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Forum topic by Keen1 posted 12-11-2007 10:11 PM 1329 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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103 posts in 3873 days

12-11-2007 10:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

While drilling 5/16” holes through 1 1/2 oak I noticed smoke coming from the hole as I was cutting. What causes this, dull bit? speed too high on drill press? both? something else?

-- Dad to 5, Son of The One

3 replies so far

View YorkshireStewart's profile


1130 posts in 3928 days

#1 posted 12-11-2007 10:33 PM

Even with a sharp bit, it helps to frequently raise the bit and clear the compacted shavings from the flutes in the bit.

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business.

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Mark Mazzo

352 posts in 3939 days

#2 posted 12-11-2007 10:35 PM

Well, you probably already know that the smoke is coming from the wood burning ;-) Both of the potential causes you listed are possible.

There is also a third thing that comes to mind and that is: even with a sharp bit and appropriate drill bit speed, if you are drilling a deep hole in hard wood (like Oak) and you do not retract the drill frequently to clear the chips, then things will get very hot, very quickly and you will see smoke! If you are using a hand drill, it is probable that the drill bit is going a bit fast and you are not clearing the chips frequently enough. If you are using a drill press, check your speed (you can Google for a drill bit speed chart on the net – I think that Wood magazine published one quite a while back) and also be sure that you raise the bit to allow the chips to clear.

Hope that this helps.

Update: Here’s the Drill bit speed chart

-- Mark, Webster New York, Visit my website at

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3909 days

#3 posted 12-12-2007 12:00 AM

The heat generated is not too good for the bit either. So if it wasn’t dull before, it maybe now.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

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