Hole in Wood Without Drill

How to Make Hole in Wood Without Drill?

Any person interested in doing DIY projects around the house would benefit from having a drill. There are various types of drills on the market right now. 

Some are cordless, others have a cord you must plug in, and some come with various attachments. Others can be used only with a specific attachment; some are suitable for larger holes, whereas others are only suitable for drilling small holes.

No matter what kind of project you have in mind, you can put a battery or electric drill to good use. But what happens if you do not have a drill and need to put a screw into the wood as soon as possible? Are there any alternatives to the power drill?

Many people have asked me how to make a hole in wood without a drill, so I made this detailed and helpful guide. 

I will cover the most convenient techniques for making holes without a drill. Let's get into the guide and discuss the topic in greater detail!

How Do You Make a Hole Without a Drill Machine?

Electric drills are not the only tools suitable for drilling holes in wood. You can use other power tools or regular tools you might have in your home. For example, you can use a hammer to make a hole if you only pair it with a chisel, nail, awl, screwdriver, screw, etc. Then, you can use heat, hand drills, etc.

There is no shortage of options, but not all are convenient and fast. I have chosen the most accessible and convenient methods to make wood holes without a drill. Here are the top 3 methods you should know:

Method 1: Chisel + Hammer

Chisel and Hammer

A chisel is a metal tool with a wooden handle and sharp edge, often made of metal. The chisel comes in various sizes and shapes, so you can determine the type of chisel you need for your project depending on the holes you plan to make. One of the only problems with the chisel is that you will need to spend more time making holes, as being quick and using too much pressure can result in damaged wood.

So, grab your chisel and a hammer, put on some protective eyewear and gloves, and start making holes!

First, mark the hole with a marker. You can also consider making a pilot hole using a nail. After you mark the spot, put the sharp bit of the chisel on the spot and start hammering the chisel into the wood.

Since the chisel is a sharp object, it will only need a few seconds to start chipping at the wood. As you push it further down into the wood, try gently rotating it to get the desired diameter and depth of the hole. To make a larger hole, you will need to spend at least 30 to 40 minutes hammering the chisel.

As soon as you reach the desired depth, take the chisel out of the wood but be careful not to damage anything on your way out. You can try inserting the screw or nail to see if the hole is the right size. If not, continue hammering the chisel until you get the perfect hole.

Method 2: Nail + Hammer

Nail and Hammer

The nail and hammer method is an excellent method to drill holes without a drill. You can use this method to insert the nail into the wood and use it to hang or attach something to the wood. At the same time, you can also use this method to make a pilot hole before adding wood screws or a self-driving screw into the piece of wood.

This straightforward method resembles the previous one regarding what you need to do. First, mark the spot where you want to make a hole. Then, put the nail's pointy end on the wood and start hammering it in. You can apply pressure while hammering, but ensure you have the nail in the right direction to not damage the wood.

You can get the nail as far into the wood as needed and leave it like that. If you want to make only the pilot hole, use the nail to make a shallow hole and then remove the nail altogether. You can use the existing hole to put in larger wood screws or any other self-driving screws you have.

Method 3: Awl + Heat Source

Awl and Heat Source

People have used heat to make small round holes in wood and other materials for the longest time.

When it comes to making a hole in wood without a drill, you can use a heated awl, large or small nail, drill bit, metal rod, or any other tool you want to make the hole. They all work well with wood, but choosing the right tool and the correct size is essential to making the perfect hole.

I recommend using an awl if you want to make a smaller hole, as the awl is the perfect tool for making precise, deep holes into wood. Once you select your awl, you need a candle or open flame to heat it up. Put the awl over the open flame and wait until it gets red hot. Ensure you protect your arms, as you do not want to burn them during this process.

Once the awl reaches the desired temperature, put it against the wood at a 90-degree angle. Since the awl will be extremely hot, it will start burning the wood and making a hole. You can gently rotate and move it around to make the hole bigger. You can remove the awl and start chipping the wood with your hands when you reach the desired amount of charring.

Can You Make the Hole with Power Tools Other than an Electric Drill?

Power Tools Other than an Electric Drill

Let's say you have many electronic tools at your disposal but no drills suitable for making holes in wood. Can you use the power tool to make the hole? The quick answer is yes! You can use a radial arm saw, router, or jigsaw to make a precise hole. Here is how you can use these tools:


A router tool is excellent for making a precise, clean hole in thicker pieces of wood. All you need to do is put the flat base on the wood. Then, the drill bit will cut into the wood and make a hole. What size hole you get depends on how you adjust the router and its bits.


A jigsaw is a great tool for making wide holes. The tool has a drill bit or a saw blade that will start sawing into the wood as soon as you turn it on. The saw or bit moves up and down and cuts the wood precisely.

Radial Arm Saw

You will likely have a radial arm saw at your disposal if you are very serious about your DIY projects. These saws are large and expensive but very effective at cutting holes into any material. You can use the arm saw with any attachment you see fit for your project. Then, you should set the height of the drill and start making the hole.

How Do You Drill Into Wood by Hand?

If you do not have a power tool, no worries! You can use many other tools to drill a hole in wood without a drill. From the bow drill to the push drill, reciprocating saw, hand drill, brace, gimlet, file, screwdriver, and others - all these tools are great for making holes in wood without a drill.

List of Manual Drilling Methods

Brace and Bit: make a pilot hole, then attach the bit to the brace and put it over the hole. Start turning the brace to make a deeper hole. You can use a hand drill in the same way.

Gimlet: similar to the awl, the gimlet can cut into the wood with its sharp end. You can use it with a brace to help push it into the wood more easily.

File: the file is best for existing holes as they can easily enlarge them. You can put the file into the hole and start filing to increase the hole's diameter.

Wood screw: You can use a wood screw on its own or with a screwdriver. You can also use self-driving screws to turn pilot holes into larger holes. These screws are easy to use on wood as you can easily screw holes using only a bit of pressure. First, make the pilot hole, then put the screw in it and turn it using a screwdriver on the screw head.


As you can see from this guide, you do not always need an electric drill to make a hole in wood. There are many ways to make holes using various power tools or even some manual tools. While the process may take longer and involve more work, it will help you get the desired result.

Your best bet is to use a chisel, nail, hammer, or a heated tool. If you know any other methods you believe should have made a list but did not, please let me know in the comment section below. I always appreciate your input on any given topic!

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