If you need to make a hole in a piece of wood, you need the correct wood boring tools to do it.

Find out what you need for making perfect holes, then learn how it’s done with this quick guide.

Boring Definition: What Is Wood Boring?

Often, when woodworking, you may need to make strategic holes in your wood piece or project.

Some examples of when you need holes:

  • When you’re making joins for solid, sturdy furniture construction, such as for chairs with spindle-backs
  • When you need to make pilot holes to guide screws or nails into their proper position
  • When you’re building using the hole-and-peg method

Any time you make holes in wood, for whatever reason, it’s called boring.

To bore a hole into wood, you need to use special tools.

What Tools Do You Need for Wood Boring?

For boring holes, usually, you need a revolving tool like a drill with a special drill bit attached.

Here are the tools you need for drilling small, medium, and large holes into wood.

1. Wood Drill Bits

For drilling small holes less than ½” in diameter, all you need is a regular twist drill with an appropriate bit.

  • Spade bits or paddle bits – Spade or paddle bits are capable of cutting large holes into wood. These have a pointed tip that sticks out from the aptly-named spade or paddle-shaped blade. The point helps the bit begin cutting the hole and acts as an anchor for accuracy.
DEWALT DW1587 6 Bit 3/8-Inch to 1-Inch Spade Drill Bit Assortment
  • The product is 6Pc spade bit set
  • Easy to use
  • The product is manufactured in China
  • Dowel (brad point) bits – Dowel bits are one of the most common types of drill bits for wood. These have a very small point at the tip with spurs on the sides. These come in various sizes and can cut holes both small and large.
DEWALT Drill Bit Set, Brad Point, 6-Piece (DW1720)
  • Precise cutting edges to reduce splintering
  • Brad point tip reduces walking
  • Engineered flutes for clean effective chip removal
  • Countersink bits – A countersink bit drills a hole so a screw will fit flush inside of it. It also keeps the wood from splitting due to the pressure from the screw.
IRWIN Countersink Drill Bit Set for Metal, 5-Piece (1877793)
  • Precision ground 82° tip for countersinking most machinable metals, wood, and plastic
  • Made from industrial grade high speed steel for increased durability
  • Includes a black oxide finish for added corrosion resistance
  • Auger bits – For boring deep, precise holes into wood, an auger bit is the right tool. This bit will go the distance to give you a smooth, long hole.
Power Planter 100% USA Made 3"x12" DIY Guru Auger ...
  • 100% MADE IN THE USA, with USA sourced materials. Made by family farmers for over 30 years for your garden
  • Quickly and efficiently plant bedding plants and bulbs or mix paint, mortar, or soil in a bucket or wheelbarrow
  • Non-slip hex drive to fit any 3/8" or larger drill
  • Forstner bits – Many woodworkers rely on Forstner bits to bore holes with smooth sides. The smoothness comes from the unique way this bit works – the outside rim guides the cut of the hole versus the center tip (which is how most bits work).
PORTER-CABLE Forstner Bit Set, 14-Piece (PC1014)
  • Optimized cutting angles for flat bottom holes
  • Open tooth design for clean fast holes
  • Creates a fine smooth finish

This type of bit has the ability to bore holes at an angle, holes that overlap, and holes located at the outside edge of a piece of wood.

Best Selling Wood Drill Bits

Forstner bits are named after the man who invented them in 1886, Benjamin Forstner.

  • Specialty bits – If you need to cut a very specific type of hole into a piece of wood, there’s probably a drill bit built for the job. For example, you can use a hinge cutter to cut holes for hinges on kitchen cabinets.

2. Electric Drill-Driver

For most applications, a practical tool to keep around is an electric drill-driver.

You can go with either cordless or corded drills. You’ll get the power you need to drill most holes – plus portability and flexibility for other uses.

DEWALT Screwdriver Bit Set, Impact Ready, FlexTorq, 40-Piece...
  • Minimizes Drops
  • Reduces Wobbles & Breakage
  • FlexTorq allows bits to flex up to 15 degrees

3. Drill Press

For accuracy, very large holes, or drilling many holes quickly, you can’t beat a drill press.

This is a large, stationary piece of equipment that has a powerful motor and a sturdier way to keep your holes aligned as you drill them.

WEN 4214 12-Inch Variable Speed Drill Press
  • Infinitely variable speed ranges from 580-3200 RPMS. Mechanical variable speed delivers equal torque throughout the...
  • Spindle Travel of 3-1/8" with easy to read, locking linear depth stop for accurate and repeatable drilling operations
  • Quill diameter of 2.17 inches. Durable 2/3hp induction motor develops ample torque and power. Motor: 120 V, 60 Hz. Laser...

4. Hand Brace

If you’d prefer to bore your holes by hand, the way it has been done for centuries in traditional woodworking, you need a hand brace combined with an auger bit.

A hand brace works just the way it sounds: The tool braces on the piece of wood for anchoring as you crank the ratchet handle by hand. Many woodworkers prefer this type of drill because it gives them more control and precision.

Robert Larson 10 Inch Swing Bit Brace with 3 Jaw Chuck
  • 10-inch bit brace with 3 jaw chuck
  • Ratchet mechanism perfect for tight spaces
  • Securely grips shank drills and hex shank tools

5. Eggbeater Drill

Before there were power drills, eggbeater drills were the star of the show. Much like actual eggbeaters, these drills work by turning the handle, which moves the gears and makes the drill bit revolve and cut into the wood.

An eggbeater drill is another hand tool that some woodworkers prefer for precision drilling such as making hinge holes, pilot holes, and dowel holes.

You can buy authentic, vintage eggbeater drills at most flea markets, vintage stores, or antique shops. You can also find them on eBay. If you do get a vintage model, just make sure the gears are oiled and move smoothly before using it.

Fiskars 85167097J Manual Rotary Craft hand Drill
  • Ideal for drilling holes in wood, plastic, paper, sheet metal, acrylic, mixed media and more for craft projects
  • Easy-to-turn hand crank offers battery- and cord-free use
  • Enclosed gears ensure smooth operation and consistent drilling pressure

Get the Right Tools for the Job

In woodworking, the right tools for boring holes are drills and drill bits. These come with lots of options, so research the projects you want to do before choosing one over the other.

Often, you’ll need a variety of bits and drills for one job. Get what you need to make all your woodworking tasks go more smoothly.

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