How to Not Splinter Wood When Drilling Holes

How to Not Splinter Wood When Drilling Holes thumbnail
Keeping a smooth surface while drilling through wood

Even with the right tools, incorrectly drilling wood can splinter the exit side of the wood, ruining your project or costing you money if you have to purchase a replacement. If you start a business as a woodworker, these frayed blemishes will undermine your ability to ask top dollar for your work. Correctly drilling wood leaves a smooth exit drill hole necessary for fine furniture or quality wood projects.

Things You'll Need

  • Scrap piece of wood
  • Work table
  • Table wood clamp
  • Hand wood clamp
  • Power drill
  • Auger bit
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  1. Backup Method

    • 1

      Clamp the scrap wood and your project wood to the work table using a single table wood clamp, centering the clamp into the center of the wood for maximum pressure. Ensure both pieces feel and look flush against one another, and allow both pieces to extend beyond the table by 5 to 6 inches, so you won't drill into the table as you drill.

    • 2

      Clamp the outer lip of the scrap wood and the project wood using a hand wood clamp, positioning the clamp parallel along the planks' edges. This second clamp will create a tight seal between the two pieces of wood.

    • 3

      Drill through the project wood using the power drill fitted with the auger bit, maintaining continuous pressure until you reach the approximate depth of the project wood.

    • 4

      Extract the drill bit, brushing aside any shavings.

    • 5

      Insert the drill bit into the drilled hole, continuing to drill until the auger bit's tip shows through the scrap wood. Because of the auger bit's center tip design, the drill bit will fit automatically in to the original drill position. Once you see the drill bit's tip protrude through the scrap wood, you know you have drilled through the project wood.

    Reverse Side Method

    • 6

      Clamp the project wood in place on your work table using the single table wood clamp, positioning the table clamp in the center of the wood plank. Arrange the wood, so it extends beyond the table by 3 to 4 inches. The table clamp will hold the wood against the table, and the lip hanging over the edge of the table will allow you enough room to drill without hitting the table as you drill into wood.

    • 7

      Drill through the project wood using the power drill fitted with the auger bit, periodically checking the bottom of the wood until the tip of the auger bit penetrates.

    • 8

      Flip the project wood over, clamping it into place.

    • 9

      Position the auger bit's tip into the exit hole.

    • 10

      Drill into the project wood until the broad base of the auger bit meets the rest of the previously drilled path coming from the opposite side. Because the auger bit has a protruding center tip, it will fit into the previously drilled hole and automatically center your drill for you.

Tips & Warnings

  • No matter how tight you clamp scrap wood to project wood, the drill bit will always create tiny tufts of wood on the exit side. Reverse drilling offers the best way to create a smooth finish, but you need practice to get the hole perfectly vertical.

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  • Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

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