How to Drill Long Straight Holes in Wood

February 5, 2022

Drilling long holes in wood blocks.

If ever you have tried drilling long straight holes in wood, you will quickly discover that it is not an easy task. You might make gradual progress after a few millimeters of drilling. Yet, as you plod deeper and apply more pressure, the drill bit might slide to one side. Besides, as you increase the rotational speed of the bit, things can get a bit awry and uncontrollable. 

Adding to this issue is the jerkiness of human hands. Without the help of drilling accessories and straight hole drilling jigs, you might end up ruining your projects. Such a thing is unforgivable, especially if you don’t have enough resources and money to afford a trial-and-error drilling process. 

Steps on Drilling Long Straight Holes in Wood

If it is your first time drilling long straight holes in wood, you might be a bit tentative and unsure of how to do it. So, it will be best to learn the following simple steps and techniques when drilling long holes:

Step 1: Find the Suitable Drill and Bits for the Task

When drilling long holes, you should first prepare the tools and materials you would use and need. For drilling long straight holes, you need to select the correct drill. Drills come in different varieties. Moreover, you’ll find myriads of drill brands and models out there. If you prefer cordless, then go for something run by batteries. If you like corded drills because you feel confident when using them, go for a corded drill. 

Once you’ve chosen the proper drill for your needs, choose likewise the drill bits you will use. If you would drill an eight inches hole, you will need to choose two sizes of bits. Get yourself six-inch and twelve-inch drill bits. With the right drill bits, you can lessen the pressure on your drill.

Step 2: Set Up the Jigs

Once you’ve prepared and selected the drill and bits you will use, you can set up the jig. You can utilize unused plywood for this purpose. Measure the board based on what you need. If you intend to make an 8″ hole, choose plywood with a size ranging from twenty inches to 30 inches. If you already have the plywood piece, you can set them on your steel or wooden table by clamping them on the table. 

Ensure that the table is more extensive than your plywood. Then, set the drill by turning it upside down while you clamp it firmly with the plywood. You must secure the plywood and the drill with a clamp to provide the power drill with enough stability while you drill. Then, clamp the blocks onto the table. Check the levels from each direction. Make some adjustments if needed.

Step 3: Fix the Dowel

Another thing you should not forget is the fixing of the dowel security. You can create a V-shaped channel for the dowel using a table saw. In this way, you can make your drilling smooth. You can use any leftover stair nose stock or bullnose stock for this purpose.

The thing is, you will need a board with the right length to screw upside down to it the bullnose. You can use a 6-inch board for this purpose. Then, clamp the plywood and board. The center of the dowel must be parallel to the drill. You can utilize tiny shims for adjusting the position of the board.

Step 4: You Can Start Drilling

Once you’ve set up everything, you can begin drilling. You can start by making a 1/8″ hole through the length of the workpiece. Decide about the center point of the hole. Stick with one diameter bit throughout the entire process. Using the 1/8″ bit, you can start drilling a 3″ long hole that remains straight. Then, you can transition to the use of a 6″ drill bit. 

You should refrain from drilling out of track. Once you are about to reach the end of the 6″ drill bit, transition to using a 12″ drill bit. You should check the level once again. Ensure that you’re drilling parallel with the stock. Besides, during the drilling process, stop every once in a while to clear sawdust away. 

Clearing sawdust is a must because, with a clear path, you can drill well without any shift in your drilling course. If you use a corded drill, you will need someone to turn the equipment on and off. Hence, the cordless version comes with an advantage in this case.

Additional Tips for Drilling Long Straight Holes

You can employ several well-known and proven techniques to drill long straight holes without faltering. You can use an old CD, for example, to guide you in the drilling process. This method works. You can set in place the CD where you would like to drill. Position it perfectly so that its center hole lies directly over the point where you will drill. Then, start drilling. You can also use the abovementioned V-shaped guide tools or angles for this purpose. 

When drilling wood, you will deal either with softwood or hardwood. You can use your cordless drill in drilling through either softwood or hardwood. You can also use the Milescraft Drillblock for drilling long and straight holes. This tool is an innovative tool for drilling holes. It is inexpensive, but it does help make drilling easy. 

You can also utilize reusable jigs for this purpose. You can make this jig or purchase one for your use. Moreover, you can also turn your hand drill into a veritable portable drill press.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Aside from knowing the straightforward steps and tips on how to drill long and straight holes in wood, you can also learn from the following FAQs about how to drill long and straight holes:

Which Drill Bits Are Best for Woodworking?

As you search for the perfect drill bits, you will soon discover that three drill bit types work perfectly well on wood. You will find spade bits for drilling large holes. You will also find auger bits for fast and quick cutting. Lastly, you will find Forstner bits for countersink and clean holes.

Why Does My Drill Bit Fail to Go Through the Wood?

One reason your drill bit will not drill through wood is due to dullness. If the reason is the dullness of the bit, then it will be best to get yourself a new and sharper drill bit.

How can you drill in wood without splintering the wood?

You can prevent wood splintering if you use painter’s tape over the spot you intend to drill. After drilling, you can simply pull off this tape. 

What are the Pros of Using a Drill Press Over a Hand Drill?

If you got the extra money to buy a drill press, then you’re lucky, for the drill press affords you some advantages. It can enable you to drill at an accurate angle. It can also let you drill identical-sized holes with identical depths.


The best way to drill a long straight hole is via the use of a drill press. Yet, if you don’t enjoy the luxury of having a drill press, you need to be innovative enough in devising a way to drill a perfectly straight long hole. As a beginner, of course, you will be at uncertain about how to do it. Yet, as you become more experienced in woodworking and learn the different techniques and tricks on how to drill straight long holes, you can surely master the drilling process. 

The simple steps provided above can help you go through the drilling process with ease and confidence. You can follow the abovementioned steps and employ simple tricks to ensure that you will perfectly drill that elusive straight hole for your project.

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