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How to Center Screw Holes W/O Self-Centering Drill Bit?

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Forum topic by Mean_Dean posted 01-28-2016 04:42 PM 778 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mean_Dean

5042 posts in 2607 days


01-28-2016 04:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hey Guys!

I’m ready to put the hinges on a box I’m building, and want to get the screw holes centered, so the hinge doesn’t move when I tighten down the screws.

I don’t have a self-centering drill bit set, and am building only this one box.

Does anyone know of a way to get the screw holes centered another way?

Thanks much in advance!

-- Dean


15 replies so far

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TheFridge

5764 posts in 946 days


#1 posted 01-28-2016 04:51 PM

I use tiny pilot bits.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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dhazelton

2322 posts in 1757 days


#2 posted 01-28-2016 05:33 PM

You can get a self centering punch that has a tapered end. Otherwise I got nothing.

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builtinbkyn

651 posts in 400 days


#3 posted 01-28-2016 05:37 PM

Use the holes in the hinge as your template. Lay the hinge in place and with a sharp point on a pencil, trace the circumference Then the rest is by eye, but you won’t be far off. Make a crosshair in the center with the pencil. Then use an awl or nail to tap a starting hole, then drill a pilot. The taper of the hinge should pull the head into alignment if it’s not too far off. We’re talking 1000ths of an inch.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn :)

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jdh122

879 posts in 2278 days


#4 posted 01-28-2016 05:52 PM

As Bill suggested, with an awl. And make sure to use a brad point drill bit.

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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pintodeluxe

4852 posts in 2273 days


#5 posted 01-28-2016 07:21 PM

Self centering bits are cheap and widely available. Can I talk you into using the right tool from the start and save a headache later? Spend 5 bucks at Home Depot and get a cup of coffee while you’re out.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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Mean_Dean

5042 posts in 2607 days


#6 posted 01-28-2016 08:33 PM

Thanks, Guys, for the responses so far!

Bill – That’s sounds like a reasonably good alternative to the self-centering bit.

Willie – As I understand it, the screws for box hinges (at Rockler) are #2 screws. I’ve looked at Rockler, HD, and Lowes, so far, and haven’t found a self-centering drill bit for #2 screws. Otherwise, I’m right there with you about using the right tool. If you’ve found the correct sized bit, please let me know!

-- Dean

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builtinbkyn

651 posts in 400 days


#7 posted 01-28-2016 08:37 PM

It’s all good if you have good eyes LOL If you have a lot of screws to do, the centering bit it’s a bad idea, as it will make it go a little faster. For just a few, you’re probably GTG.


Thanks, Guys, for the responses so far!

Bill – That s sounds like a reasonably good alternative to the self-centering bit.

Willie – As I understand it, the screws for box hinges (at Rockler) are #2 screws. I ve looked at Rockler, HD, and Lowes, so far, and haven t found a self-centering drill bit for #2 screws. Otherwise, I m right there with you about using the right tool. If you ve found the correct sized bit, please let me know!

- Mean_Dean


-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn :)

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bandit571

14536 posts in 2143 days


#8 posted 01-28-2016 08:51 PM

One other way, but takes a very light touch. Use a regular drill bit, same exact size as the hole the screw fits through on the hinge. Hinge is now the “guide” for the drill bit. Drill only enough that a “crater” appears on the surface of the wood. There will be a center in the crater. Use a pilot hole bit to finish the hole for the screws. Do NOT use a brad point bit to make the crater, just a plain old twist drill bit will do,

IF you MUST use a brad point, do not chuck it into a drill, a tap with a mallet to set the brad point into the surface will do.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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Richard

1898 posts in 2150 days


#9 posted 01-28-2016 09:01 PM



Thanks, Guys, for the responses so far!

Bill – That s sounds like a reasonably good alternative to the self-centering bit.

Willie – As I understand it, the screws for box hinges (at Rockler) are #2 screws. I ve looked at Rockler, HD, and Lowes, so far, and haven t found a self-centering drill bit for #2 screws. Otherwise, I m right there with you about using the right tool. If you ve found the correct sized bit, please let me know!

- Mean_Dean


For something that small you should be good doing it by eye with an awl or punch.

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

1738 posts in 523 days


#10 posted 01-28-2016 09:45 PM

OOOh. Don’t use the screws that came with the hinges, unless they’re steel. And, drive them in by hand, lest ye twist the head off. When it stops moving, stop turning. Even stell ones that small will break.
As to finding the center, what Willie said – they’re cheap, and, you’ll need one again someday. They come in packs of three, usually – #6, #8, and #10. You may find a #2, but, not likely. Barring that, what Bill said – sharp pencil, better yet, knife point. Scribe two lines across the resultant circle to find the center. But, most importantly, get rid of those brass screws. Especially if they’re #2s. They lose their heads if you even give them a stern look.

-- Mark

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Mean_Dean

5042 posts in 2607 days


#11 posted 01-29-2016 01:13 AM

Bandit – that’s a good idea, with the drill bits. I’ve gotten a bit far-sighted in recent years, and trying to scribe pencil lines in small circles isn’t as easy as it used to be!

Mark – that’s good advice about using the steel screws to thread the holes. I don’t have any steel #2’s, so I’ll drill the shank holes just a hair bigger than normal, and coat the screw threads with paraffin wax—and make dang sure I don’t over tighten!

-- Dean

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MadMark

976 posts in 913 days


#12 posted 01-29-2016 01:31 AM

#2 screws are impossible for all but the softest woods. Predrill, lube, use a SS screw to pilot and they’ll break off flush 1/2 turn before they seat.

I use #6 flathead x 1/2” SS screws with good result when hand driving after piloting etc.

M

-- Madmark - Madmark2150@yahoo.com Wiretreefarm.com

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WoodNSawdust

1417 posts in 636 days


#13 posted 01-29-2016 01:32 AM

There are something called transfer punches. They are accuracy sized to fit the diameter of various holes. Each has a sharp point in the center. they come in 1/64 inch increments. Buy a set and find the correct one to fit the holes in the hinge.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

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Aj2

686 posts in 1258 days


#14 posted 01-29-2016 02:24 AM

I say forget about those centering bits they don’t always get you centered.My advise is to mark with a sharp awl.After tracing the hole with a pencil.The trick is drill the hole slightly inward.This assure the screw pulls the hinge into the mortice.If your hinge creep out of the mortice when you carefully hand drive the screws you can plug the holes and start over.

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Wondermutt

69 posts in 317 days


#15 posted 01-29-2016 02:15 PM

I cheaped out and tried all sorts of things. I had the better results cutting down a screw I was going to use so that it sat in the hinge pockets but also slightly touched the face frame. Gave it a twist and there ya go.

Then I bought the 5 dollar Vicks self centering drill bit, and wish i had did that from the get go.

I am a hard leaner and need a kick in the nads every once in a while, so there you go :)

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