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How to cut clean recessed screw holes?

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Forum topic by Vaul posted 09-10-2014 01:02 AM 3399 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Vaul

22 posts in 820 days


09-10-2014 01:02 AM

Topic tags/keywords: recessed screw tear out skill question

Hi all,
I’m new to woodworking so forgive the beginner question. I’d like to know how to make clean recessed holes without a drill press?

I’m making tool mounts for my shop, and some of them will be mounted with recessed screws, which I may later cap. So far I haven’t been able to keep the recessed holes clean. They either have chipping out of the top grain or the bit wanders and makes a rather ugly, non-circular entry hole.

I do not yet have a drill press, so I’m doing this with my cordless drill.
I’ve tried drilling smaller guide holes first, with no luck.
The bits I have are all metal cutting bits, so is that likely the main problem?
Most of the holes I’m cutting are 1/4” or 3/8”, just large enough for the screw heads.

I have tried searching on this, but all the info I got was on avoiding tear out on the bottom, which isn’t my issue.

Thanks!

Jon

-- Jon (aka. Vaul)


22 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

8301 posts in 3109 days


#1 posted 09-10-2014 01:11 AM

Regular drill bits are ground to a shape for drilling
in metal. For wood the cleanest holes are drilled
by using scoring on the outside rim.

If I were in your shop I could show you how to
turn a regular twist drill into a “cabinetmaker drill”,
a sort of shop-made brad point. I use a standard
shop grinder wheel corner to freehand grind them
on bits down to about 1/4”. Here’s a video of a
guy making them in a more elaborate and precise
manner, but the idea is the same.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeT6HSPaTPc

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Ger21

1047 posts in 2593 days


#2 posted 09-10-2014 01:26 AM

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NoThanks

798 posts in 991 days


#3 posted 09-10-2014 01:36 AM

I use forstner bits when I need a clean hole.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

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timbertailor

1591 posts in 886 days


#4 posted 09-10-2014 01:37 AM



I use forstner bits when I need a clean hole.

- Iwud4u

Ditto. Well worth the investment in a set.

-- Brad, Texas, https://www.youtube.com/user/tonkatoytruck/feed

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TheFridge

5765 posts in 948 days


#5 posted 09-10-2014 01:44 AM

Forstner. I use the hell out of a ryobi set.

Edit: then I use dowel with a cheap flush cut saw to plug the holes if need be. Works great.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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TheWoodenOyster

1275 posts in 1397 days


#6 posted 09-10-2014 02:00 AM

All these guys are right. ^

I use the hell out of a ryobi set too. Just don’t go too fast. if you see smoke, you are going too fast. I burnt up a forstner bit yesterday when I forgot to turn down my drill press speed.

Loren’s video is a good way to do it too.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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Vaul

22 posts in 820 days


#7 posted 09-10-2014 03:08 AM

Thank you all for the replies. I guess I always thought of forstner bits as being a drill press only bit, but it makes sense.

Do you use brad point bits very often? I’m thinking I might need to invest in a set of those as well.

Cheers,
Jon/Vaul

-- Jon (aka. Vaul)

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firefighterontheside

13458 posts in 1318 days


#8 posted 09-10-2014 03:13 AM

I’ve tried brad point bits and Forstner bits for shelf pin hols and hands down the Forstner bit made cleaner holes in plywood. I use Forstner bits for screw holes too. I find it better if I locate the center and then go to full speed on the drill instead of going slow and then fast it works better.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

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TheFridge

5765 posts in 948 days


#9 posted 09-10-2014 03:35 AM

Not much luck with brad point. I use regular bits with a backer to prevent blowout.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View tyvekboy's profile

tyvekboy

1335 posts in 2475 days


#10 posted 02-18-2016 08:56 PM

Jon – I use brad point drill bits a lot. I also use forester bits. These are the sets that I’ve got at Rockler.

22-piece-forstner-bit-set

Brad point drill set

Go with the big sets. Eventually you’ll need all of them.

Also for plugging holes, another good tool to get are plug cutters. I have all three in my tool collection.

Of course I realize you don’t have a drill press yet but that’s a reason why you need to add that tool to your aresnal. I would recommend a floor model drill press.

As far as plugging holes for tool mounts, I personally wouldn’t do it. Shops are alway evolving and tool mounts will be moved. The tool holders in my tool cabinet have been moved many times.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View clin's profile

clin

510 posts in 458 days


#11 posted 02-19-2016 12:05 AM

Using the drill bits you have, you might try clamping some scrap wood down and drill through that.

A little trickier getting the hole exactly where you want, but maybe you can make it work.

-- Clin

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2409 posts in 2384 days


#12 posted 02-19-2016 02:45 PM

I use a counter bore bit. IT makes the central hole for the screw and cuts a counter bore cleanly like a Forsner bit does. Works easily and quickly in a hand held drill or a drill press.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Snappy-Tools-33208-1-8-X-1-2-SD-3-Flat-Bottom-Counterbore-1-4-Hex-Made-in-USA-/171708330334?hash=item27fa9d315e:g:1h0AAOSwv0tU-SU9

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

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BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1831 days


#13 posted 02-19-2016 04:38 PM

I’ve been using these DeWalt countersink/counterbore tapered drill bits for maybe two years now, and love them. They’re sharp, and once you set the depth, drill, countersink, and counterbore. The tapered bit is nice, and I find the sharp tapered point on the end makes it much easier to locate the hole than with a regular twist drill bit.

http://www.homedepot.com/p/DEWALT-Steel-Countersink-Set-3-Piece-DW2535/100531905

http://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DW2535-Piece-Countersink-Assortment/dp/B0000225OU

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

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MrRon

3926 posts in 2705 days


#14 posted 02-19-2016 06:39 PM

Brad point bits. You need speed to produce a clean hole. A cordless drill isn’t fast enough. When I drill holes, especially in soft woods, I use a drill press running at top speed (5000 rpm). I get clean holes.

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JAAune

1640 posts in 1778 days


#15 posted 02-19-2016 07:06 PM

If you’re just doing a few holes and want a perfect fit, use a sharpened screw to do a clean counterbore.


-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

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