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How to use an auger bit?

How to use an auger bit?

Shop for Auger Bits
An example of an auger bit With a little attention to a few small details, auger bits can cut deep holes in wood with little effort required from the user.

Setting up

A guide screw on an auger bit The guide screw on an auger bit is exceptionally useful. It assists in the drilling of accurate holes and pulls the bit through the workpiece, reducing the amount of pressure that needs to be applied to the drill. However, in the wrong circumstances it can be a hindrance to drilling, and can bite into the workpiece too aggressively, causing it to spin, or causing damage to the drill bit.
Image to advise DIYers to work slowly with their auger bit To avoid this, make sure your drill is set to a low speed before you start drilling: 500-750 rpm (revolutions per minute) on a drill press or the lowest gear on a variable speed drill.
A plane with a propeller to illustrate what your workpiece will look like if the auger bit bites onto it and it isn't clamped down If you are intending to use an auger bit on a drill press, use a bit with a gimlet point rather than a guide screw wherever possible. Otherwise, make sure you clamp your workpiece down to prevent it from spinning like a propeller on the end of your auger bit!
Image reminding DIYers to check that their auger bit is wide enough and long enough for the task they are trying to complete Make sure you choose a bit that has the right diameter for your project, and is long enough to drill the depth of hole you are looking for.

Drilling the hole

Image of a clamp to remind DIYers to secure their workpiece before they start drilling

Step 1 – Secure workpiece

Make sure your workpiece is secured in a vice, or clamped to your drill press table.

Image advising DIYers to locate their auger bit on the centre mark of their proposed bore hole before they start the drilling process

Step 2 – Align drill bit

Line up the centre of your guide screw, or gimlet point, with the point where you need to bore your hole. If you are using a barefoot auger, you will need to do this by eye (you will need to try to locate the mark underneath the centre point of the drill bit as best as possible).

For a description of barefoot augers, see: What are the parts of a an auger bit?

Image showing an auger bit guide screw engaging with a plank of wood

Step 3 – Activate drill

With the bit in contact with your workpiece, activate your drill (or begin turning if you are using a hand brace). The guide screw of your bit will enter the workpiece and the bit will begin the boring process.

Don't apply too much pressure when drilling with an auger bit Don’t apply too much downward pressure. You should not need to lean on the bit or push down as you drill, as the bit will effectively pull itself through the workpiece on its own.
Instruction to withdraw the bit from the hole while it is still spinning so that it creates a clean borehole

Step 4 – Withdraw bit

Once you have drilled through your hole, activate your drill again as you remove the bit from the hole. This will clear the flighting of any remaining wood shavings as it is withdrawn.

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