Drill Bits For Wood [Different Types]

Are you a woodworker? Maybe a furniture enthusiast? Or are you simply just doing research about wood drill bits?

Well, you’ve come to the right place because we will be guiding you on the different things you need to know about wood drill bits.

Wood drill bits have been essential to jobs like furniture making or home improvement purposes where these tools shine the most.

You’ll be surprised by how many different types of wood drill bits are out there.

In this article, we’ll be talking about what wood drill bits are, what makes a good wood drill bit, the different types of wood drill bits, the factors that affect choosing the right wood drill bit for the job, and the frequently asked questions about wood drill bits.

What Are Wood Drill Bits? Why Do We Use Them?

A drill bit can be classified as a tool used by the drill to make clean holes and cuts through surfaces, typically in surfaces like plastic, metal, and wood.

Over time, multiple variations of wood drill bits have been created to provide maximum efficiency when drilling.

From the name itself, wood drill bits are special drill bits used to drill holes in wood. This is typically used in woodwork and furniture making.

Since wood drill bits come in different shapes and sizes, it’s essential to know each function of every wood drill bit out there.

According to Wise-Geek, Wood drill bits are used when drilling holes in wood. These carbon steel & twist-type drill bits are not suited for drilling steel and will dull very quickly.

Knowing What Makes a Good Wood Drill Bit – Guide to Choosing Wood Drill Bits

You probably searched for the best drill bits for wood or types of wood drill bits, but before getting into that part, you need to understand what makes a good wood drill bit. Knowing exactly what you’re buying beforehand will save you a lot of time, money, and effort.

At some point in our lives, we may have used the wrong tool for a particular job. We’re here to fix that for you.

Although we won’t be talking too much about specifics in this section, we will talk about the available features a good wood drill bit should have.

Not everybody is knowledgeable in the woodworking field, and people may not even know that wood drill bits exist since people usually use the metal drill bits for all the drilling jobs they need. That’s about to change right now after you learn what makes a good wood drill bit:

  • Durability

Having a durable wood drill bit should be the MAIN feature when it comes to choosing the right kind of wood drill bit.

If you’re like most woodworkers that rely on the wood drill bits for hours on end, durability is crucial in selecting a wood drill bit.

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Imagine this, you work as a woodworker and rely on your drill bit to hold on until you finish all your work without often replacing the drill bit.

Having a durable wood drill bit means having a drill bit that can provide the same quality service for long periods.

Durable drill bits also typically mean you’ll save a lot of money. Since it’s durable, you don’t often replace it, compared to a mediocre wood drill bit made out of cheap materials.

  • Value for the Money

Speaking of saving money, you have to make sure that you have the best value for the money you will buy the wood drill bits for.

Ask friends, family, relatives, and even your local woodworker if you have to.

If it means you’re going to save some extra cash by asking people’s opinions of which drill bit to buy, then go ahead.

Learn to compare brands and do research on what their drill bits are capable of. Sometimes, a more expensive item doesn’t mean it’s better.

  • Efficiency

Since durability is the main feature for choosing wood drill bits, then efficiency comes in second. Nobody wants to spend hours upon hours drilling when another drill bit can do a better and do the same job for half the time, right?

It’s essential to choose the drill bit that’s efficient in making cuts and holes to make sure you’re saving both time and effort when drilling wood. However, it’s not always the drill bit’s fault that it’s not cutting efficiently.

Sometimes, you can be dealt with a defective drill, or maybe the surface is just naturally hard; that’s why it’s cutting slowly.

Regardless, it still doesn’t hide the fact that choosing the right drill bit plays a massive role in drilling efficiency.

  • Sharp and Precise Cuts

Relative to the drill bit’s efficiency, it should also show some results by making sharp and precise cuts when drilling.

Picture this, you’re drilling at a fast rate, and you’re making accurate holes at the same time. That’s the best you can get out of your drill bits.

Wood drill bits are responsible for making precise cuts. That’s why it has spurs in the middle to make sure that the drill is guided to drill in a straight line to avoid any jams and drill bits from breaking.

  • Materials Used In Making the Wood Drill Bits

It’s vital to choose a drill bit made of suitable materials and good coatings to maintain the drill bit’s quality over time.

Generally, you have two options to choose from when it comes to the materials used in making wood drill bits.

  1. Carbon– Carbon is light but compact steel that’s very durable. A low-carbon drill bit will be significant for softwood, while a high-carbon drill bit is excellent for hardwood since it doesn’t require frequent sharpening.
  2. HSS (High-Speed Steel)– HSS, also known as high-speed-steel. It’s the highest quality material for wood drill bits because it can handle high heat while maintaining its hardness and structure.

When choosing a wood drill bit, the material used is not the only thing you need to look out for. Here are the several coatings that can be found in wood drill bits:

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  • Titanium– Titanium is the most common coating since it’s resistant to corrosion and reasonably lightweight. It can also withstand high temperatures.
  • Cobalt– The cobalt coating is primarily used for metal drilling. However, it’s not necessary to choose this coating if you only need these drills for woodwork.
  • Zirconium – The zirconium coating is excellent for making accurate cuts because it reduces friction and has added durability because of the mixture of zirconium nitride present in this coating.

Small Tips for Maintaining Wood Drill Bits

Once you know which wood drill bits you should choose for your woodworking needs, here are small maintenance tips to make sure that they provide you with clean, precise, and quality cuts for long periods.

  • Store them Correctly

This may be one of the most valuable tips you can get out there and store them correctly and adequately. If your wood drill bit came in a set with a plastic container/storage boxes, make sure you return them to their designated places.

  • Clean them After Use

Many people just dump their wood drill bits in their toolbox and call it a day. Make it a habit to clean your drill bits after you use them. Make sure you wipe them or clean them with towels to ensure that they’re clean for the next job they’re needed.

  • Keep it Dry

If you don’t want your drill bits to be rusted quickly, then you need to avoid moisture and keep them dry in a safe location. This means you’ll prevent rust and corrosion if you keep it dry and stored in a clean environment.

The Different Types of Wood Drill Bits

So, this is the main topic of our article, the different types of wood drill bits and their uses. Before we dive into the different types of wood drill bits, it’s best to understand the various methods & materials drill bit manufacturers do to increase the bit life and reduce friction.

According to ProToolReviews, Drill bits are made from steel, high-speed steel (HSS)—which is steel alloyed with tungsten and/or molybdenum, HSS with a cobalt alloy, HSS with titanium coating, HSS with black oxide coating, or carbide tipped.

As we all know, there are different types of drill bits for unique jobs and purposes. Hence, that’s why engineers over the years have invented different kinds of wood drill bits along the way to improve the efficiency in every specific task the drill bit is made to do.

If there are any reliable and trusted videos out there featuring how to use these bits as well, we’ll make sure to include them in the designated type of wood drill bits.

Without wasting any more of your time, here are the different types of wood drill bits featuring how they’re used, what they are commonly used for, and some specifications separating them from other drill bits:

Spade Bit

The spade bit is used for standard and general wood drilling. Spade bits have a broad flat area for drilling holes with larger diameters. You may also need to stand back while using this drill bit because it doesn’t have flutes. Make sure to wear protective glasses while you’re drilling.

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Watch Ozito DIY’s video on How to Use a Spade Bit for additional info on what you need to know about spade bits.

YouTube video

Overall, the spade bit is one of the standard boring tools you’ll find on the market today. You’ll be able to tell if it’s a spade bit if it doesn’t have flutes and has a flat face with a spur in the middle that guides the drill to bore in a straight line.

Hole Saw

A hole saw is like a coring drill bit, but for wood. It recovers a part of the wood and uses a pilot hole in the bit itself to eject the wood that it has gathered from the bit’s teeth. However, not all hole saws can recover cores, some work like spade bits; it just bores through the wood.

Need a visual aid? Watch This Old Houses’ video covering How to Use a Hole Saw, you might learn a thing or two after watching that.

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Hole saws are commonly used for drilling out locksets for doors. Generally speaking, hole saws aren’t specifically available for woodwork only. You can also find hole saws for steel.

Self-Feeding Bit

The self-feeding bit is sometimes confused with a Forstner bit. It’s generally used to make larger holes. Unlike other wood drill bits, its main job is just boring through the wood, regardless if it did a smooth job or not.

It also includes a threaded tip similar to the Auger bit, which means it will pull through the wood much better by having an extra grip to the surface, compared to most Spade bits that don’t have flutes at all.

Summing things up, self-feeding bits are much more aggressive than more significant diameter drill bits because of the composition of the cutting edges found in the drill bit itself.

Installer Bits (Also known as Fishing or Bell Hanger Bits)

The installer bits kind of has a unique function when it comes to wood drilling. Electricians usually use them for pulling wires perfect for an electrician’s work. Some installer bits even feature a hole near the tip of the bit for pulling wires.

Forstner Bits

Unlike most wood drill bits, the Forstner bits can bore through walls or create a bottomed-out hole for creating cabinet hinges or similar applications. It’s designed to create perfectly smooth holes that can be done off-center or angled holes.

Here’s additional info provided by the Stumpy Nubs discussing What you need to know about Forstner Bits.

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Brad Point

This may be the best choice amongst the different wood drill bits you can choose from the list in terms of having a smoothly drilled hole. It’s designed to make a perfectly accurate hole from the start if you need a really precise cut/hole in your wooden surface.

Want to see the Brad Point bit in action? Watch RobCosman’s video about Brad Point Drill Bits and see how it’s used in the video.

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The sharp point of a brad point bit helps the bit to be in a better position to make smooth, accurate, and precise cuts that can be perfect for performing acute drilling.

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Countersink Bits

Are you familiar with wall anchors? Well, if you decide to install fasteners such as wall anchors, then using a countersink bit is your best bet. The diameters of countersink bits aren’t really thick, so they’re perfect for drilling pilot holes.

Auger Bits

The auger bit is commonly recognized by the threaded tip present on the drill bit. This type of bit has this kind of design to make sure that it can pull through the wood much faster with its force and excellent geometry of how it moves while drilling.

It maintains a constant flute throughout the drilling by forcing the drill to operate at the same speed during the boring/drilling process.

Twist Drill Bit

The twist drill bit is the most common drill bit and is used for general purposes. It comes in different diameters, and it’s excellent for softwood. However, the softwood can get stuck while you’re drilling in the wood, so make sure you gently remove it with a brush or by blowing it off.

Factors That Affect Choosing the Right Wood Drill Bit for The Job

Now that you know what makes a good drill bit, some maintenance tips to ensure that your drill bits don’t break down so quickly over time, you need to know the different factors that affect choosing the right wood drill bit for the job.

Even if you know the different types of wood drill bits, not knowing what’s best for the job will only waste a lot of time and money.

That’s why we’re here to guide you so that you can understand the primary factors that affect your decision in choosing the wood drill bit.

Without further ado, here are the primary factors that you need to know before choosing the right wood drill bit for the job:

Type of Wood You’re Drilling On

There are two general classifications of wood that you’re going to be drilling on softwood and hardwood. This is a determining factor because choosing the wrong drill bit can give you unwanted results, such as rough edges or less accurate holes.

Here are the best possible wood drill bits according to the wood type you’re drilling on:

  • Softwood – Softwoods are typically found in apartment walls where force is not really required when drilling, so if you’re drilling for common applications such as installing fasteners, then a twist drill bit should be enough to make precise holes.
  • Hardwood – If you want smoother holes in various diameters, then you can use a brad point. However, if your drilling purpose is solely to make a hole, then the aggressive boring technique of a self-feeding bit should not be too bad for you.

To make sure you won’t be disappointed with what drill bit you choose, know what type of wood you’re going to drill on before you actually start the drilling process.

What Kind of Hole is Needed to be Drilled/Bored

The kind of hole you’re drilling is important as well. For example, if you wanted to drill pilot holes for fasteners such as wall anchors, then using a countersink bit is the best one for the job.

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However, if you’re somehow a technician or want to pull out wires, then the best job is using an installer bit. Some installer bits may even feature a hole near the tip of the bit to make sure the electrician’s job is made more accessible when pulling out the wires.

Shape, Angle, or Edge of the Drill Bit Point

Similar to the material and the coating used to make a wood drill bit, its shape, angle, and edge also matter when choosing it for a particular job.

Some drill bits are made for softwood, and some for hardwood. Some create smooth edges, and some create rough edges.

The Size of the Drill Bit

Different drill bits come in different sizes, and different drill bit sizes can mean other purposes.

For example, you use a hole saw to drill holes for the door’s locksets, while you use a Forstner bit to drill holes for cabinet hinges. Different bit size, different purposes.

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Wood Drill Bits – Frequently Asked Questions

What are flat wood drill bits used for?

These are usually common for drilling holes in wood with larger diameters. However, there’s a flaw to drilling with flat wood drill bits because they give off a somewhat rough finish compared to the alternative drill bits available to you.

What is a spur point drill bit?

Also known as a dowel or wood drill bit, it’s specifically designed to make sure that your drill bit can drill on wood on a straight line.

The drill bits cut wood very fast because of the features that make wood bits unique, from its brad point, cutting spurs, and wide flutes, it can create precise holes that are clean and parallel.

Are wood drill bits standard in furniture making?

Yes! Most definitely. Usually, they’re used to create sofas, cabinets, and drawers, where using a wood drill bit is essential to make sure you have a precise and accurate measurement of the hole you’re going to create.

Are wood drill bits expensive?

It comes down to what type of drill bit you’re going to buy. Throughout the years, drill bits haven’t been much of an issue when it comes to the financial part of construction projects despite getting replaced every time it becomes dull or if it accidentally snaps.

What makes wood drill bits unique?

They’re unique for their shape, geometry, and design. You commonly see these long drills with flutes or flat wood drill bits or even a bit that creates bottomed-out holes that have been made explicitly for drilling on wood.

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