Tips for drilling straight pilot holes - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 03-24-2019, 03:03 AM Thread Starter
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Tips for drilling straight pilot holes

I will need to make a box with 3/4" baltic birch 13-ply; sides 3" x 32" butt-jointed to shorter sides using #10 x 2 1/2" flat head screws counter sunk through the faces of the short sides and into the ends of the long ones.

What is the best way to drill 1/8" x 1 3/4" pilot holes straight and true into the ends of such long pieces?

Thanks
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post #2 of 18 Old 03-24-2019, 07:16 AM
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Maybe a hardwood block with side pieces that straddle the thickness. Drill the guide hole in the block on the drill press to make it straight and square.
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post #3 of 18 Old 03-24-2019, 07:23 AM
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Best way ... drill press.

Lacking a drill press, you need a drill "guide" or jig. A drill jig could be an "L" shaped block, one or two pieces glued together, with the short leg acting as the horizontal stop on the end of the board. Then drill a straight, vertical 1/8" hole in at the correct distance from the end, for uniformity of location. Insert the drill bit and check the hole with a square on two sides to make certain it's vertical. If not, make a new block until you get one that is vertical. Make the first jig for vertical holes like the one in the bottom link.

Kinda like this:
https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how...straight-hole/


https://www.todayshomeowner.com/vide...dicular-holes/

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 03-24-2019 at 07:54 AM.
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post #4 of 18 Old 03-24-2019, 01:28 PM
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1/8" drill bits come in different lengths. If you have an unusually long bit, the above guide-block methods might prove accurate enough.

With a standard length bit:

Some drills have a couple built in bubble levels.

Theoretically you mount the bit in a variable speed plunge router.

Or you could clamp the drill stationary, then feed the stock into the bit. For example affix/clamp the drill to a bench top, with the drill bit approximately horizontal. Create a stationary in-feed table with a scrap of plywood/mdf/...) by blocking it up to the correct height, shimming it to be parallel to the bit, then attach a parallel fence to the in-feed table.
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post #5 of 18 Old 03-24-2019, 04:15 PM
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Practice and patience, the screws don't have to be exactly dead on, get comfortable with a hand drill and go for it.
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post #6 of 18 Old 03-24-2019, 06:49 PM
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Honestly ive never bothered with anything fancy for screw pilots. Get yourself situated so that you can sight down the length of the drill, keep it in line with the long piece youre trying to drill into. Eyes are surprisingly sensitive to straight lines, its pretty easy to tell when one line isnt parallel to another. Bit trickier in the middle of a board, but thats not what youre trying to do by the sound of it

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post #7 of 18 Old 03-24-2019, 09:05 PM
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Spend about 7 bucks and try this. It works.


https://www.amazon.com/Milescraft-13.../dp/B00F1ZJFZK
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post #8 of 18 Old 03-24-2019, 09:06 PM
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Spend about 7 bucks and try this. It works, it's easy, no complicated jigs.



Put it where it needs to be and drill.



https://www.amazon.com/Milescraft-13.../dp/B00F1ZJFZK

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post #9 of 18 Old 03-24-2019, 10:45 PM
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it'd get the bit in about 1", then bottom out. I like the v-channel on the bottom side.



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post #10 of 18 Old 03-25-2019, 12:05 AM
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You're making a box with 90 corners from Baltic birch plywood.

Use some TiteBond III and just glue the box together. Start with the two long sides and a short side. Use the bottom, but not glued, to keep box square. After the glue sets for an hour, glue the bottom and remaining side. You'll only need two clamps.

If you are really paranoid you can shoot some nails or use the screws. I wouldn't as the glue is stronger than using screws.
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post #11 of 18 Old 03-25-2019, 10:54 AM
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You are overthinking it. A lot.

I like @NoThankyou's answer the best. Just clamp and glue it with wood glue. No screws necessary.

Most people learn to drill reasonably straight and square with a hand drill. If you are using screws to clamp plywood together, the drill holes don't have to be perfectly straight and square, just reasonably so. If you want to improve your confidence, start drilling a bunch of holes in scrapwood until you feel comfortable drilling holes without a guide. It won't take long.

Drill guides can be useful. I use them on occasion, like when I need to make perfectly square, perfectly spaced holes for shelf pegs. I make one from a scrap 2x4 on a drill press. The problem with drill guides made from wood is the holes enlarge as you use them. They should be considered "disposable."

Drill guides with metal sleeves are simple, cheap, and helpful. They don't enlarge like wood. Buy a nice set of split type stop collars to work with them. After a short time, you won't bother with the drill guides and stop collars. Much of the time you will guide by eye, with a piece of tape to show you where to stop. ;-)
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post #12 of 18 Old 03-25-2019, 11:42 AM
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Use a brad point bit for less wandering.

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post #13 of 18 Old 03-25-2019, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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I Don't think end-gluing Baltic birch would be any better than the notoriously poor strength of end-grain glue joints of solid wood, or am I mistaken?

In any case, my "box" is the storage bin of a child's desk - like an old school desk with hinged top - whose side walls will include a T-leg that extends to the floor connected to "T" feet for adjustable height. I will have to ship it across country to New York, so it must be built as KD and assembled in situ.

BruceT

Last edited by brucet999; 03-25-2019 at 12:07 PM.
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post #14 of 18 Old 03-25-2019, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ducbsa View Post
Maybe a hardwood block with side pieces that straddle the thickness. Drill the guide hole in the block on the drill press to make it straight and square.
Perfect! Such a jig could be clamped to the end of my long work piece.

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post #15 of 18 Old 03-25-2019, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for that. With metal guides, it would also be more durable than my home-made jig for cross-drilling dowels.

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post #16 of 18 Old 03-25-2019, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucet999 View Post
snip I will have to ship it across country to New York, so it must be built as KD and assembled in situ.
This makes all the difference as to the replies you got from your original post, more info to begin with the better.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #17 of 18 Old 03-25-2019, 01:21 PM
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A drill bushing from Amazon.com mounted in a piece of wood stock will keep it vertical. Mount a second piece to clamp to the plywood for position.

https://www.amazon.com/Drill-Bushing...gateway&sr=8-3

Alternatively get a Harbor Freight doweling jig:https://www.harborfreight.com/self-c...jig-41345.html

Put the 1/8" bushing which has an O.D. of 5/16" in the harbor freight doweling jig's 5/16" bushing. Use some hot glue to keep it from falling out. When you are done a heat gun will soften the hot glue and you can remove the bushing.


And you end up with a doweling jig to boot.
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post #18 of 18 Old 03-25-2019, 01:39 PM
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In this case drill through the face of the short sides with your drill press, use those holes as a guide to drill into the ends of the longer parts, mark the pairs that join together.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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