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September 19, 2008

Helpful Hints from joeeze: How to drill a perfect hole


Frank Joy, writing in issue 15 of MAKE magazine: "If you really want to drill that hole with no tear-out, use a brad point or bullet point drill bit. Then, carefully locate the hole and run the drill at high speed backward, until it scuffs down through the first layers of surface wood fibers and burnishes a shallow hole. Then you can proceed to drill in the usual manner without risk of tear-out."

Two other techniques are described here, and follow.

    Drill perfect holes in wood with no tear-out

    For drilling holes in wood with no tear-out, here are two possible methods: For fine woodworking applications use a backer board. Clamp the workpiece and the backer board together. Next, select a good-quality bit with a starting point and side cutters, such as a Forstner or brad point bit. Forstners and brad points drill more precise holes than standard twist drill bits. The bit treats the two clamped pieces of wood as a single piece; as the drill bit passes through the workpiece and into the backer board you won’t get tear-out on the workpiece. For applications where a precise hole is not required, use a spade bit to drill the hole. When you’ve just about pierced the backside, stop and flip the workpiece over. Use the hole pierced through the backside of the workpiece as a centering guide, and finish the hole from the backside.

September 19, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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A variation on the second method: drill a small pilot hole all the way through and use it to center the larger bit. Then, instead of worrying you might accidentally break through before reaching the point shown in the picture, you can stop at any time and drill from the other side.

Posted by: Al Christensen | Sep 19, 2008 11:08:06 AM

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