14 Drilling Tips for Wood, Steel, Concrete and Glass

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Drilling tips will make the task easy. All 15 tips are extracted from my user experience and those will really help you to smooth and fast drilling process. Drilling is done for anchoring, driving screws, and connecting with nails purposes. Whatever purpose we use, these tips will be useful for you in any material such as wood, concrete, metal, and glass.

When you start drilling, you should know the material properties. According to that, you should use the most efficient drill and drill bit. The efficiency of these tips can be changed according to the user to user. So let’s see what are the tips and how can we apply them in real life.

1. Use High RPM for Wood

When you drill into the wood you can use these drill bits, and you should use high RPM. You will need well sharpen the drill bit. When the drill bit is rotating fastly, the hole will be cut smoothly. If you do not use high RPM, you can see the splintered start and you can have a rough hole inner surface due to low cutting speed.

Drillbit Diameter
Softwood (Pine)
Hardwood (Hard Marple)
1/16 – 3/1630003000
1/4 – 3/830001500
7/16 – 5/81500750
1 1/16 – 1750500
1/4 – 3/82400700
1/2 – 5/82400500
1 1/8 – 1 1/41000250
1 3/8 – 2500250
1/4 – 1/220001500
1 1/8 – 1 1/215001000
1 5/8 – 21200700
Drillbit size and cutting speed Source

2. Use Low RPM for Concrete, Metal, and Glass

Concrete and metals are hard materials. When drilling hard materials like concrete, bricks, and stone, you will need more power and torque with a masonry drill bit. In order to increase the torque, you have to reduce the RPM of the drill. If you use a high RPM value tool and the drill bit overheats quickly, the drill bit will be melted due to friction of the hard material and drill bit.

Low RPM is safe for the user, and it will provide maximum efficiency. You can use 350-800 RPM for concrete drilling speed, and for the metal, 350 – 1000 RPM you can use.

When you are drilling glasses, you should keep a low RPM. Glass is really brittle material. If there is any small mistake, it can be brake and damage to the user. So when you drill into the glass, use low RPM as metal.

3. Start with a Pilot Hole

pilot hole in wood
Start with a pilot hole

A pilot hole is significant for screw driving and further drilling with large-diameter drill bits. A pilot hole is a predrilled hole using a small diameter drill bit.

For a successful drilling method, you should follow the correct ways and methods. A pilot hole is one of the successful approaches to the drilling process. When you start with a pilot hole, your drilling will be safe, accurate, speedy, and efficient.

If you drill inclined, vertically or even horizontally, the drill bit can be moved here and there due to smooth surface conditions. This can be affected by user safety and drilling speed, but if you are able to prepare a pilot hole, you can start drilling with confidence and start with high RPM. If you drill inclined, this will be really important for you to place the drill bit in the right place.

You can drill a pilot hole using this guide.

4. Use a Tape as a Depth Marker

tape to mark drill depth
Use tape to mark the drilling depth

You can use tape around the drill bit to identify the depth you have to drill. Some drills are with a depth gauge. But if you do not have it, use tape around the drill bit. It will be easy and safe for the drilling process.

When you drill into concrete or brick, inside will be plumbing or any wire that you already know. So if you know the depth of these, you can mark safety depth to be drilled with the tape.

6. Clear the Swarf While Drilling

drill chips
Remove swarf

When you drill metal and wood, you can see shaved debris materials come out. These are called swarfs. You must clan the swarf from the drill bit. Else those can clog the drilled hole and produce additional friction with the hole and drill bit.

You must keep 2 times the diameter length from above the drill bit as fine chips can remove.

If there is no such distance, the swarf can clog inside. When swarf clogs inside drill bit can be hot and using these methods you can cool it. Else it can break easily due to heat. So you can drill step by step process in order to prevent this. If there is swarf, you can use a hand or any tool (avoid heating damage)

6. Use Tape to Prevent Splintering

When you drill wood, you can see splinters on top of the hole and bottom of the hole. Mostly on top of the hole. This can happen due to the loose material in the top. So you can use tape and then drill on it. It will not let to splinters anymore; make sure to maintain high RPM for the wood drilling process.

7. Remove Dust Using Vacuum System

Drilling dust is really harmful to the health. Whatever the material you drill, you can see the dust. Mostly it can be seen with drilling stones, brick and concrete. Prepare a suitable way to remove the drilling dust. You can see many tools are available in the market to remove the dust as well as you can use smart ways for removing dust yourself.

Normally glass dust is hazardous. So when you drill glasses, use water to reduce the glass dust.

8. Start From Center Punch

center-punch on metal work piece
Make centerpunch before drilling

This can be applied to wood, steel and even hard material such as brick and concrete also. Before you start drilling, you had better start it with a punch or using a pilot hole. The puncher makes a small hole in the material, and then you can place the drill bit on it. This punching hole helps to drill bit not to move here and there.

If you drill steel, you can observe drill will move here and there due to the soft surface. When you use a punch, you can see it will not move, and you can start drilling safely.

8. Use Tape for Glass Drilling

tape for glass drilling
Use tape for glass drilling

When you drill the glass, you can see its surface is tough and smooth. On this surface, you are not able to point the drill bit in the exact place. So you can paste a glue tape and then mark the relevant drilling point and start drilling on it.

This is a really successful drilling method for the glass. When you drill glass, you are not able to punch it. So this is a real practical solution for glass drilling.

10. Use Water for Glass Drilling

When you drill glass, you can observe heating and dust. Both these water is essential. Glass dust is dangerous. So when you put the water there, dust will be mixed with water and will not spread to the air. And also, water can reduce the heating of the drill bit and glass.

Before you drill the glass, you had better prepare the small tank using glue. So you will not need to pour the water every time.

water for glass drilling

11. Use Cutting Oil for Metals

Cutting oil is really important for the metal drilling process. The cutting oil acts as a thermal transfer, lubricant and dust remover.

If you do not use cutting oil, the drill bit will overheat and melt. Sometimes drilling machines also overheated due to more frictional force.

12. Start With a Small Drill Bit Size

This is common for metal, wood and concrete. Drilling with a large diameter drill bit requires more torque and power. Sometimes drilling machines can not produce that much power for drilling because drilling is cutting and removing the material using the sharp cutting edge. When the diameter of the drill bit is high, it needs to cut more material in a certain time period.

But if you use a small drill bit, you can do it easily. Small drill bits have a small cutting edge, and the machine is enough to power to cut and remove. When you use a small size bit and then use a large size bit is a really easy task. Because large size does not cut the small drilled space again. So always start a small drill bit before starting with the larger one. It is really helpful to tools, machines and users.

13. Use a Hammer Drill For Concrete, Brick and Stones

Concrete, stones and bricks are high-strength materials. Those can be drilled easily with hammer drills. There are types of drills. Hammer drills and regular drills are the main tools. The regular drill is with just rotational action, and hammer drills are with hammering action. The hammering action is called the drill bit is moving forward and backward with the drill bit.

Drill bit act as a hammer more than its drilling function. Due to this, the material is broken into small particles, and those are removed by the flutes easily. Hammering action is activated when there is enough pressure on the tool. So you had better press a bit to activate the hammering action of the tool. There are types of hammer drills such as combi drills, SDS plus and SDS max. Those are really high-powered, and you can drill both concrete and metal together using the SDS drills.

If you use a hammer drill, you are not able to use a regular drill bit. Because regular drill bits are not able to bear the hammering force and rotational action together, the tool can break easily. For this, you can use a powered drill bit. Carbide is a hard material than stone and concrete. So these can have more hammering power and heat resistance.

Part of the carbide is added to the drill bit, and sometimes the tip is fully designed with the carbide. Those are really high strength and can be used in a wide area.

14. Use SDS Drill Bits for Concrete and Metal Combinations.

Normally slab, beam, and column is constructed with concrete and metals (bars). So if we need to drill through this kind of material, we will need two drill bits. One is a drill for concrete, and another one is cutting the inside rebars. But now, drill bits can be used for both materials together.

These drill bits are made with carbide or cobalt. These drill bits are specially designed for single or quat tips. Quad tips are really powerful and can be used for concrete and metal drilling.

Tom Mackency

Tom Mackency

Hi, I am Tom Mackency. It has been 10 years that I have been working as a professional woodworker since 2013. I am really enjoying my carrier by creating many kinds of projects in my workshop. But mostly I like for home improvement projects. Home improvement and DIY projects are the most interesting things for me. More than that, the coolest things are power tools. Those are very precious and efficient than a decade ago. So I try to introduce so many things about power tools, woodworking, DIY projects, home improvement and many more interesting topics here.

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