How to Use Left Hand Drill Bits?

How to Use Left Hand Drill Bits?

For the do-it-yourselfers who want to take their projects to the next level, left-hand drills are a must-have. This guide will give you all the tips and tricks you need to become a pro at left-hand drilling, one of the most effective methods for cutting tough materials like wood, metal, and stone. Whether you’re doing repairs around your home or crafting intricate works of art, left-hand drills can help make your work easier and more precise than ever before!

What are Left-Handed Drill Bits for?

Left-handed drill bits are specially designed to drill holes in metal and other hard materials in an anti-clockwise (or “counterclockwise”) direction. This is the opposite of regular drill bits, which rotate clockwise. Left-handed drill bits have a left-hand spiral flute pattern that allows them to cut into the material when turning counterclockwise as opposed to regular drill bits which tend to push the material away when turning clockwise.

Left-handed drill bits are ideal for use with sheet metal, stainless steel, aluminum, and hardened steel.

What are Left-Handed Drill Bits for?

They can also be used on softer metals such as copper or brass but take more time and effort to do so. The angled flutes allow for much faster drilling and produce a cleaner hole than regular drill bits. Additionally, left-handed drill bits are less likely to bind or break when drilling in these materials.

Left-handed drill bits can be used by both professional tradespeople and DIYers alike, however, they are most commonly used by automotive mechanics, machinists, HVAC technicians, aircraft maintenance personnel, and other professionals who need to quickly and accurately drill into hard materials regularly. Left-handed drill bits may require more skill to use but the resulting holes will be accurate and clean which is why many professionals prefer to use them over regular drill bits. Furthermore, left-handed drill bit sets tend to cost less than their right-handed counterparts so it’s often worth investing in one if you do a lot of drilling in hard materials.

Ultimately, left-handed drill bits are an invaluable tool for anyone who needs to quickly and accurately drill into hard materials. They can produce cleaner holes, save time on the job, and cost less than right-handed drill bit sets so they’re definitely worth considering if you’re in the market for a new set of drills [1].

About Left-Handed Drill Bits


Left-handed drill bits are not as widely known or used as right-handed drill bits, but their use dates back to the late 19th century. In 1885, an English patent was granted for a left-hand twist drill bit by George Richard Burgess. This invention revolutionized the machining industry and changed the way metal is cut and formed in modern times.

About Left-Handed Drill Bits


Left-handed twist drills have a reverse spiral design that allows them to cut through metal in a counterclockwise motion. This design provides two benefits: it reduces the risk of “walking” (when the drill slips and moves across the surface) and it creates less torque when drilling into hard materials.


Left-handed drill bits are commonly used in a variety of applications, including metalworking, woodworking, automotive repair, and even medical procedures. They are especially useful for drilling into hard materials such as stainless steel or titanium alloys. Left-handed twist drills can also be used to create intricate holes with tight tolerances.


There are several advantages to using left-handed drill bits over traditional right-handed ones. For example, they provide smoother cutting action due to their reverse spiral design and generate less torque when drilling into hard materials. Furthermore, left-handed drills are better suited for drilling deep holes since they offer increased stability and less risk of slipping or walking across the surface. Additionally, their unique design allows for more precise control and accuracy when creating intricate holes.


Left-handed drill bits are typically available in the same sizes and lengths as their right-handed counterparts. They can be purchased at most hardware stores or online from various suppliers. Additionally, they are often included as part of a specialty set for metalworking and woodworking projects.

About Left-Handed Drill Bits


Left-handed drill bits come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including straight flute, stubby, jobber length, screw machine, and extra-long twist drills. They are also available in different coatings such as black oxide or titanium nitride for improved wear resistance. Additionally, some left-handed bits feature specialized designs such as variable flutes for increased cutting performance.

6-Step Guide on How to Use Left-Handed Drill Bits to Drill a Bolt

Step 1 – Gather the Necessary Tools

Before beginning to drill a bolt with a left-handed drill bit, it’s important to have all the proper tools and materials. You’ll need:

  • Left-handed drill bit
  • Electric drill
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Wrench or adjustable wrench (to remove bolts)

Step 2 – Wear Safety Gear

Before drilling any bolt, it’s important to make sure you are wearing the proper safety gear. Safety glasses will protect your eyes from metal shavings and debris that can fly off while drilling. Work gloves will protect the sharp edges of bolts and drill bits.

Step 3 – Mark the Bolt’s Position and Center Point

Using a pencil, mark the center point of where you want the hole on the face of the bolt. This will serve as your reference point while drilling. Make sure that you measure twice and mark only once!

Step 4 – Securely Attach the Drill Bit to Your Electric Drill

Securely attach your left-handed drill bit to your electric drill. Make sure the drill bit is tightly secured and will not move or shift while drilling.

Step 5 – Drilling the Bolt with Your Left-Handed Drill Bit

Position the drill over the marked center point of the bolt, making sure that it’s securely placed on the surface. Turn on your electric drill and begin slowly drilling into the bolt using a left-handed spiral motion. As you start drilling, make sure to keep even pressure on both sides of the drill bit and do not apply too much pressure at once as this could cause serious injury. Continue slowly drilling until you have reached your desired depth. Once finished, turn off your electric drill and remove any excess debris from around the hole.

Step 6 – Use the Screw Extractor

If there are any remaining pieces of the bolt in the hole, you can use a screw extractor to remove them. Insert the screw extractor into the hole and gently turn in a counter-clockwise direction until all pieces have been completely removed [2].

6-Step Guide on How to Use Left-Handed Drill Bits to Drill a Bolt

In what DIY projects can you use left-hand drill bits?

Left-hand drill bits can be used in many DIY projects. Here are some of them:

  • Drilling pilot holes for wood screws – left-hand drill bits can be used to create a counterclockwise thread when drilling into wood, making it easier for the screw to thread in and hold more securely.
  • Unscrewing stubborn bolts or screws – Left-hand drill bits can easily unscrew bolts or screws that are stuck due to corrosion. The reverse rotation of the bit helps break loose the grip of rust on the threads.
  • Removing stripped screws – Left-hand drill bits are also great for removing stripped screws since they tend to bite into them rather than slip off as regular drill bits would. This makes them ideal for salvage jobs where you need to remove a damaged screw without damaging anything else around it.
  • Drilling out broken taps – Left-hand drill bits are excellent for drilling out broken taps that have become stuck in the hole. The reverse rotation helps to break loose the grip of rust on the tap, allowing it to be removed easily without damaging anything nearby.

With their reverse rotation, left-hand drill bits can help you complete a wide variety of DIY projects with ease. Whether you’re installing wood screws or removing a stripped screw, these special drill bits will make any job much easier and more efficient.

What Are Some Safety Tips to Consider When Using a Left-Hand Drill Bit?

When using left-hand drill bits, certain safety tips must be followed to ensure proper safety and use of the drill bit. First, make sure that you are using the correct size bit for the job, as oversized bits can cause accidents due to larger amounts of torque being applied. Second, always wear protective eyewear when using any type of power tool.

Thirdly, keep fingers and other body parts away from the spinning bit at all times. It is also important to be aware of pinch points, which occur when a part becomes stuck between two moving parts. Lastly, unplug or turn off your drill before making any adjustments or changing out bits. Following these safety tips will help protect you and others while working with left-hand drill bits.

Finally, pay attention to what is going on around you and be aware of any potential hazards. Focusing on safety while using power tools will help ensure that everyone stays safe during a job or repair. By following these simple steps, you can safely use left-hand drill bits and complete any job with confidence.

What Are Some Safety Tips to Consider When Using a Left-Hand Drill Bit?

How to maintain drill bits?

Drill bits can last a long time if properly maintained. Here are some tips for keeping your drill bits in top shape:

  • Clean your drill bits regularly with an approved cleaning solution and a soft brush. This will remove any built-up debris that could lead to premature wear.
  • Avoid using the same drill bit over and over without changing it out occasionally as this may cause dulling or breakage of the bit’s cutting edges.
  • Use the correct size and type of drill bit for the material you’re drilling into, such as wood, plastic, metal, etc., as different materials require different types of bits to perform best.
  • Replace dull or broken drill bits as soon as possible to avoid further damage and ensure the best performance of your drills.
  • Store your drill bits properly in a cool, dry place away from extreme temperatures and humidity.
  • Sharpen the cutting edges of your drill bits when necessary with a sharpening stone to extend their life and keep them performing at their peak level. Following these tips will help keep your drill bits in good working condition for many years to come!

How to maintain drill bits?


Do you use left-hand drill bits in reverse?

No, left-hand drill bits should not be used in reverse. They are designed to cut into materials in a specific way and using them incorrectly can cause damage to the bit, as well as the material it is cutting into. It is best to always use the correct orientation when drilling. Additionally, when possible, use a lubricant to help reduce wear and tear on the bit.

Are there any tips for extending the life of my drill bits?

Yes! There are some things you can do to get more out of your drill bits:

  • Inspect each bit before use and discard any that appear worn or damaged
  • Use appropriate speed settings for both hard and soft materials
  • Clean bits regularly with an appropriate solvent
  • Use a lubricant to reduce friction
  • Store bits in a cool, dry place
  • Avoid shock and vibration when drilling
  • Take care when removing the bit from the material being drilled. Never use excessive force or torque.

By following these tips, you can extend the life of your drill bits and get more out of your investment.

Why would you need a left-handed drill bit?

Left-handed drill bits are designed to cut into materials in a counterclockwise direction — the opposite of the standard clockwise rotation. This allows them to work in tight spots or areas where a regular drill bit would not be able to reach. They are especially useful when drilling through material that has already been previously drilled and tapped, as well as for drilling out broken screws and bolts that have become stuck in place.

Left-hand drill bits can also be used for creating left-handed threads on pipe fittings, which is often necessary when installing plumbing fixtures. In short, anytime you need to make a counterclockwise cut or thread, a left-handed drill bit may be the best option for the job.

How should I clean my drill bits?

Drill bits should be cleaned regularly with a suitable solvent such as acetone, mineral spirits, or denatured alcohol. After cleaning, ensure that all traces of the solvent are removed and that the bit is dry before use. Additionally, lubricant can be used to help reduce wear and tear on drill bits and extend their life.

When storing drill bits, make sure they are kept in a dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. This will help prevent rusting and corrosion that could otherwise shorten the life of your drill bits.

Do you go right or left with the drill bit?

The direction of drilling depends on the type and material you are working with. Generally, drill bits should be used in a clockwise rotation when drilling into metal, wood, or other hard materials. When drilling through softer materials such as plastic or drywall, a counterclockwise (left-hand) rotation is recommended to reduce friction and prevent damage to the bit. Additionally, if you are using a left-handed bit for creating threads on a pipe fitting, then it should be used in a counterclockwise direction. Be sure to double-check your drill bit’s instructions before use to make sure you are using it correctly!

How can I sharpen my left-handed drill bit?

Left-handed drill bits should not be sharpened. Instead, they can be dressed with an abrasive stone to remove any burrs or nicks that may have been caused during use. A clean, dry rag should then be used to wipe away any remaining debris. If the bit appears excessively worn or damaged, it should be replaced rather than attempting to dress it and reuse it. Additionally, regular cleaning and lubrication of your left-handed drill bits can help reduce wear and make them last longer.

Do all drills come with reverse gear?

No, not all drills come with a reverse gear. Depending on the type of drill you are using, it may be possible to switch the direction of rotation manually or by using a clutch setting. If your drill does not have a reverse feature, then you will need to purchase a separate left-handed drill bit for cutting in opposite directions. Additionally, some cordless drills do offer an electronic reversing switch that can be used to quickly change the rotation settings without having to exchange drill bits. Before attempting to use a left-handed bit in any drilling application, make sure that your drill is capable of operating in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions.

What is the difference between high-speed steel (HSS) and cobalt drill bits?

High-speed steel (HSS) and cobalt drill bits are both used for drilling into harder materials such as metals. High-speed steel is the most commonly used type of drill bit and is typically less expensive than cobalt. However, HSS bits tend to wear out quicker than cobalt bits due to their softer construction. Cobalt drill bits are much harder and more durable than HSS bits, making them ideal for applications where high levels of precision are required. They also have a longer service life and can withstand higher temperatures when drilling into hard materials. Cobalt drill bits tend to be more expensive than HSS, but they may be worth it if you need extra durability or better accuracy for your project.

What Do R and L Mean On a Drill?

R and L refer to the direction of rotation for a drill bit. R stands for clockwise (right-hand) rotation while L stands for counterclockwise (left-hand) rotation. Knowing which direction your drill is rotating in is essential when drilling into different materials, as using the wrong orientation can cause damage to both the bit and the material it is cutting into. It is important to always use the correct orientation when drilling, as well as a lubricant whenever possible, to help reduce wear and tear on the bit.

Additionally, some drills come with an electronic reverse switch that allows you to quickly change between clockwise and counterclockwise rotation without having to exchange drill bits. This can be extremely helpful if you need to make a change in the middle of a project. As always, be sure to read your drill’s instructions carefully before use to make sure you are using it correctly.

Useful Video: Remove Broken Bolts, Drill Bits, Taps and EZ Out Screw Extractors

Conclusion Paragraph

Using left-hand drill bits can have many benefits for individuals and businesses alike. For the individual user, a left-hand drill bit allows for faster drilling with less effort, which can be especially beneficial in tight spaces or when working with delicate materials. For businesses, left-hand drill bits are often more cost-effective and efficient than traditional right-handed drill bits. With their convenience and cost savings, left-hand drill bits can help companies save time and money while increasing productivity. Ultimately, the use of left-hand drill bits is an excellent way to improve efficiency and reduce costs without sacrificing quality.