Using an auger bit in a drill press.

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by ashahidan posted 10-02-2013 05:02 AM 4354 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View ashahidan's profile


64 posts in 3123 days

10-02-2013 05:02 AM

I was told I could use an auger bit in a drill press to drill large holes in hardwood.
I have tried it and the bit got jammed in the hole as the screw tip of the drill started to dig in. To avoid this happening I drilled a pilot hole in the wood so that the tip couldn’t screw itself into tje wood. Then Ii removed the drill and fixed a large diameter auger bit to complete the drilling.The wood was securely held in a drill vice so that the pilot hole and the auger bit tip would be aligned.

I found this a good solution to the problem of an auger bit getting jammed in the hole. I would like to know if any woodworker had tried this before.


-- asm

21 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


11775 posts in 2404 days

#1 posted 10-02-2013 05:44 AM

I do things the same way, drill a pilot hole large enough for the screw and it works just fine. I shouldn’t tell this but the first time I didn’t drill a large enough pilot hole, the top of the screw caught and for about 1/100 of a second things got very exciting. My thumb was black and blue for a month. Moral of the story… make positively sure the pilot hole is larger than the screw!

-- Rick M,

View ZacD's profile


34 posts in 1783 days

#2 posted 10-02-2013 06:02 AM

I think it is generally considered bad practice / dangerous to use an auger bit in a drill press, just as Rick has demonstrated through his own experience. Auger bits are best used with a brace or possibly in a hand drill where the speeds are much slower and the rate of feed can be easily controlled.

Auger bits can exert a very large amount of pressure along its cutting radius, which is why they are great for boring holes quickly. However, while you may get away with using one in a drill press, the risk of damaging your machine by pulling the chuck off the spindle or worse, the risk of damaging yourself, if the bit catches and turns your work piece into a rotary finger basher, seems to great for my interests. I prefer to stay on the safe side of things.

View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3365 days

#3 posted 10-02-2013 06:44 AM

might be safer to take off the drive belt
and wind a rope around the pulley

work it like an outboard motor

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View ashahidan's profile


64 posts in 3123 days

#4 posted 10-02-2013 12:21 PM

Rick. I think as long as the wood is held fast in a vice it would not become a windmill.
I don’t know what other drill bit could bore a one and a half inch diameter hole.
Also I have to admit that I no longer have the strength to twist a brace to bore a large hole with an auger bit. that size.
I also agree with ZacD the danger is there but is there any choice?

-- asm

View dhazelton's profile


2771 posts in 2321 days

#5 posted 10-02-2013 12:29 PM

“I don’t know what other drill bit could bore a one and a half inch diameter hole.”

Spade bit? Forstner bit?

Augur bits are designed to pull themselves into wood and displace the shavings at slow rpm. If you push on the bit it will not cut – if you let it pull itself in it works great. When using with a hand drill I do short slow bursts.

View Woodknack's profile


11775 posts in 2404 days

#6 posted 10-02-2013 05:11 PM

The piece was clamped to the table and braced against a fence but apparently my drill press has enough torque to overcome that. The bit was a forstner with threaded tip. It isn’t something I do very often but I don’t have a regular forstner in every size.

-- Rick M,

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 1986 days

#7 posted 10-02-2013 05:21 PM

Forstner bits are made up to 4” at least. Not real cheap, but cheaper than the emergency room. Spade bits are a lot cheaper and are good up to 1-1/2” which is about all you’ll get most auger bits up to anyway.

View Woodknack's profile


11775 posts in 2404 days

#8 posted 10-02-2013 06:28 PM

Lots of things are dangerous if you are careless which I was when I drilled the pilot hole too small. If I have gone through life never doing anything that could result in injury I can’t imagine how droll my life would have been … would never have jumped from a plane, never rapelled from a helicopter, never played football, never ridden a carnival ride, never used a tablesaw, never climbed a mountain, never driven a car, sure as hell would never have ridden a motorcycle. The point being all this safety nanny business is itself very droll and frankly insincere.

-- Rick M,

View Ron Ford's profile

Ron Ford

208 posts in 1756 days

#9 posted 10-02-2013 06:49 PM

I’m all for pushing the edge on things that have an element of danger (skydiving, bungee jumping, etc.) but this one has all the earmarks of someone’s last words being “Hey Cooter! Watch this!!!” Auger bits are simply not made to be driven under power and doing so = bad idea in my book.

-- Once in awhile I make something really great. Most days I just make sawdust.

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1248 posts in 1738 days

#10 posted 10-02-2013 06:50 PM

I once learned from a carpenter that auger drills work in a drillpress or with a large handheld drill (with 2 handles) if you grind down the thread on the screw on 4 sides so that it resembles a ponted pyramid with a little thread left on the corners. This will center the bit but not make it drag too hard into the wood.

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View ZacD's profile


34 posts in 1783 days

#11 posted 10-02-2013 08:16 PM

Woah, this really isn’t a case of taking chances to live life to the fullest Rick. This is much more of a case of taking unnecessary risk, aka cutting corners, where better alternatives exist. I just don’t think it is wise to suggest to people that putting an auger bit in a drill press is all good, when it isn’t generally suggested as a safe practice and could have some serious consequences should something not go as planned. If you feel comfortable doing it, by all means, charge on. I think you’re passing over better tools that exist to do the job of boring large holes with a drill press, and I hope others will seek the safer tools instead. There should be absolutely no reason that a tool, if used properly, should send you to the hospital or injure you in any way.

View wiswood2's profile


1138 posts in 3720 days

#12 posted 10-02-2013 08:38 PM

file the treads off the tip and then it can not pull.

-- Chuck, wiswood2

View pauldye's profile


68 posts in 2108 days

#13 posted 10-02-2013 08:41 PM

I use a hole saw when I need larger diameter holes drilled. I find hole saw are easier to use in a hand drill. It will still work for the drill press. It either case, I have not found them to be dangerous.

For really big diameters, try a circle jig on a band saw.

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4121 days

#14 posted 10-02-2013 09:05 PM

There is a hand tool for pretty much everything. :)

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Woodknack's profile


11775 posts in 2404 days

#15 posted 10-02-2013 10:16 PM

My brace won’t grip round bits. And I don’t remember suggesting it was safe, my post made it clear otherwise, just that it will work if you drill a proper sized pilot hole. I speak for myself and I’m all for individual responsibility.

-- Rick M,

showing 1 through 15 of 21 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics