01 of 07
Drilling an Angled Hole With No Special Tools
When you need to drill a hole in wood at an angle (sometimes called a pocket hole), there are three main ways you can do this.
This article deals with the third method--manually drilling an angled hole, using only a drill and drill bit:
- Drill Press: A drill press is an expensive, standalone tool. Quality drill presses cost in the hundreds of dollars. A drill press is the best possible way to drill an angle. The downside is that you can only work on small pieces of material.
- Pocket Jig:... Pocket jigs are cheap, simple devices that guide your drill bit into the material at an angle. If you need to drill more than a few holes, it may be worth purchasing a pocket jig. Buy From Amazon - Kreg R3 Jr. Pocket Hole Jig System
- Manually: The manual method is more about finesse and patience than fancy tools. You only need a cordless drill and two drill bits of different sizes. One bit is the size of the intended hole; the other bit is half the size of that hole.
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02 of 07
How to Drill at an Angle - Introduction and Safe Zones
First look at the "safe zones" where you will be able to make this kind of apparatus-free hole. Generally, you will not be able to drill holes past a 75 degree angle.
- Zone 1: Safe - From 0 to 45 degrees you can easily make an angled hole.
- Zone 2: Maybe - Between 45-75 degrees, you can still probably make the hole. It helps if you're working with soft wood.
- Zone 3: No - Past 75 degrees the drill will move around too much.
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03 of 07
Choose Starter Drill Bit
What size hole do you want? In this example, you want a 1/4" diameter hole.
Begin by choosing a "starter bit" about half that diameter; in this case, 1/8" or even a bit less.
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04 of 07
First Drill Pilot Hole 90 Degrees to Material
With that starter bit in your drill, first drill a hole in your material at 90 degrees (or, a right angle).
Stop your hole when you're about 1/8"-1/4" into the material. The aim is to produce a hole that is not so long that it fully establishes the 90 degree angle. If the hole is too deep, you will not be able to perform the next step--changing the angle of the hole.
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05 of 07
Shift Pilot Hole From 90 Degrees to Desired Angle
This is really the only tricky move:
With that bit still in your drill, remove the bit from the hole.
Move the drill to the desired angle. Place your bit back in the hole.
Make sure that the bit is firmly seated in the hole. If it is too close to the edge, it will lose grip and skitter away. If it is too deep into the hole, you will not be able to raise your drill at an angle.
Now drill the hole.
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06 of 07
Switch to Larger Bit
Remove the bit from the drill. Change to your larger bit (of the desired diameter).
In most cases, you only need to step up bit sizes once. But if you want to drill an eventual hole of 1/2" or more, you may find it easier to step up twice (1/8", then 1/4", then the 1/2" bit).
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07 of 07
Make Hole of Desired Angle and DiameterWith the correctly sized drill bit, enlarge the angled hole previously made.