Tip: Drilling Tricks

Drilling Straight

Making straight holes with a hand-held drill can be tricky, but here’s an effective method that I’ve been using. It works well with Forstner bit, brad point bits, spade bits and hole saws.

Line up the point of the bit with the centre of the hole you need to drill and start drilling, but with only enough pressure to make a slight cut at the outside edge of the bit:

Start drilling.
Observe the cut.

If the circle is like the one above, and not a semicircle, you are drilling straight – the bit will only make this complete circle if it’s 90 degrees to the work.
It takes some practice but after a while, it becomes second nature.
Once you see that you have it straight, try and maintain that same angle while holding the drill.

Same applies to a spade bits and brad point bits:

Spade bit.
Look at the cut.

Drilling Holes Oversize

Occasionally we need to make a hole larger, but without material to guide the centre of the bit it becomes a problem. Here’s a solution.
Say you’ve drilled a 1/2″ hole but you really need a 1″ hole. Drill a 1″ hole through a piece of scrap plywood to use as a guide:

Guide clamped on.

Clamp it on and drill your hole:

Hole is started.
Remove guide and finish hole.

After you’ve gone in part of the way, remove the guide.

This method is especially handy for hole saws:

Guide for hole saw.
Start the cut.
Hole drilled part of the way.
Hole finished.

Good for making a hole larger for a new lock on an old door, for example.