We often say that we know our work very well but do you know your tools well? A professional woodworker is one who has a good understanding of his tools. Using the right tool for the job allows you to get superior quality results with the highest efficiency and accuracy. Like the router bit, the drill bit is also a basic woodworking tool. All drill bits are similar in appearance but each bit does a unique job. This article gives a brief overview of different types of wood drill bits along with the unique features and function of each bit.
A drill bit is a woodworking tool with a sharp cutting tip that fits in your power drill and used for creating holes in the material. The use of drill bit is not just limited to woodworking. It can be used for a wide range of materials like wood, metal, plastic, ceramic tile, porcelain, concrete, etc. It comes in variable sizes and shapes which can create both circular and non-circular holes in the stock as per need.
Drill bits Material and finishes
Different types of drill bit materials are used for manufacturing the ideal drill bit. However, the choice of the material and finish is application-specific. Drill bits are ideally made of steel. An alloy of steel is steel combined with tungsten or molybdenum or cobalt to get high-speed steel. High -Speed Steel (HSS) drill bits are hard and resistant to heat and used for drilling wood, light metals, fiberglass, and PVC.
HSS bits coated with other materials like titanium coated, black oxide coated or carbide tipped, etc. have more advanced features and durability as compared to the simple HSS drill bits. Black oxide-coated drill bits are hard and resist rust, corrosion and, heat. It is ideally used for drilling hardwood, softwood, PVC, fiberglass, and steel. Titanium drill bits have a longer shelf life, need fewer efforts, and are ideal for all kinds of material. Carbide tipped bits is the best masonry drill bits and require less sharpening and maintenance. It is ideal for drilling concrete, tile, and masonry.
Type of the wood is another factor that affects the drill bit you are purchasing. It is recommended to use HSS drill bits for drilling wood as it is inexpensive as compared to other bits. Drill bits with some coating on them offer great features like less maintenance, clean entry, faster drilling, etc. however faster entry doesn’t mean cleaner holes. For home improvement projects or DIY quality of work and the clean final look is more important than speed.
Below are different types of drill bits for wood and other materials.
Twist bit is a must-have bit for every woodworker. It is the default drill bit that can be used for all kinds of DIY and home improvement projects. The flutes or grooves of the twist drill bit create a way for material just like threads of the screw which allows it to get a nice grip into the wood. It is can be used for performing a wide range of tasks like pre-drilling for screws, making an existing hole bigger, drilling at an angle, etc. Common HSS drill bits are best for drilling metals, wood, and plastic. Masonry, rotary hammer, or impact tapcon twist bits are used for drilling in concrete.
Countersink bit is a dual nature bit. First, it creates a pilot hole for the screw and then creates a countersink or a v-shaped groove on the face of the workpiece. A large tapered hole on the surface allows the head of the screw fits perfectly without peeking out. The use of the countersink bit can elevate the look of your projects. Sometimes drilling screws near the edge of the wood results in wood cracking. In such cases countersink bits are best. It can be used for all kinds of home improvement and cabinetry purposes.
As the name suggests brad point drill bit has a small central brad with raised spurs at both corners. Such a specialized tip structure facilitates the perfect positioning of bit and drilling of the clean exit holes. It can be used for general woodworking, DIY projects, cabinet and furniture making. It can be used only for drilling wood and plastic. Brad-point drill bit made of suitable material and finish can be used for drilling metal and other materials.
A spade bit is another type of wood drill bit which has no flutes. It has a wide blade-like structure with a sharp centered tip which allows the user to make large diameter holes with ease. spade bit can be used for drilling wood to make wide holes for pipes, cables, and large electrical fittings. It is available in sizes ranging from 8 to 32mm. For sharpening of spade bit use fine file, oil stone or grindstone, etc.
The auger bit has a self-feeding tip or a short screw-like structure at the tip. The spurs and cutting edges enable the user to make perfect round holes with less pressure. It has helical flutes throughout its length which carries the shavings away from the cutter. auger bit works at low RPM and gives clean, deep, and flat bottom holes. It is one of the ideal wood drill bits when working with hardwood or man-made boards. For sharpening of spurs and cutting edges, one can use a fine file or oil stone
Long thin installer bits are ideally used for installing wires through the drilled holes. It has a small hole at the tip. First drilling is done to make a hole followed by inserting the wire into the tip and continuing drilling to insert the wire through the hole to get the perfect fitting. Therefore, the holes at the tip aid easy pulling or inserting of wires into the holes. Installer bits are very long therefore one can easily create deep holes using installer bits. It can be used for any kind of cabinetry and DIY woodworking projects.
Forstner bits are used to cut clean large diameter flat-bottom holes. It is used with a power drill as drilling with a Forstner bit requires a lot of pressure. Forstner bits can drill overlapping holes, creating holes at an angle, or making holes at an edge of the material. It is an ideal bit for making large holes for installing kitchen cupboard hinges, door hinges, or wardrobe hinges, etc. The three different rim designs of the Forstner bit are sawtooth rims, continuous or knife-edge rims, and wavy rims. The outer part of the rim guides the bit at the beginning of drilling.
The hole saw bit is mainly used to eliminate the exact part of wood with less effort. It has an inward bend drill that sets a focusing pilot opening and saw a teeth-like appearance on the edge which allows you to make cut out or remove a part of the material with ease. The hole saw bit comes in various diameters. It is mainly used to make perfect holes for inserting switch boxes, cutting mortises, making small openings for pipes, wires, installing door hardware, etc. It can be used with wood, metal, tile, masonry, etc.
As the name suggests step drill bit has a step-like appearance. It allows users to drill holes of multiple diameters using the same bit. Therefore step drill bit can be used for making clearance holes and pilot holes. Best wood drill bit which can be used for sheet metals as well.
A drill bit is a simple tool but selecting the right bit for the particular job is difficult if you don’t know the difference. For example, regular twist drill bits cannot be used for drilling through unique mate5rials like glass, tile, and masonry. There are some other kinds of drill bits that are used for specific materials to get the best results. Below are some other kinds of drill bits
Carbide tip drill bits are for drilling into ceramic or porcelain tiles. It reduces the chances of chips or cracks while drilling. Use this bit with a power drill at low pressure in order to get the best results. It is ideally used for flooring, drilling into bathroom tile, and renovations projects. Sharpening of tile bit is a bit difficult but one can use oil stone to get the blunt edge or a curved cutting edge.
Common wood drill bits cannot be used for drilling through glass. A specially designed glass drill bit is used with an electric drill to make holes in glass, ceramic, tile, marble, or any other material that easily crack while drilling. It has a rough texture and coating of diamond particles or diamond chips on the metal shank of the bit aids smooth drilling. Glass drill nit can be used for all types of DIY or professional renovation projects. It is recommended to use lubricant, or coolant like water to prevent overheating of bit.
Masonry bit has a strong tungsten carbide tip which allows users to drill through hard materials like blocks, stone, concrete, etc. It can be used with hammer action, or power drill at high pressure because there is the least chance of breaking through material. The bit is available in sizes ranging from 4 to 16 mm.