Drilling perfect holes are not so challenging; well, that’s if you have a drill press. Ideally, it’s designed to aid precision. As demanded by woodworking projects where you have to drill into walls, tapping, compound joinery, or a stylish design on a project, you may have to straight, perpendicular holes.
Most times, when we drill, the intention is to stay straight on, accurately perpendicular to the surface. But the cordless can easily be canted and slanted off in every direction, especially when there is a force behind it. So the easy way to achieve a perfectly vertical hole or drill at one at a specific angle without the power tool moving all over the place is to hold it steady and motionless all through the process.
How to drill a perfectly vertical hole? - 4 Drilling Tips for you!
As long as the intention is to make a perfectly vertical hole, the bit should be kept still at 90 degrees to the surface of the material. There are many ways to achieve this aim. Here’s how it’s done:
If you have one of those portable drills with a built-in bubble level on it and you’ve been wondering what it’s used for? – Now you know.
Not all have this feature, but if you are lucky to have one, place the bit on the spot and your hold while you balance the bubble that it is exactly centered. Focus on the bubble as you drill to keep it the marked circle. As you begin, the tool is likely to move sideways, so keep it still.
Some drills also come with levelers to drill horizontally. But the slight disadvantage to this method is that the process depends greatly on the skill of the operator and the position of the workpiece.
Using a square is another easy way to achieve accurate vertical holes. Get a square metal block and cut out a piece, long enough to accommodate the bit.
Hold or clamp it on the workpiece in a position that the top and side of the body rests on the square while you drill. Even if the square is made of steel, long time usage will wear it out eventually, but you still have three more useful corners.
In case you want other angles, you can cut the base of the square with a chop saw to your desired angle. A bonus is it the dust from the whole process is collected in the square – saves you cleaning time.
The drill block is a commercial drilling guide to make perfect and straight holes. It’s most times made of plastic or metal with a series of holes with different sizes where you can insert the bit. The best drill blocks are of hardened metal alloys to counter wearing.
Moreover, the holes in the blocks are sized to accommodate the various standard sizes of bits, so that it can spin without leaning over. To use it, you should center and clamp the appropriate size of the hole over the spot so that you can slip your bit through it. Then drill for precise results.
Then to the most efficient accessory – the Drill Press or Drill Stand. Although there are other attachments like the block or square, the Drill Press is the most versatile of all. It allows you to use any type or size of bit set at different angles. Ranging from 15 to 90 degrees.
The Drill Press converts your portable drill into a mini drill press. It’s made with two upright rods, a flat metal base and amounting device to hold and secure it’s movement up and down on the rod. Just a bit of set up, and you are good to go.
Other Useful Tips
Old CD: If you have an old compact disk or DVD lying around, what you do is place the label-side down and reflective-side up. Put it on the workpiece that it’s centered over where you want the hole. Mark your spot, set the bit into the hole and position it to form a straight line with the reflection in the CD. This indicates that it’s vertical.
Right-angle Jig: Start with some wood scraps. Nail together a couple of 1x4 or 1x2 pieces to form a right-angle. Ensure you make each wood piece square so that the angle is accurate.
Place it on the side to create a perfectly flat bottom “L” exactly where you want to make the hole. Hold or clamp the jig the position so that the bit pressed tight against the inside corner. Then drill down.
Drawing a line: If the hole you are drilling is near the edge of the workpiece, and you are without a drill press, you can draw a perpendicular line adjacent to the surface to guide you.
Then your focus should be on the alignment of the bit and the marked line. You can begin by making a dimple in the wood with a center punch to keep the bit from roaming around. But as long as your eyeballing technique is good enough, this should be a piece of cake.
Homemade drill block: Get a piece of wood – preferably hardwood for durability. Cut it into a block shape of about 1½” wide and 10” long. Drill a series of holes to with sizes to accommodate a full set of bits.
Then look for brass or aluminum tubes with internal diameter to match the holes you made. Use some hot melt glue to secure each to where they fit and cut excess. Then use it as a drilling block.
Imagine you have cut a vertical hole in a block of wood to run a cable, and you do not have a drill press, or you cannot take your work to where a drill press can be used, any of these quick hacks that can help to uncomplicated the process.
If not completely precise like the drill press, at least you will get pretty darned close.