Boring Into Edge of Birch Plywood

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Forum topic by jbeuckm posted 11-02-2011 10:11 PM 3103 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 2419 days

11-02-2011 10:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plywood boring bit edge jig question

I need to bore a 3/8” hole a foot or more into the edge of 3/4” birch plywood. My current idea is to build a horizontal mount for an air drill (it has a round cylinder body for mounting) that can be solidly mounted above a mitre slot. Then I build a section of plywood that slides in the same mitre slot toward the drill. The sliding section has a 2” hardwood guide fence along the edge facing the drill. I first use a regular sized bit to drill a support hole through the fence. Then I clamp my workpiece onto the sliding section up against the fence and chuck a long boring bit. The hardwood guide should keep the bit level while I move the piece into the bit.

Does this seem workable and that it will produce a straight hole? What type of boring bit should I use?


8 replies so far

View mrg's profile


827 posts in 3021 days

#1 posted 11-02-2011 10:49 PM

Why not use a fostner bit chucked in your drill and a square. To drill a hole in 3/4 ply straight should not be that big of a challenge. I could see going to extremes for drilling through a 4×4 because you wont go staraight but through 3/4 you should be able to drill a straight hole.

-- mrg

View DS's profile


2924 posts in 2442 days

#2 posted 11-02-2011 11:02 PM

You could use a self-centering dowell jig to center and align your bit to the edge of your work.
Use a longer drill bit through the jig to get your depth.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View jbeuckm's profile


3 posts in 2419 days

#3 posted 11-02-2011 11:48 PM

Thanks for the idea, DS251. I forgot to mention that I need to drill into a curved edge so there is not a good place to attach the dowel jig that would keep it steady. Also, I wonder if the short length of guide on the dowel jig would be effective enough the keep the hole straight for a foot or more? What kind of long boring bit is best for this?

View HerbC's profile


1763 posts in 2881 days

#4 posted 11-03-2011 02:41 AM


I think you misunderstood the task. Joe wants to bore into the edge of the plywood, centering the 3/8 bit/hole in the 3/4 thickness of the plywood and wants to drill a hole that is 12 inches deep into the plywood.

I don’t know any better way to try it than you’ve described. I’d have to do several successful practice runs on scrap before I’d try it on the actual project…

Good Luck!

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View jbeuckm's profile


3 posts in 2419 days

#5 posted 11-03-2011 06:00 AM

You explained it better than I did, Herb.

After a bit of reading I think that a regular twist bit is the way to go for the long one. When the jig is perfectly parallel to the mitre slot, I’ll drill a smaller hole with a normal twist bit before beginning the larger hole.

View mrg's profile


827 posts in 3021 days

#6 posted 11-03-2011 06:07 AM

I totally misunderstood. Now it make sense why you would do it the way you explained.

-- mrg

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3670 days

#7 posted 11-03-2011 06:10 AM

I believe you are tilting at windmills attempting this cut with a drill.

If the work can tolerate it, it would be simpler and a faster set up
to excavate a stopped dado with a 3/8” core box bit and plug the
hole with a filler strip milled to concave on one face with the same

No 3/8” drill I am familiar with will resist deflection in such a deep
cut. The glue lines are harder than the wood and the drill will start
to deflect after after perhaps 4 inches even with a perfectly straight
bushing guiding it. By the time your cut is 8” deep I’d expect to see
the bit blow-out through one side or the other, if not before.

Remember you only have 3/16” of room to play with on each face.
At 12” long you can only tolerate about 1/64” of deflection towards
a face of the work per inch. Once a bit starts to deflect, it continues
deflecting in the same direction as the cut goes deeper.

View muleskinner's profile


896 posts in 2459 days

#8 posted 11-06-2011 03:05 AM

I might try it if I could find a 1/8 or 3/32 bit long enough to act as a pilot. If like Loren says the glue lines are harder, if you could pilot in one ply the glue might act to counteract the deflection especially if your drilling with the grain of the ply. Once you had your pilot hole you should be on the straight and narrow. Damned if I know where you’d find a 15 inch 3/32 bit though.

-- Visualize whirled peas

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