woods require much less brute force as the wood can easily become damaged if the drill itself is accidentally pushed against the surface.
  2. Purchase the proper equipment. Depending on the size of the hole you are drilling, you will need to either purchase a drill bit, which come in a variety of makes and sizes, or a hole saw. If you are unsure as to what you need, ask a salesman. It is important that you purchase the correct bit or saw in order to obtain the desired result because you will only get one chance to get it right.
  3. Mark the location of your hole. It is important to know exactly where you will be drilling so that you can inspect the area for any imperfections, like knots, that will affect your cutting. Try to avoid knots, knotholes and any other imperfections as they will all affect the outcome of your hole. The best thing to mark your target with is a permanent marker, unless you will be unable to paint or stain over the mark later. The lines from a permanent marker will be clearly visible, which helps guide your efforts.
  4. Pre-drill. The best way to keep your bit or saw on target and to keep the wood from splintering or binding is to drill a wood screw into the center of the location where you are planning to drill your hole. This gives the bit or hole saw something to grab onto and stabilize itself as it begins cutting the desired hole.
  5. Attach the hole cutting hardware to the drill. Follow the instructions in your drill owner's manual for attaching drill bits and hole saws.
  6. Keep slow and steady pressure on the drill. As you begin drilling, apply slow and steady pressure to keep the drill in place, but let the drill bit or saw do the cutting. Don't force the drill to cut any faster than it is capable of.
  7. Keep the drill running as you pull out. Keep steady pressure on the trigger as you remove the bit or saw from the hole. This keeps the saw from binding in the hole as well as from raking against the backside of the wood surface, gouging it.

Now, practice. Every skill needs practice in order to be perfected. If you employ these tips along with some generous hole drilling practice, you will become the master of drilling perfectly clean holes every time.


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