How to Get a Drill Bit Out of Wood

How to Get a Drill Bit Out of Wood: A Guide for Beginners

Let’s face it, having a drill bit stuck in a piece of wood is as frustrating as it sounds. If this is your first time going through this struggle, you’re probably thinking about calling a carpenter to pry the little thing off.

That’s not necessary, though, because you can easily do it yourself!

In this article, we’ll educate you on how to get a drill bit out of wood so that you don’t have to waste any time before working on your next project. We’ll also discuss the causes behind this problem and what you can do to prevent it from happening again.

Let’s dive right in!

Step 1: Determine the Situation of the Drill Bit

To know the right way to deal with a stuck drill bit, you must first take a closer look at it to understand how you’ll move forward. Usually, you’ll be facing one of two scenarios here:

  • The drill bit has its shank protruding from the wood
  • The drill bit is fully embedded inside the wood

The first scenario is a bit more manageable than the second. It’ll require simple hand tools to deal with, not to mention that it’ll need less time and effort on your part.

While the second scenario is a tad trickier, it’s still not impossible to handle as long as you know exactly what you’re doing.

After understanding the situation at hand, you can proceed to remove the drill bit from the wooden piece.

Step 2: Use Pliers to Pull Out the Drill Bit’s Shank That’s Protruding From the Wood

Grab your most reliable pair of pliers, open their jaws, and situate them around the part of the drill bit that’s protruding from the wood.

Keeping your grip firm, close the jaws around the drill bit and twist it repeatedly counterclockwise. After that, turn the pliers themselves in the same direction, working on loosening the drill bit until it completely comes off the wood.

In this step, consider locking the pliers to ensure you have a secure grip on the drill bit. Also, if the drill bit is too stubborn and won’t easily come out, you may want to add a few drops of tool lubricant to it to make the process easier.

Once you see that the drill bit is almost out of the wood, make sure not to jerk the pliers to free it. This might break the drill bit once again inside the wood, which might be even harder to deal with.

When you’re done removing the drill bit, be careful with the way you handle it since its end will be sharper after breaking.

Step 3: Try Drilling Out the Embedded Bit

Try Drilling Out the Embedded Bi

If the drill bit is fully embedded inside the wood, you might be able to drill it out successfully.

We know that this tip won’t always work, especially if the bit is stuck too deep into the wooden piece. However, if it’s not, then using a drill to pull it out might be worth trying!

First, grab your tape measure to get the diameter of the stuck drill bit, or measure it with calipers. After that, head over to your selection of metal bits and pick one with the same diameter, then attach it to your power drill.

Second off, position the tip of the power drill over the exposed part of the embedded bit. Now, carefully drill through the shank of the drill bit until there’s nothing left but tiny metal shavings in the wood. Remove those by hand when you’re done.

Step 4: Use a Screw Extractor Kit to Get the Stuck Drill Bit

Another effective method you could try to remove the embedded drill bit from wood is by using the help of a screw extractor kit.

All you’ll have to do is measure the diameter of the stuck bit with a measuring tape or calipers. Then, head over to your screw extractor kit and find a drill bit and a screw extractor that are slightly smaller in diameter than the one you measured.

Afterward, attach the bit to your power drill and prepare for some action!

Put the power drill’s tip over the stuck bit’s shank, then drill halfway through the shank before turning off the power drill.

The step after that would be to grab the screw extractor wrench and attach the screw extractor to it. Gently press the tip of the screw extractor to the hole you’ve just drilled in the stuck bit’s shank and thread the extractor into the drill bit.

Next, keep twisting the screw extractor until the bit starts to loosen, moving slowly in a counterclockwise direction. The rest is a piece of cake as you’ll continue turning the extractor until the embedded drill bit finally becomes free!

Step 5: Consider Drilling the Other Side of the Wood

If the piece of wood isn’t too thick, and you wanted to drill it all the way through anyway, you may want to try drilling the other end of the wood to push the stuck bit out.

First off, you’ll have to determine the exact spot that you’ll need to drill through to reach the embedded bit from the opposite side. You can easily mark that point by drawing reference lines on a piece of paper on the top surface of the wood, then duplicating them on the bottom side.

After finding that spot and marking it with a pencil, you can proceed to the next step.

Second off, attach a drill bit that’s the same size as the one stuck in the wood to your power drill. Slowly and carefully, drill your way through the spot you’ve marked until you feel like you’re pushing against the embedded bit.

Once you can finally see the stuck bit from the hole you’ve just drilled, turn off your power drill and use a screwdriver to push it out. Here, you’ll want to use just enough force to do this, making sure you don’t damage the piece of wood.

What Causes a Drill Bit to Become Stuck in Wood?

To make sure you don’t end up accidentally embedding a drill bit in a wooden piece once again, you must understand what might lead to this scenario in the first place.

Usually, drill bits can get stuck in wood if they’re not as sharp as they used to be, which lowers their cutting ability. Therefore, they’ll only reach so far into the wood before being stuck like nails, waiting for you to fish them out!

Yet, sometimes, a stuck drill bit may be the fault of the person drilling through the wood. If you’re in a hurry to drill a hole through a wooden piece and you’re not giving the drill bit enough time to gradually make its progress, it can easily get stuck.

Another scenario is that some people will change the angle of their drilling midway through their work, which might also lead to an embedded drill bit.

Still, in the previous two cases, you can easily solve the problem by drilling the stuck bit in reverse, using a slower setting. That should pull it out without introducing other tools into the process.

How to Prevent Drill Bits From Getting Embedded Into Wood?

For everyone who isn’t accustomed to working with drills yet, it might be helpful to get some tips on how to use power drills without worrying about stuck bits.

Here are a few guidelines you may want to follow to prevent this scenario from happening once again:

  • Match the right type of drill bit to a suitable wood type so that the wood doesn’t end up being too hard for the bit to work through
  • Use sharp, clean, and rust-free drill bits
  • Maintain your power drill and its bits periodically to keep them sharp and ready for tough work
  • Drill fast through the wood to avoid splintering, but give the drill bit enough time to bore its way through the wood
  • Tighten your bit into the drill to ensure it has no chances of coming off when working on hardwood

To Wrap It Up

Knowing how to get a drill bit out of wood is a must for every aspiring woodworker out there. You might find yourself in this situation multiple times in your workshop, so you should be 100% prepared to solve this problem.

Luckily, it’s pretty easy to remove a drill bit that’s stuck in wood, not to mention that it should take only a few minutes. You can choose to drill it out, pull it out with pliers, drill a hole from the opposite side, or use a screw extractor kit.

Then, you should be able to return to your project as if nothing happened!

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