Drilling with Care

Follow these simple steps to avoid hang-ups in your next drilling project.

How to Use a Drill

Photo: flickr.com

Drilling isn’t difficult and, at least in comparison to sawing, it isn’t particularly dangerous. Still, skilled drillers drill with care.

Fixing the Workpiece
Place the workpiece in a clamp or vise. This leaves both hands free to manage the drill, and will prevent the piece from moving as you drill.

Locating the Hole
When drilling metal or using a twist drill on wood, you’ll need to establish a precise center point for the hole to be drilled. A punch, or a nail in the case of wood or sheet metal, can be used to make a tiny hollow to start the hole. A pilot hole drilled with a smaller drill may be necessary if you’re drilling a large hole in metal or hardwood.

Related: 10 Ways to Use Your Cordless Drill/Driver

Drilling the Hole
• Place the drill bit on the center point indentation. Begin drilling at a slow speed to be sure the bit doesn’t wander away from the center point.

• Never force the drill; the machine will slow or groan if you do. Too much pressure is more likely to dull or break the bit than to quicken the drilling process.

• Slow to medium speeds suit metal and masonry drilling; fast speeds will help you race through wood. Monitor the progress of the drill as it proceeds through the workpiece. If the drill appears to lug or jams, withdraw it partway, allowing the bit to clear the debris from the hole.

• As the bit approaches the far side, drill more slowly. When a drill bit breaks through the far side rapidly—or if you are applying considerable weight to the drill—the edges of the exit hole will probably be ragged, leaving burrs if the material is metal or tearing out large chips from the wood. Sometimes, too, a workpiece that isn’t properly fixed in place will spin on the drill as it passes through the far side. Finish off the hole gently for safe, smooth work.