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How To Drill Large Deep Holes In Wood (10 Easy-To-Follow Steps)

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Did you know that drilling large holes in wood is an important step in wood joinery? Well, now you know. Either you want to make a ladder, a wooden chair, a shelf, or any piece of furniture, you can’t escape making holes of different sizes in wood.

The big question now is “how to drill large deep holes in wood” This article will answer this question by teaching the most efficient and easy method of drilling clean large holes into wood. So, let’s get to it.

What is drilling?

Drilling is a method of cutting or making holes into wood, plastic, metal, and other materials. This process involves using a drill or other tools to make holes ranging in sizes into solid materials. Drilling is largely used in construction work of various sorts.

Why do people drill holes in wood?

People make holes in wood for various reasons. Some of the most common reasons include:

  • To make a pocket space for another wood. For instance, when making a ladder or a rocking chair, woodworkers drill holes in wood to join two or more lumbers together.
  • To create space. Homeowners also drill holes in wood during a renovation task to create space for hanging objects.

There are different reasons for, and many methods of drilling wood. However, when it comes to making large holes, nothing comes close to the hole saw.

What is a hole saw?

There are many methods of drilling holes in wood, but the hole saw beats virtually every other method. The saw is capable of making large holes in wood within seconds.

The saw has two main parts. These are the hole saw itself which is a metallic cylindrical-shaped cup with sharp teeth and a mandrel that guides and holds the hole saw firmly in place.

The hole saw like most other saws also use a spinning mechanism to make holes. The hole saw also comes in different sizes, so make sure to get a size that will fit your task perfectly.

Tools needed to make large holes in wood

You will need the following tools to effectively make large holes in your wood.

  • A hole saw. Pick out a hole saw with the preferred size for your task.
  • A mandrel or pilot drill. When you go to buy a hole saw, you should also buy or rent a mandrel that will fit into your hole saw perfectly. Most hole saws are sold with a set that includes additional blades that vary in sizes, a mandrel, and other components you may need with the hole saw.
  • A pair of leather gloves.
  • A drawing compass and a pencil.
  • A clamp.
  • The wood you want to work on.
  • Goggles.
  • A dust mask.
  • A lubricant.

A power drill. Any of the “BLACK+DECKER” battery-operated power drills is highly recommended. Just make sure it is one that can house the mandrel perfectly.

How To Drill Large Deep Holes In Wood

Making large holes in wood is a fairly easy task as long as you are using the correct tools and you follow the steps below.

Put on your safety gear

When drilling, accidents can occur at anytime causing injuries. Put on a pair of gloves, a dust mask, and goggles. The gloves prevent your fingers from cuts and bruises.

The dust mask prevents you from inhaling sawdust and the goggles prevent your eyes from dust and flying debris. Injuries from using a hole saw are rare but you still need to protect yourself.

Lubricate the mandrel, hole saw, and the drill’s chuck

These parts are unarguably the most important parts of the entire power tool. They are largely made of metal and they move against each other. So, apply a lubricant to these parts before fixing them together. This will ensure smooth movement during tasks.

Fix in the mandrel into the hole saw

Most mandrels that are used with the hole saw are usually spring operated. Gently pull back the drive pins on the mandrel, screw the mandrel into the hole saw and release the drive pins. If this is done correctly, the drive pins would automatically fit into the holes on the back of the hole saw.

Slot in the hole saw and mandrel into the drill’s chuck

When you have firmly fixed the mandrel and the hole saw together, slot it into the drill’s chuck. The part of the mandrel that goes into the drill looks like a pole. Most drill chucks require the user to simply twist or turn the chuck, fix in the bottom end of the mandrel and twist it back to its original position to lock in the hole saw and mandrel.

Power up your drill

If your drill is electrically powered. You want to ensure the drill’s cord is fixed into the power outlet to generate power for the drill. If your drill is cordless or battery-operated, fix in the battery.

Use a clamp to hold the wood

A clamp is usually a metal that can be screwed or placed on the wood or material you are working on to hold it in place while cutting or drilling.

If you don’t have a clamp, it is advised to put something heavy on the wood or ask someone to help you hold the wood firmly in place. If the wood isn’t firmly held in place, it can vibrate or move around while you are sawing and this will lead to a poorly drilled hole and, or injuries to your body.

Mark out the parts of the wood you want to drill

It is always advised to measure and mark out the points you want to drill. This is a very important step that will guarantee a clean result. Use a drawing compass and pencil to make a circle where you want the hole drilled.

Related Read — Best 10″ Miter Saw

Place the mandrel and hole saw straightly on the wood

Once you have fixed in the mandrel and hole saw into the drill and your drill is switched on, place the drill on the wood. You will notice that the tip of the mandrel or the pilot drill slightly advances more than the hole saw.

This means when you place the hole saw on the wood, it’s the pilot drill that will come in contact with the wood before the hole saw. That is how it’s meant to be, So don’t worry about that. The pilot drill will drill in first when you pull the trigger and serve as a guide to the hole saw to make sure the hole is accurate.

Think of the relationship between the pilot drill and the hole saw as that of the pencil and the compass pin in a drawing compass. The compass pin provides a grip on the paper as you rotate the compass for the pencil to make curves and circles. The mandrel also provides grip and guidance to the hole saw.

Related Read — Best Vertical Bandsaws

Start making the hole

Once you have completed the steps above correctly, start making the hole by pulling the trigger gently. Once you pull the trigger, the pilot drill and the hole saw will start spinning.

The pilot drill will make the first hole with the hole saw making a larger hole after. While sawing, you might notice a kind of rocky or circular movement from the drill.

This is to clear the debris and sawdust out of the hole. Continue drilling until the pilot drill and hole saw come out the other side.

Related Read — Best Tabletop Bandsaw

Remove the wood in your hole saw

Simply put a screwdriver into one of the holes in your hole saw. Use the screwdriver to push out the wood or push it far enough that you can pull it out completely with your hand.

When this is done, you should have a clean and accurately drilled hole of perfect size.

Related Read — Best Battery Miter Saw

Tips and pointers when drilling holes in wood

  • Always start slow. This will ensure you get a smooth and clean finish
  • Hold the wood firmly in place with a clamp or ask for help
  • Mark out the parts of the wood you want to make holes in
  • Hold the drill firmly while you are drilling. A slight hold will lead to a poor result

Related Read — Best Vertical Bandsaws

Safety measures to follow when drilling into a piece of wood

  • Always use your safety gear.
  • Make sure that the pilot drill protrudes beyond the teeth of the hole saw.
  • Ensure the hole saw, mandrel and drill chuck are all properly fixed.
  • Don’t put your hand underneath the wood you are working on.

Related Read — Reciprocating Saw vs Jigsaw 

Follow the steps and precautions above and you would be happy with your result. Let us know if any part of this article proves useful in your task by leaving a comment below. Be sure to check out other interesting posts on this website. Have a wonderful drilling experience.

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We’re a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At thetoolgeeks.com, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

The Tool Geeks Team

We're a team of engineers, contractors, technicians, and woodworking experts who use power tools daily and share fact-based information, tips, and recommendations. At thetoolgeeks.com, we debunk myths about power tools and share methods to use them effectively.

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