How To Drill Through Wood?

How To Drill Through Wood Using the Right Drill Bits

If you would like to know how to drill a hole through wood then this article should help you out. I guess the first question that you need to ask yourself is what size of a hole do you want to make?

Now I know that many people may know how to do this, but there are many people who have just never done this before. They will not know how to do this, and they will not know what is available in the UK market.

If you finish reading this article and watch a couple of short videos, you will know a great deal more and be able to visit your DIY store and buy with confidence. All you really need to drill a hole through wood is a good drill and the correct drill bit.

You should also know if you want to drill all the way through the wood or just a part of the way in. It is also useful to know what type of wood you are drilling into, though that is not vital to know.

The video below explains all of this really well. Below that I have then gone into more detail about what you will need, and what some of the better options are.

Selecting the Right Wood Drill Bit

As you can see from the video above picking the right drill bit is the most essential part. There are a number of different type of drill bits, depending on the type of hole that you need to drill. The different types of drill bits are:

  • The most common is the twist drill bit - perfect for smaller holes
  • The brad point drill - for wood only and more accurate drilling
  • The speed drill bit (Spade bit) perfect for larger holes - used in construction
  • Countersink drill bits - allow a neat finish for wood screws
  • Forstner bit - 
  • Speedbor Bits - Used in the building industry and a combination of the twist and spade
  • Auger bit - 

For most people doing DIY around the home you will never need to own or buy all of these. The most popular are the twist drill bit for small holes and the spade bit for the bigger holes. The other are typically used by joiners and carpenters or in the general building and construction industry.

I added them here just so as you would know which are available. There is a 5 minute video below that will help you become almost an instant expert on wood drilling bits.

The Popular Twist Bit for Drilling Wood

These are the drill bits that you will most likely need most often in and around the home and garden. You can buy them as individual bits, but they are more commonly bought in drill bit sets. They are better value to buy them that way.

They are normally good for wood and also for most types of metal. In most cases these types of bits are coated with something to make them stronger and mainly to prevent them from rusting.

The gold coloured bits, that look a lot like brass, are actually coated with titanium nitrade that makes them very tough. This substance protects the cutting surface and makes the bits look like a gold colour.

These are good for drilling a range of different size small holes through wood.

The Brad Point Drill for Drilling Wood

They are easy to identify as they have a very sharp point at the very tip of the bit. You can only use these on wood and any use on metal will damage and ruin the point. 

This is the only type of bit that I use for drilling through wood when I want to make smaller holes. The point means that you can be very precise and accurate on where you want the hole to be.

The point also allows you to start the hole easily, and also makes a really consistent hole the entire way through the wood piece.

A small set of these are not expensive for good quality. Typically you can get 7-8 bits in the most common sizes for under £5.

These are good for drilling very accurate small holes through wood.

The Spade Bit for Drilling Larger Holes in Wood

There will be times when you just need to drill a wider or larger hole through wood or timber. That is when you would use a spade bit. (sometimes called a flat bit)

These will be slightly more expensive than something like a twist or brad drill. A set of 5-6 bits in the most popular sizes will cost about £10-15 depending on the brand and quality you want to have.

I think the best way of describing these is that they get the job done, but they are not pretty to use. They are mainly used in the building and construction industry and almost always on doing rough work.

These are the ones to pick for drilling larger or wider holes through wood.

Countersink Bits for Drilling Wood

There may be times when you need to use what is termed a countersink drill bit. Wood screws tend to have an angled head and as such may not always drive completely flush into a wooden surface. So if you want to have a very neat finish, then it is best to drill a countersunk hole first.

You can then screw in the wood screw to a perfectly formed and shaped hole. There are a few different ways of creating this type of hole, but countersink bits are the most popular choice.

These are also fairly inexpensive and you should be able to pick up a set of 4 or 5 bits for around £5.

These drill bits are ideal for creating countersunk holes in wood.

Forstner Bits for Wood Drilling

It is similar to the brad point in that it has a point. The main difference is that these bits are used for drilling bigger and flatter holes.

More often than not these will be used in a drill press rather than in an ordinary drill. The reason for that is they they do tend to both skip and/or skate.

They come in a variety of sizes and are used for drilling very clean holes with a completely flat bottom. They are used a lot by those who make kitchens and in many wooden toys.

These are not cheap, and if you want good quality then you should expect to pay around £25-30 for something like a 5-piece set. The good news is most people will never need to buy these.

Speedbor Bits for Wood

These are not drill bits that most people will ever have to own or indeed purchase. I guess the clue for these is in the name "speed" and "bore." These bits are intended for quickly drilling larger holes in wood.

As you can see from the image they are very similar to the more popular spade bits shown above. In my opinion they work better but at £5 a bit on average you would expect them to work better.

They are hand for drilling out wood for jobs like door locks, holes for pipes, for use in kitchen and bathroom style work where you need a bigger and cleaner drill hole. I have used this type to drill out holes in external plastic piping as well and they work really well for that as well.

Auger Bits For Wood

These are most commonly used with a hand brace. These are useful as they are pretty good at removing wood from the hole. With the Forstner style bits you usually have to remove the bit, clean out the wood and then put the drill back in.

You don't have to do so with these. if you fancy doing a lot of woodworking these would be a nice addition. Other than that you probably will not need these in your tool kit. These do vary in price quite a bit depending on the quality, but expect to pay around £15-20 for something like an 8 piece set.

Best Value Drill Bit Sets for Wood

There are a lot of combination drill bit sets available. This is where you can buy a range of different types of drill bits that are suitable for a whole variety of uses. They will usually include masonry, wood, metal, spade and also screwdriver bits.

Overall they offer good value for money. They do however vary a lot in quality. You can get cheap sets if you only plan on doing some basic drilling from time to time. There are more expensive sets available from better brands if you think the investment is worth it.

So there you have it folks, how to drill a hole through wood using a variety of different types of drill bits.

About the author cordy

I am a retired construction worker and I also happen to love power tools. I have used hundreds over the years and offer my opinions on them here.

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