Drilling 35mm hinge cup holes w/o a drill press

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Forum topic by jstewart posted 02-02-2008 10:07 PM 58000 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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141 posts in 4120 days

02-02-2008 10:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: blum hinges drill press safety question

I need to install some Blum hinges that require drilling a 35mm hole in some cabinet doors, but I don’t have a drill press. I’ve noticed that the warnings on most 35mm forstner bits say to only use the bit in a press or with a drill guide attached to a hand drill. I also don’t have a drill guide (and don’t want to buy one since I will probably spring for a drill press sometime in the late summer or fall this year). Can somebody tell me how dangerous it is to use a forstner bit in a hand drill? Is it a safety issue or simply an issue of the resulting quality? (These cabinets are just garage storage cabinets, so quality isn’t my #1 concern in this case.)

-- Joshua, Olathe, Kansas

29 replies so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 4343 days

#1 posted 02-02-2008 10:13 PM

First make sure your will is current. Clamp the door down. Hold drill with both hands, braced against your body so the spinning drill dosn’t twist your wrist. It should be OK.

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 3909 days

#2 posted 02-02-2008 10:18 PM

set up a video camera first , itll make a great blog lol

View dalec's profile


612 posts in 3917 days

#3 posted 02-02-2008 10:32 PM

I had to purchase a 35 mm forstner bit for a single hinge remounting and do not have a drill press. It was as far as I could antiicpate a one-time use for the forstner bit. I was repairing/replacing a hinge on a friends cabinet door and did not want to mess it up. After some thinking, I decided to be do it right and to buy an inexpensive guide from Rockler. The guide cost $12.

I believe I could have done the job without the guide, but feel the guide allows for a margin for better quality drilling and in hindsight, additional safety. The forstner bit is very much like a router bit, sharp edges that can take a big gouge out of something or someone.

If you are going to drill more than a few holes, I think the guide will give you some improved control which may make all the difference.

Take care using the bit.


View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 3909 days

#4 posted 02-02-2008 10:45 PM

i think you can buy a plastic one holer from home depot for about 5 bucks . stitches are probably 100.00 ea .

View DaveH's profile


400 posts in 3807 days

#5 posted 02-03-2008 03:08 AM

You could clamp some wood guides around the hold to start the hole.

-- DaveH - Boise, Idaho - “How hard can it be? It's only wood!”

View gizmodyne's profile


1780 posts in 4119 days

#6 posted 02-03-2008 03:58 AM

This is the rockler guide. Seems like a good bet. You could make your own by drilling into a 1/4” scrap and then attaching an edge guide or vise versa. Though this is for a router, if yoy could use the one hole to guide the other.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View motthunter's profile


2141 posts in 3828 days

#7 posted 02-03-2008 06:13 PM

If you have a good hand, you can actually do it with a good hand drill. I have done that in a pinch when my old press was smoking instead of drilling.

-- making sawdust....

View dalec's profile


612 posts in 3917 days

#8 posted 02-03-2008 07:06 PM

John’s suggestion about using or making a guide is great. The guide would bring some added safety along with a way to replicate your drill bit placement for consistent alignment.


View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 3914 days

#9 posted 05-24-2008 12:50 AM

For a guide why not drill a 35mm hole in a 2×4 or some scrap in the drill press and then clamp it over where you want the hole and use the hole drilled in the board for a guide. If that makes the bottom of the guide hole to hard to see for lining up drill the hole a little past the edge of the guide so you have a better view.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4017 days

#10 posted 05-24-2008 12:56 AM

John – I thought of that, but how would he drill the 35mm hole in the 2×4 without a guide or drill press? :-)

Got a chicken/egg thing going on.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3773 days

#11 posted 05-24-2008 02:55 AM

I use forstner bits all the time in my cordless drill. Forstner bits don’t take a very big bite while they’re drilling. Like some one else said, just make sure the piece is clamped. If you have an electric drill with the additional handle, you can do it that way, for more control.

View jstewart's profile


141 posts in 4120 days

#12 posted 05-24-2008 04:57 AM

I actually shelled out for a drill press. I put it to use just last weekend, drilling the hinge cups in 4 doors. They all came out perfectly. I like the drill, but I really love the Blum 35mm 120 deg full overlay hinges. They had so much adjustability that making a mistake was almost difficult.

-- Joshua, Olathe, Kansas

View kshipp's profile


179 posts in 3807 days

#13 posted 05-24-2008 05:05 AM

I also have used the forstner bits in a hand-held drill. I have Porter-Cable bits and I didn’t find it to be a problem at all. I think the biggest problem is keeping the straight but you can look at how much of the bit is sticking out of the wood and make sure that is even around the bit. Of course clamping the workpiece is a good idea and be careful.

-- Kyle Shipp,

View FredG's profile


139 posts in 3726 days

#14 posted 08-14-2008 04:43 AM


Free hand Forstner bits. Expensive, but they do exist.

-- Fred

View niki's profile


426 posts in 4108 days

#15 posted 08-14-2008 11:30 AM

If you have this kind of drill stand….












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