Clever tips for drills and drilling

August 11, 2015

Here are a handful of clever tips that will help you save time and money when it comes to your drill and drilling.

  • When you want to drill an angled hole, first drill through a block of hardwood, then cut the bottom of the block to the desired angle. Hold this newly made guide on the spot where you want your angled hole with one hand. Then, with the other hand, drill through your guide and the wood underneath it.
  • A pilot hole reduces the possibility that your wood will split and makes the screw easier to drive in. Since this kind of hole makes room for the screw shaft, but leaves enough material for the threads to bite into, the drill bit you use to make it should match the diameter of your screw's body (not including the threads). Hold your screw up to the light and match a drill bit to the lower shank diameter.
  • A clearance hole allows the whole body of the screw to pass through. When it's important to draw one piece of timber tightly to another, drill a clearance hole through the first or top piece.
  • Countersinking allows the screw head to sit just below the surface of your work. This allows for a smoother, neater finish.
  • Instead of buying separate bits for drilling your pilot, clearance, and countersunk holes, consider buying combination drill bits, available to suit either 6, 8, 10 or 12 gauge screws. These bits are depth-adjustable and will drill countersunk, clearance, and pilot holes in one go.
  • Mount a holster on the side of your stepladder to keep your drill handy even when you're working up high. Use sheet metal screws or pop rivets to fasten this holster to your ladder. To save on the cost of the holster, use a length of 10 centimetre-diameter PVC sewer pipe. Having a holster handy will save you from making several trips up and down your ladder as you work.
  • When you're drilling through drywall, tape an open garbage bag under the area where you're drilling to cut down on the mess. This way, as you drill the debris will fall straight into the bag and not all over the floor.
  • When you're drilling through a thick or tough material, remove the bit from the hole every now and then to clear out any debris.
Clever tips for drills and drilling

Toe-screwing to make secure connections

  • Driving screws at an angle (toe-screwing) is a common technique for securing connections made at right-angles. Combination bits are very useful when you're drilling at an angle. But, whether you have combination bits on hand or not, here's  a quick guide for secure toe-screwing:

1. Drill your starter hole

  • Estimate where you want your entry point to be using your screw's length as a guide.
  • Drill a shallow hole straight into the timber at this point to start you off.

2. Drill your pilot hole and finish

  • Then drill an angled pilot hole.
  • As soon as your drill bit engages the wood in your starter hole, tilt your drill to the desired angle and drill the pilot hole.
  • Now drive the screw in to complete the job.

If you remember to follow these clever tips for drilling, then your drill work is likely to go more smoothly and your results are likely to be neater.

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