How to drill large holes in wood 

If you want to know how to drill larger holes in wood, then this article should really help you out. There are plenty of different types of drill bits available that will help you get through the different materials.

Thankfully for most people, this task of drilling larger holes around the home or garden, is not something that you will have to do very often. There will of course be times when you will need to be able to do this. Mainly larger holes are required to help run pipes, cables, drill through drywall and uses of this nature.

When you need to though, it is important to have the right tools for the job, as otherwise it is impossible to get it done. Even if it's just a small hole you are drilling then you will still need the correct drill bit for wood. Below I have shown what options are available to be able to drill larger holes in a variety of materials.

Let's get started with the most popular material that people need to drill large holes through, which is of course wood.

How To Drill Large Holes in Wood?

Drilling through wood is probably the easiest of all the materials to get through and the same with plastic. The material is soft and if you have a good drill and the right bit, it is a pretty simple thing to do. A simple brad point drill bit will do the job nicely.

When it comes to drilling a larger hole, then it is also pretty easy in terms of the actual drilling. I would advise using a good cordless drill for home DIY use.

There are a few different type of drill bits available to make larger holes through wood. Just below you will find a useful video on what types of bits are available. Underneath the video I have gone into each type in a lot more detail.

It will always come down to the size of the hole that you need to drill. The easiest way to determine that is to measure the diameter of the hole required. Larger holes are made by using a special type of drill bit or what is called a hole saw.

These bits and hole saws are always quoted by diameter size, so that is the way you should measure the size of hole required. Let's have a closer look and see what is available.

Brad Point Drill Bits for Wood 1/6"- 1/2" in width

I have already mentioned that the brad point drill bit is the most popular, and you can buy these in sets or as stand alone bits. They come in a variety of sizes and some of those can drill quite large holes. They usually have a sharp point that ensures you can get very precise and accurate drilling.

Sizes are anything between 1/6" - 1/2" depending on which set that you buy. The most popular buy for this type of drill set is the one from Bosch shown here.

Auger Drill Bits - For Larger Holes Through Wood 1/2" to 1-1/2"

The next type for drilling slightly larger holes is called an auger bit. Like the brad point bit it also has a sharp point. The difference here is that these bits are usually wider and that means you can drill larger holes. These bits are mainly used for drilling joists or to drill through thicker wood.

The flutes on these bits are spiralled and that helps remove the wood chippings and saw dust easily and quickly from the drilling area. They are more expensive than brad style bits, but that is because they are used for tougher type of drilling.

Most of these will self feed and that helps pull the bit through the wood. In other words the bit helps with the drilling so less pressure needs to be exerted by the user.

In terms of size of hole these usually are for holes of size between 1/2"- 1-1/2  For this size of hole we recommend this high quality set from the Irwin brand.

Spade Flat Style Wood Drill Bits - For 1/4" - 1-1/2" Larger Holes

The most popular drill bit for slightly larger holes is the spade style bit, and these are pretty easy to use. These are called by different names such as flat wood, spade and paddle. They also will work on most drills because they fit easily into the chuck. They are also the cheapest option in most cases.

The disadvantages of using these is that they tend to be a but bumpy and can jerk a lot. They also drill a pretty crude hole and that is especially true of the cheaper versions.

I would recommend that you avoid very cheap sets as the quality is really bad, and they can easily jam during the drilling process. That can also lead to the drill jarring and can cause a potential injury to your hand or arm. You con't need to buy very expensive versions though, just avoid the cheap and nasty one.

In terms of drilling larger holes, these sets will allow you do drill hole sizes of 1/4" to 1-1/2" Again we recommend the set shown below from the Irwin brand.

Forstner Drill Bits for Larger Holes in Wood 1/" - 2" Size Holes

These are also a good choice for larger holes and ideal for holes such as concealed cupboard door hinges. Their main use is to drill larger flat bottomed holes and they are very popular with cabinet makers, and those working with kitchens.

These are the most expensive choice, but they do offer you more variety, and accurate and smooth holes.

Typical sizes for these range from 1/4" to 2" holes, so quite a wide variety. One of the most popular sets is the one shown below from the Porter Cable brand. They are a must for cabinet makers and those interested in woodwork projects.

Personally I think they are a little bit expensive for generally drilling slightly larger holes, and the spade bit shown above would be a better and a cheaper option.

Hole Saw Set for Larger Holes Through Wood 3/4" - 2-1/2"

If you are looking to drill really large holes into wood, then you will need to opt for something like a hole saw. Once again these come in sets or you can buy these individually. They are also a good choice for thinner boards where you need to cut a larger hole.

You should be aware though that the depth you can drill with these is restricted. Typically they are about 1" deep before you hit the limit. That is why these are used mainly for thinner sheets of wood, plastic or thin metal. Typical hole diameters for these are between 3/4" to 2-1/2"

So as you can see there is a good range of drill bits that will allow you to drill large holes into wood. Although I have shown sets above you are also able to buy most of these in a single size, rather than buying a full set. If you are still not sure then check out our article on which drill bit to use.

There are plenty of options to choose from here but I always try to stick to a well known brand like MilwaukeeMakitaRyobiBlack and DeckerDewalt or Bosch when I am buying a tool like this.

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