How To Drill A Hole In Wood? [Proper Guide]

Woodworking and home improvement projects require drilling. Getting the job done perfectly requires drilling a hole perfectly. To make this happen, one must know how to drill a hole in wood perfectly without any damage.

While working on a home improvement project, I realized that there are several times when I need to drill a hole in the wood or the wall. The entire drilling process is simple and does not require much trouble if you know your tools properly.

Getting the process right every time is not easy, but following the perfect steps and avoiding mistakes makes the work easier. So, join me in this guide as I talk about the proper way of drilling a hole in wood along with several other factors.

6 Steps You Should Follow To Drill A Hole In Wood

When drilling a hole in wood, the process is simple and only requires a few minutes. To make the perfect hole, you need to follow a few steps. Here, I am going to present a step-by-step guide on how to drill a hole in wood.

Step 1: Take Proper Measurements

The first step of drilling a hole in wood is to measure the wood correctly. It is essential to take the correct measurements to choose the right tool for drilling a bit to drill the wood.

The use of incorrect or small drill bits will not be able to ensure the precise drill hole in the wood. Not only that, but it will also make the wooden plank or piece go to waste.

Step 2: Choose The Right Drilling Bit

Once you have correctly measured the wood, you will work on it, and now time to choose the right drilling bit. There are quite a few different types of drilling bits available for different types and designs of drill holes. These include auger bit, multi-angle bit, flat wood bit, and many more.

After choosing the type of bit you want, select the length of the bit. Take the width of the wood into consideration and select the bit that is longer than the width. This will ensure that the drilling bit can adequately go through the surface and secure a proper drill hole.

Step 3: Mark The Drill Position

After taking the measurements and choosing the right bit, the next step is marking the drill position properly. Take a small marker or chalk to mark the position on the wood where you want to drill the hole.

This is essential to ensure that you do not drill a hole in an incorrect position. A mistake in positioning the drill hole can significantly impact the entire project.

Step 4: Make A Small Dent On The Wood

Before you put in the drill to make the hole, you must make a small dent in the wood. You can make this dent in the marked position with the help of a nail and hammer.

The reason behind this is that this small dent will allow the drill bit to set onto the wood properly. And this will significantly reduce the risk of accidents during the drilling process.

Step 5: Start Drilling The Hole

The next step is to connect the drilling bit to the drill and set it on the dent you made in the position. Turn the drill on and put it at a low speed to start drilling. Once you have successfully drilled through the top layer of the wood, increase the speed eventually.

Ensure that the bit passes through the wood properly and the hole is complete. Reduce the speed of the drill once the hole is appropriately made.

Step 6: Remove The Drill And Clean

With a slow speed, gently pull the drill out and turn the machine off. Make sure you remove the bit from the wooden piece before turning it off. Otherwise, it will get stuck in the wood.

Once you have successfully removed the drill, it is time to clean the dust properly. Brush the wood properly and get rid of all the wood dust particles to ensure a clean and drilled piece of wood.

Common Mistakes That Often Happens To Drill A Hole In Wood

Drilling a hole in wood is simple, but you must be careful. There are quite a few mistakes that people commonly make when it comes to drilling a hole. Let us talk about some of the most common errors that often occur drilling a hole in wood.

  • Choosing A Wrong Drill Or Drill Bit

When drilling a hole, choosing the right drill and drill bit is essential to ensure a satisfactory result. Selecting the wrong drill or drill bit will significantly impact your work and often make it go to waste.

Pick the right bit depending on the wood you are using and the hole you want to make. Also, go for cordless drills if you frequently work with drill machines.

  • Picking A Blunt Drill Bit

A common mistake is that people often pick a drill bit with a blunt edge. Even though the sharp edge will still work and drill a hole into the wood, it can easily ruin the project for you.

This is because the blunt drill bit will not be able to cut or drill through the wood efficiently. Make sure you choose a drill bit with a sharp edge to ensure a clean experience.

  • Starting With A High Speed

Drilling at high speed is also a common mistake because it will put immense pressure on the wood. Not only that, but it can also cause harm to the drill bit, causing it to lose its sharpness and ruin the wood. Make sure you always start drilling with a low speed and eventually increase the speed as you drill the hole into the wood.

  • Turning The Drill Off Before Removing The Bit

After drilling a hole in the wood, we often turn off the drill before removing the bit entirely from the wood. This prevents us from removing the bit from the wood and getting stuck inside the hole. Not only that, but it can also cause the drill bit to break or get damaged.

Before removing the bit, adjust the speed to a low setting and gently remove the drill. Make sure that you turn off the drill once you have successfully taken it out of the wood.

  • Setting The Reverse Function

Most drill machines today come with a reverse function. This function is typically used to ensure that you can easily remove stuck screws from walls or other surfaces. Using the reverse function to drill a hole will ruin the wood and affect the bits’ durability.

Before you start drilling, turn on the drill and ensure it is rotating in the right direction. Drill bits usually rotate to the right in the normal drilling mode so ensure this before drilling a hole in wood.

Tips That Will Help You To Drill A Hole In Wood Perfectly: Must Read

Tip-1: Choose Your Drill & Bit Wisely

First, you will need a corded or cordless drill that can work without interrupting the process. You need to clamp it to the base made from wood. Let’s consider holes of 1/8 inches diameter for this example. You can very well consider any other diameter instead. 

You will also need some heavy-duty drill bits for this process. You’ll require two bits for the necessary diameter, one 6 inches, and the other 12 inches. Make sure the drill is meant to make straight holes.

There should be no bow or curve involved with it. Picking the right bit can be stressful, and you may have to pay multiple visits to buy the perfect one. But that’s the whole point of getting good straight holes by the end of this project.

Tip-2: Time to Set the Jig

Usually, the setup for jig is temporary. In most cases, these are pretty simple to set up and take down. You can start with a plywood piece around 16 by 30 inches. Any other slightly different dimension will also work.

You can use any piece that’s already laying around your home for the base. The size can be random depending on what you’re going for. Now clamp it onto a portable table. A 2 by the 4-foot table is ideal for this.

Now you need to turn upside down the drill and clamp it securely with plywood. Use appropriate length blocks for each side so that there’s enough stability going around. The blocks will next be clamped to the table.

You should check the levels from every possible direction. If there’s a need, then go ahead and make some adjustments. The clamp positioning should not be just for good stability. It also needs to let drill battery changing get done easily without dissembling the setup when necessary.

Tip-3: Fixing the Dowel Securely

To guide the dowel that you are drilling, use a channel. You can simply cut down a “v” in a length of wood. A table saw, or any similar approach is alright for making this. If there’s any leftover bullnose or stair nose stock from your previous projects, this can also work just fine for it.

You need a board with the appropriate length for screwing the bullnose upside down. A six inches board will work best here. Next, clamp the board to plywood. This needs to be in the required height, and make sure you maintain the relationship with your drill bit.

The dowel’s center area needs a similar height to your used drill bit. It also needs to be parallel with a drill. Using some tiny shims for board positioning here can help you. Make minor adjustments with clamps holding board if necessary to get the perfect alignment.

Tip-4: Start Drilling

It’s time for the drilling session. Create a 1/8 inches hole through a 14 inches length piece. Start by deciding on both ends’ center point. You may think that going for a couple of trials with a minor bit, probably the 1/16”, will work fine here.

Some even plan on switching to 1/8” in their mind while doing so. Thinking that this will help to make the hole bigger easily. However, this can turn out to be a complete failure for a few reasons.

You may end up exiting through the dowel’s other end when switched to big bit before reaching the end. So, the best plan is to stick with one diameter for the entire process.

Let’s throw an example situation for you to understand better. Consider using a regular 1/8 inches drill bit for normal drilling. Start creating three inch long hole with it that stays as straight as possible.

After that, you can change to a six-inch-long drill bit. While doing so, you should focus hard on not getting off track. As soon as you are almost by the end of the 6-inch bit, switch it with a 12-inch one. You need to recheck the level, and you’re parallel enough with stock and bit.

You also need to take your time to stop in-between and clear away sawdust. This will help you a lot. In some cases, with a certain length of dowel, clearing sawdust is a must. And that’s because it’s quite necessary to make drilling from each end of the dowel actually meet on center.

Someone using a corded drill will need a helping hand to turn the machine on and off. If it’s possible to use a cordless version, then you are good to go for this process all alone. You can also purchase a foot treadle if possible. Those that are used with a sewing machine. This will help give you better control of the drill if there’s no one to help.

Tip-5: Tricks to Drill Super Straight

If you want to drill the perfect perpendicular holes onto wood, there are a few fantastic hacks that can help.

The first one will need any old CD that might be laying around your house. You need to place it over your working piece and put the label side down. It needs to be centering on the spot where the hole must be set the bit into this disc hole. 

You need to maintain the position of the drill in a way that it stays in a straight line with its reflection. And this will help you create super straight holes. It does need some practice to become perfect, though.

After that, combine a couple of 1×2 scrap pieces. This is for forming a right angle. Make sure it is truly square, or else the hack won’t work. Now on the corner of the jig, you need to place your drill bit tightly. Go ahead and bore the hole.

Using a guide attachment, you can easily turn your hand drill into an easier-to-function portable drill press. You’ll be able to set the hole depth with this, and straighter drilling will be possible. Also, it’s possible to adjust the attach angle with it. You can simply pack it inside your toolbox on the go as well.

Related Questions

What Drill Bit Do You Use To Drill A Hole In Wood?

Many different types of drill bits can be used to drill a hole in wood. But the best drill bit that professionals and DIY experts prefer is the spade bit, also known as the paddle bit. The specialty of this bit is that it has a pointy edge that ensures a stable grip on the wood.  

In addition to that, the flattened portion ensures a smooth hole. Not only that, but a flat wood bit or a multi-angle bit also ensures that the drilling is comfortable and accurate. However, it typically depends on the type of hole and material on which you are drilling.

How Do You Drill A Hole In Wood By Hand?

Drilling a hole in wood by hand is not the most straightforward job and often does not provide accurate results. However, there are ways in which you can drill a hole in the wood with the help of your hand. 

Make a small dent with a nail and hammer in the required position. Take a hand file, and a jab saw to slowly remove the internal layers of wood and make sure that you work within your marking. Continue making a hole until you reach the other end of the wooden piece and smooth it out properly.

How Do You Drill A Hole In Wood Without A Drill?

The easiest way of drilling a hole in wood is to use a drill. However, if you do not have access to a drill, there are other ways of drilling a hole in wood. You can either rely on a small hand drill for drilling or depend on a complete DIY method.

Mark the position of the hole and the required diameter. Use a hand file, and jab saw to get into the wood and make sure that you properly drill the hole in the wood. However, make sure that you work within the required diameter.

Can You Use A Screwdriver Instead Of A Drill?

If you do not have access to a drill, then a screwdriver works as a proper replacement. Several different types of screwdrivers available in the market come with varying torque settings. These often come with a flat end or an end that is suitable for drilling.

In addition to that, you can also rely on a normal screwdriver. Make sure you pick one with a sharpened flat end to drill a hole in wood effortlessly.


Now that we have reached the end of the guide, I hope you are now aware of the steps on how to drill a hole in wood properly. Follow these steps carefully to ensure a properly drilled hole without any damage.

In addition to that, make sure that you focus on the common mistakes and avoid them while drilling a hole in wood. This will make the work easier for you and prevent the wood from getting damaged. 

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