I need to make a square hole...

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Forum topic by Jofa posted 05-15-2013 02:39 PM 2114 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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272 posts in 1860 days

05-15-2013 02:39 PM

On my pedalboard builds I typically include an IEC plug for power. The dimensions are 1” x 3/4”

I’ve labored through this many times with a drill, coping saw, chisel, dremel, etc.

I’m thinking a mortise chisel bit might do the trick but I don’t have a drill press.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

19 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2536 days

#1 posted 05-15-2013 02:44 PM

I’m going to guess you are working with plywood? There isn’t a lot of options to improve over a drill and chisel save for a mortising unit. But…you could use a bigger hole saw and simply clean out the corners, that would be what I would do. Hole saw on a drill and a sabre saw. Got a HF handy?

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3670 days

#2 posted 05-15-2013 02:47 PM

a drill press would leave a lot to be desired for something like this – they are not the best (mortise adapters aren’t all that great on those machines).

depending on how many of those you are making a good solution would be to have a custom made “mortise chisel” type punch. you can drill and remove the bulk material with a drill and drill bit, and then use the punch to clean and square off the hole on your lines in a single step (punch).

another solution is a router (in a router table) with a template bit and a template, that will leave the corners slightly rounded though which may or may not be an issue.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Jofa's profile


272 posts in 1860 days

#3 posted 05-15-2013 02:48 PM

Thanks Vol!

I use a lot of different woods. Alder, clear pine, maple, mahogany and yes, plywood.

I love HF! They have a mortise chisel but I’m not sure if this can be used without a drill press.

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2936 days

#4 posted 05-15-2013 02:52 PM

A squarehole drill bit is the answer to this query, as noted in other posts on this. Not cheap, but you did ask… ;-)

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3669 days

#5 posted 05-15-2013 02:59 PM

You can use a hollow mortise chisel with a hammer
to square round-corners. You can also use a
corner chisel. Various styles are available.

For setting up to do this in a production way,
I recommend a template and a router so
the hole will always come out the same – the
router makes round corners of course but a
couple of minutes of work with a sharp chisel
squares them off.

The hole can also be mortised quickly with a
firmer chisel. With care this can be done
rather neatly.

View Fuzzy's profile


298 posts in 4010 days

#6 posted 05-15-2013 03:13 PM

A Roto-Zip or Dremel type tool with a template would cut out nice, straight sides with only a swipe or two with a file needed to clean out the corners.

-- - dabbling in sarcasm is foolish … if you’re not proficient at it, you end up looking stupid … ... ...

View junebug's profile


101 posts in 2426 days

#7 posted 05-15-2013 03:25 PM

have you tried a corner chisel? Hog out the majority of the material with a router or drill press

View JustJoe's profile


1554 posts in 2060 days

#8 posted 05-15-2013 03:37 PM

You can use the mortise chisel thing without a drill press, just take out the drill bit and slap on a handle suitable for whopping with a mallet:

-- This Ad Space For Sale! Your Ad Here! Reach a targeted audience! Affordable Rates, easy financing! Contact an ad represenative today at JustJoe's Advertising Consortium.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3567 posts in 2273 days

#9 posted 05-15-2013 03:40 PM

@HMike—That squarehole drill bit is the first one I’ve seen. I thought at first that it was an April Fool’s Day tool from one of the big brand tool manufacturers. In the video, it looks like the chuck is wobbling quite a bit but it did cut a nice square hole in that piece of metal. The cutting pattern reminded me of my old Spirograph drawing toy. Thanks for posting that.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Don W's profile

Don W

18754 posts in 2589 days

#10 posted 05-15-2013 03:56 PM

if none of the above ideas fit, drill the hole and use a square file/rasp.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1067 posts in 2871 days

#11 posted 05-15-2013 05:08 PM

Also vote for the router if you use a 1/8” you would have a hardly noticeable rounded corner that would seem to me wouldn’t be an issue for your intended use

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2715 days

#12 posted 05-15-2013 06:43 PM

Easiest way is to drill 1 small hole and use a scrollsaw, less than 5 minutes once you are set and ready.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View Jofa's profile


272 posts in 1860 days

#13 posted 05-15-2013 07:45 PM

Wow very helpful suggestions everybody.

That video was amazing!

-- Thank you Lord for the passion and ability to make things from your creation.

View HorizontalMike's profile


7758 posts in 2936 days

#14 posted 05-15-2013 09:36 PM

It is real, those it surprises the HECK out of me how it works! Cool, but expensive….

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4147 days

#15 posted 05-15-2013 10:08 PM

1”x¾”? How thick is the stock you’re cutting through?

If I had to do a bunch of those, I’d build a square jig for the router with a guide bushing. If it’s ¼” ply use a 1/8” diameter bit, if it’s thicker use a ¼” diameter bit. Even in thicker stock, taking out a 1/16” or 1/8” radius corner becomes two hits on a chisel with a hammer (might not even have to clean the corners with the thicker bit…).

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

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