Sometimes woodworking makes us come across a situation that we’ve previously never done before. And messing up because of proper information and know-how is the most painfully regrettable thing ever. Because usually, such scenarios could have been better with just a little bit of finding and approach to learning.
One such common yet confusing chore is drilling long straight holes in wooden dowel. It sounds super simple, but once you try, the difficulty gets unveiled. So, let’s know how to drill long straight holes in wood dowel along with some handy tips that will make the results straightest as you’d like to.
How to Drill Long Straight Holes in Wood Dowel & Some Relevant Tips
Let’s start with the actual process of creating straight holes. After that don’t miss out on the secret tricks towards making these holes perfectly straight, since that’s where people tend to struggle a lot.
Choose Your Drill & Bit Wisely
First of all, you will need a corded or cordless drill that can work without irrupting 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. For the necessary diameter, you’ll require two bits, one of 6 inches and the other of 12 inches. Make sure the drill is meant to make straight holes.
There should be no bow or curve involved with it. Picking right bit can be a bit stressful and you may have to pay multiple visits to buy the perfect one. But that’s whole point of getting good straight holes by the end of this project.
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 that’s around 16 by 30 inches. Any other slightly different dimension will also work.
You can use any piece that is 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 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 table.
You should check the levels form 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.
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 appropriate length next for screwing the bullnose upside down to it. 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 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 drill. Using some tiny shims for board positioning here can help you. To get the very perfect alignment, go ahead and make minor adjustments with clamps holding board if necessary.
It’s time for the drilling session. Create a 1/8 inches hole through a 14 inches length piece. Start by deciding both ends center point. You may think that going for a couple of trials with a smaller bit, probably the 1/16” will work fine here. Some even plan of 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 fail for a few reasons.
You may end up exiting through dowel’s other end when switched to bigger bit before reaching the end. So, best plan is to stick with one diameter for the entire process.
Let’s throw an example situation for you to better understand. Consider using a regular 1/8 inches drill bit for normal drilling. Start creating three inches 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 out of track. As soon as you are almost by the end of 6-inch bit, switch it with a 12 inch one. You need to check the level again and also make sure you’re parallel enough with stock and bit.
You also need to take your time for stopping 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 dowel actually meet on center.
Someone who is using a corded drill will need a helping hand for turning 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 in giving you better control of the drill in case there’s no one to help.
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 make sure to put the label side down. It needs to be centering on spot where the hole needs to be made. Now set the bit into this hole of disc. You need to maintain the position of 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.
You need to nail a couple of 1×2 scrap pieces together. 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 jig, you need to tightly place your drill bit. Go ahead and bore the hole.
Through 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.
And that was all about how to drill long straight holes in wood dowel. The process will feel a bit hard at first, especially if you’re new to such things. But with a little bit of focus and patience, you should be able to get a hang of it. Once you figure out the trick and master it well, there will be zero problems in creating long straight holes. Till then, Don’t Give Up & Keep on Trying.