Written by Thierry

Tips for drilling wood

Drilling wood is one of the most common drilling jobs. It definitely isn't hard, and yet it's not a bad idea to read up on certain facts and figures first. After all, you wouldn't want the wood to split during drilling, or for your drill to overheat due to drilling too fast. In this article, you'll find some useful tips.

Get started with drilling in wood

Tip 1: choose the right drill bit.

Tip 2: pre-drill.

Tip 3: choose the right RPM.

Tip 4: get rid of dust.

Tip 1: choose the right drill bit

The right wood drill bit

For drilling metal, you use a metal drill bit, for drilling concrete, a concrete drill bit, and for drilling wood – no, this will not come as a surprise – you use a wood drill bit. Simply grabbing any drill bit is ill-advised. A wood drill bit, you see, has a specific design that ensures you'll be drilling as effectively and efficiently as possible. Wood drill bits come in many kinds (snake drill bit, speed drill bit, countersink drill bit, hole saw, etc.) but the most common one is the 'standard' wood drill bit, which you can recognize by its sharp centering point that allows you to drill exactly into the right spot.

Tip 2: pre-drill

Pre-drilling wood

You don't get second chances when drilling wood. If you drill wrong, there's no way to simply close the hole again. If you're drilling with a drill that's too wide, especially in harder wood, the wood might split. As with so many drilling jobs, our advice for wood is to pre-drill. Do you want to drill holes of 10 millimeters or larger? First use a 4 or 5-millimeter drill bit. When using screws, you should ideally pre-drill as well. For this, you should use a drill diameter that's slightly smaller than the screw's inside size. For example, if you have 3.5-millimeter screws, pre-drill with a 3-millimeter drill bit.

Tip 3: choose the right RPM

Drilling wood at the right RPM

Finding the right RPM for drilling wood can be quite a precise task. If you drill too fast, chances are your wood might burn. If you drill too slow, the drill hole might not turn out as nice. The latter might not seem so bad if you cover up the hole afterwards with a screw, or if this hole wasn't going to be visible at all anyway. Finding the right speed is mostly a matter of experience. However, we do recommend starting slowly and carefully increasing the speed. Soft wood will allow you to get up to a relatively high speed this way. With harder wood, this won't be possible, because the drill simply won't get through the material as easily.

Tip 4: get rid of dust

Get rid of dust when drilling wood

If you're drilling a hole, that which was in the hole will need to go somewhere else. Sounds like it makes sense, and it does. If you prefer to DIY as cleanly as possible, have someone hold a vacuum right beneath the drill hole in order to remove any drilling dust or chips right away. A large part of the dust will run off between the drill bit's spiral flutes. For optimal drilling, though, it won't hurt to pull the drill bit back a little after every 2 to 3 centimeters when drilling wood. This way, you'll drill faster and prevent overheating of your drill.


As you can see, drilling wood is a pretty standard job, but that doesn't mean it's easily done, of course. There are definitely things to keep in mind to make sure you'll get the job done effectively and at once. Hopefully these tips will help you get started, and you too will be drilling wood without any problems.

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