How to Remove a Drill Bit Stuck in Wood? [Problem And Solution]

How do you feel when you see your drill bit sticking in the wood? The metal bit has already gone through one hole, and now it’s just stuck in the wood.

Now, that isn’t very pleasant. It could also be dangerous.

Still, Michael Jordan once said, “obstacles don’t have to stop you.” He added, “figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.

You might ask, “how can I remove a drill bit stuck in some piece of wood?” It’s frustrating.

That’s why we’re here to give you useful information on removing a drill bit stuck in the wood.

When you’re done reading this post, we’re positively sure you’ll be an expert at removing stuck bits in wood. Who knows, you might be able to help a friend or family member next time!

Ready? Roll up those working sleeves, and let’s get started!

Why Do Drill Bits Get Stuck on Woods?

When a drill bit becomes stuck in your workpiece, it can be one of the most aggravating and difficult circumstances. Now, this isn’t like an Excalibur scenario where you can’t pull the drill bit out.

But how did it get stuck? There are a few reasons why this is happening.

One reason is hard timbers or wood. Drill bits get frequently stuck when you drill into particularly hard pieces of wood.

Another reason is when you bore too deep, there’s no room for the drill bit to move.

Because it’s an organic material, wood can shrink and warp over time. When we drill into previously aged wood, there is a potential that the hole will be larger than expected.

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Lack of lubrication can also be attributed to a stuck drill bit. Lubrication is an important part of routine drill maintenance.

However, the most probable cause, the pièce de résistance of all reasons, is you’re using the wrong drill bit.

There are different types of drill bits. However, not all are specifically made to drill wood.

Some are used in core drills for concrete, and others are for glass. Choosing the right drill bit reduces the chances of the bit becoming stuck while drilling into the item.

3 Ways to Remove a Drill Bit Stuck in the Wood

We’re now getting into the nitty-gritty. The part where we answer the question, “how to remove a drill bit stuck in wood?

There are three ways to do it: lock pliers, a screw extractor, or drilling from the opposite side. Here are the steps for each one of them.

Using Lock Pliers

If you have a drill bit stuck in wood, one of two things is likely to be the case. Either the bit’s shank protrudes from the wood, or it snaps off, leaving the bit completely buried in the wood.

You can easily remove it using simple hand tools Like lock pliers if the bit’s shank protrudes from the surface.

Lock pliers, or Vise-Grips, are pliers with an over-center toggle action that you can lock into place.

They are used in these situations because they have stronger lever motion than typical pliers. Which means they can apply more force.

Here are the steps on how to remove a drill bit stuck in wood using lock pliers:

  1. Open the jaws of the pliers and move them around the bit. Squeeze the jaws around the shank of the jammed drill bit and lock them in place.
  2. Grip the pliers’ handles and turn them counterclockwise. If the drill bit is not budging, put some lubrication around the base where the bit protrudes.

Those are just two easy steps anyone can easily follow. However, what if the drill bit is completely embedded in the wood?

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Well, that’s a different case. You’ll need to use a specialist extractor tool, or you need to drill from the opposite side.

Using Screw Extractor Method

Screw extractors are primarily used when you have a stripped screw or bolt.

You can use the instructions in this video below to have a better understanding of how it works. Watch it now so that the following instructions make sense.

YouTube video

Here are the steps to remove a drill bit using a screw extractor:

  1. Using calipers or a tape measure, determine the diameter of the jammed drill bit.
  2. Choose a drill bit and screw extractor smaller than the stuck bit from the screw extractor kit.
  3. Connect the drill bit to a power drill.
  4. Place the power drill bit in the center of the shank of the stuck drill bit. Drill about halfway through the shank of the trapped bit.
  5. Connect the screw extraction wrench to the screw extractor. Insert the tip of the screw extractor into the hole you bore through the shank of the trapped bit.
  6. Thread the extractor into the bit by twisting the wrench. Continue to twist the extractor into the bit until it loosens and starts turning counterclockwise.
  7. Turn the extractor wrench until the snagged bit is free of the wood.

Drilling from the Opposite Side

Drilling from the opposite side can be tricky. It’s a calculated move, so you need to be careful.

Here’s a short video to show you how to drill a straight hole:

YouTube video

Now that you’re knowledgeable with perpendicular drilling holes, here’s how to remove a drill bit stuck in wood:

  1. Determine the exact location of the stuck bit. Depending on the circumstances, you can do it in a variety of ways.
  2. Mark the wood as to where the stuck drill bit is.
  3. Put a drill bit with a smaller diameter than the stuck bit In a drill and start drilling slowly. Stop when you get to the jammed drill bit.
  4. Stick a metal rod in the hole and gently hammer out the stuck drill bit. Take extra care in this step so you will not damage the workpiece.

How to Avoid Getting Your Drill Bits Stuck?

Desiderius Erasmus’ phrase “prevention is better than the cure” is always used in the medical field. However, other industries can also use it.

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You can avoid having a drill bit stuck in any piece of wood by using the right drill bit. There are different drill bits out there, but specific ones are made especially for wood.

Still, you need to determine the right wood drill bit for your project. Always do your research first before diving into the work you’re doing.

Another way to avoid the dreadful dilemma is to have a sacrificial “pilot” hole. Use the pilot hole as a guide to drill a bigger one fit for your screw or bolt.

Using a smaller drill bit (approximately 1/16′′) when making the pilot hole as a pro tip. It will save you time and effort because you will be drilling at the correct depth every time.

YouTube video

Other tips are as follows:

  1. Use sharp, well-maintained drill bits at all times.
  2. Avoid hole blowouts or splintering by drilling fast.
  3. Take breaks when drilling many holes in hardwood to allow the drill bit to cool down.

What to Look for the Best Drill Bits for Wood

We have talked about how the right drill bit can prevent a stuck one in wood. But how will we know what’s the right one?

Here are some of the factors you need to look out for in a wood drill bit:

  1. Material – the stronger the material used, the better. You can choose from carbide, high-speed steel (HSS), or cobalt.
  2. Design – consider the length and angle of the drill point and the flute’s design.
  3. Coating – drill bits are usually coated with some material to reduce friction in the cut. Choose the coating that suits what wood you’re using.

Top 7 Recommended Drill Bits You Can Use for Woods

Here are some of the best wood drill bits we’ve discovered. Check them out to make an informed decision for your next woodworking project.

1.DEWALT DW1354 14-Piece Titanium Drill Bit Set

Because of the highly pointed tips, the bits will cut through materials with precision. The pilot point eliminates walking, and the strong structure is beneficial for drilling hardwood.

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2.Makita T-01725 Contractor-Grade Bit Set

With this drill bit set, you can do anything from drilling to fastening. The manufacturer added a black oxide coating to make the bits corrosion-resistant and durable.

Makita also used heat treatment engineering to give longevity to its drill bits.

3.BLACK+DECKER BDA91109 Combination Accessory Set

BLACK+DECKER introduced the combination accessory set with a huge number of pieces for adaptability and exceptional holding components. They are extremely long-lasting and highly versatile.

CO-Z 5pcs Hss Cobalt Multiple Hole 50 Sizes Step Drill Bit Set

It can drill holes in different diameters without replacing bits, and it considerably lowers impact shock. Moreover, the durability is outstanding.

Bosch MS4034 34-Piece Drill and Drive Bit Set

The set includes both drill bits and driver bits. It can drill through any material, including metal, wood, and concrete.

DEWALT DW1587 Spade Drill Bit Assortment

It’s really simple to use and comes in six different sizes for maximum versatility. The heavy-duty steel structure is superb.

Irwin Tools 3018002 Cobalt M-35 Metal Index Drill Bit Set

The drill bits come in various sizes for adaptability. They are made from cobalt which is why it’s suitable for tough work.


Why do some drill bits break off?

YouTube video

There are various reasons why some drill bits break off easily. Here are some of them:

  • Incorrectly configured cutting speed and feed rate
  • Wrong drill bit used
  • You did not securely fasten the workpiece and drill
  • Inadequate chip removal
  • Used a low-quality drill
  • Not enough cooling

How do you remove a spade drill bit stuck in a wood?

Just like any other drill bit, you can use the three methods mentioned in this article. However, the best way to do it is by simply using lock pliers.

Pry the jaws of a pair of pliers open and squeeze them around the shank of the jammed drill bit. Twist the drill bit counterclockwise while holding the pliers’ handles.

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What type of drill bits to use in making clean holes on wood?

Here are the best drill bits you can use on wood:

  • Twist drill bits – highly preferred in timbers
  • Spade drill bits – drills larger holes up to 40 mm (1-1/2″).
  • Forstner drill bits – makes clean and accurate holes with flat bottoms
  • Countersink drill bits – makes shallow holes but great for screws to sit-in

Can I use a regular drill bit for wood?

No, you can’t. There are specific drill bits made solely for wood.

Using a regular drill bit might compromise the wood you’re working on and damage it.

What are the tips for drilling holes in woods?

We cannot stress this enough but always use the right drill bit for the job. Also, keep your wood drill bits clean, sharp, and well-maintained for optimum performance.

Another great tip is to make a sacrificial “pilot” hole so your drill bits will not get stuck.

Fixing Jammed Drill in Wood is a Piece of Cake

There you have it! That’s how to remove a drill bit stuck in the wood. We also threw in interesting information that can help you with your woodworking projects.

The key to a hassle-free wood project is to use the right drill bit and take your time doing it.

Always remember that everything has a solution. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “energy and persistence conquer all things.

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