Why Won’t My Drill Bit Go Through Wood?

Why Won’t My Drill Bit Go Through Wood?

Are you having a hard time making holes in wood? If so, you are not alone. Many people struggle to make clean, straight holes in wood, though it doesn’t have to be that way. Here, we will explore why your drill bit won’t go through wood and give you helpful tips and tricks for getting the job done quickly and efficiently. Start tapping into your inner carpenter and get ready to revolutionize your woodworking experience!

Why Your Drill Bit Won’t Get Through Wood

When you can’t get the drill bit to penetrate wood, it can be extremely frustrating. There are a few common mistakes that cause this issue. Knowing what these errors are and how to fix them will help make drilling easier and more efficient.

Why Your Drill Bit Won’t Get Through Wood

The first and most important factor is the type of bit you’re using. Diverse materials require various types of bits, and if you try to use a standard steel bit for hardwoods like oak or maple, it won’t penetrate them. You’ll need to choose the appropriate bit that’s specifically designed for hardwood drilling tasks.

Another problem could be the angle of the bit. If you’re drilling straight down, the force created by the rotation may not be enough to push it through the wood. In this case, try angling your bit at a 45° angle to the surface and start drilling again. This small change can make all the difference!

The third issue is the speed of your drill. If you’re trying to bore through wood quickly, your bit may not get a chance to properly bite into the material. Instead, slow down and take a steady approach to drilling. This will help ensure that your bit has enough time to cut through the wood cleanly without jamming or breaking off inside it.

Finally, make sure you’re using the right type of drill for your project. Cordless drills are great for lighter tasks like drilling through plastic, wood or sheet metal. However, if you need to bore through thicker materials like steel, you’ll want to opt for a corded drill instead.

You’re Using The Wrong Bit

Sometimes, it’s not the wood that’s preventing the bit from going through but rather the fact that you are using the wrong type of bit. If you want to drill successfully into wood, make sure that you use a spade or auger bit designed specifically for drilling into wood. These bits have very sharp edges and can easily cut through wooden surfaces. If you are using a regular bit, it may not be suitable for the job and will simply bounce off the material without being able to penetrate it.

Another type of bit that can come in handy when drilling through wood is a Forstner Bit. These bits have flat edges which make them better suited for drilling into softer materials such as wood, plywood and particle board. The flat edges form an angled cut which helps the bit to penetrate into the wood more easily, allowing you to get better results with less effort.

Why Your Drill Bit Won’t Get Through Wood

Finally, you can also use twist drills for drilling into wood. Twist drills are designed specifically for drilling into hard materials such as metal but they can also work on softer surfaces like wood. They are usually less expensive than other types of bits and can get the job done quickly. Just make sure to use a twist drill with a sharp tip and slow speed to ensure that it penetrates through the material without catching on any wood fibers.

You’re Using The Wrong Size

Different woods have different densities, so it’s important to use the correct size bit for each job. If you’re using a too small of a bit, then it will be difficult or impossible to get through the wood. Likewise, if you’re using a too large of a bit, then it will take much longer.

You’re Getting Your Bit Stuck

This can happen if you’re using a dull or cheap bit that doesn’t have enough cutting edges to get through the material quickly and cleanly. The best way to avoid this problem is by investing in higher quality bits with more cutting edges.

You can also try using a drilling fluid to lubricate the bit and help it move through the wood more easily. This will also help cool down the bit, so it’s less likely to get stuck. The drilling fluid should be water-soluble for easy cleanup.

It is important to remember that choosing the appropriate bit size for the task at hand is crucial. This ensures optimal performance and successful completion of the job. If you’re trying to drill a hole that’s larger than your bit can handle, it could get stuck more easily.

Finally, take it slow and steady when drilling wood. You don’t want to rush it and end up forcing the bit into the wood. If you push too hard, you’ll end up with a broken bit and an even bigger mess to clean up. So be patient and take your time – it will pay off in the end!

You’re Drilling At An Angle

You should always be drilling straight down into the wood. This will ensure that your bit is going through evenly and quickly. You can also use a drill guide.

Why Your Drill Bit Won’t Get Through Wood

You’re Using Low-Quality Bits

Low-quality bits are often made from materials that won’t hold up to the pressure and temperature of drilling into wood. Additionally, they can also be more prone to wear and tear due to their lower build quality. [1]

How to Fix a Drill That Won’t Go Through Wood

If your drill bit isn’t piercing the wood like it should, don’t panic! Chances are you just need to make a few simple adjustments before you can continue drilling. Here are some tips for getting a wooden surface to cooperate with your drill:

  • Ensure both the drill and bit are compatible with the type of wood.
  • Check your speed settings and adjust accordingly. If you’re drilling too slowly, the wood won’t get hot enough to melt away or splinter.
  • Ensure the drill is securely mounted in place so it doesn’t wobble around. If your drill isn’t firmly attached to your work surface, it won’t be able to apply even pressure when drilling into wood.
  • Ensure the bit is centered in the pilot hole.
  • Use a high-quality bit that can handle the job at hand. A dull or low-grade bit will have a harder time cutting through wood than one that is sharp and made from high-quality materials.

With some basic adjustments, you’ll be back on track and drilling like a pro in no time.

Remove the Bit from the Drill

If your drill bit is not successfully penetrating the wood, the initial step is to detach the bit from the drill. This action will help troubleshoot the issue and pave the way for effective drilling. It may be that the bit has become stuck in the material, so removing it can help unstick it. Make sure to turn off the power first before attempting to remove a stuck bit. Once you have removed the bit, check for any signs of wear or damage. If you find any, it may be time to replace the bit with a new one.

How to Fix a Drill That Won’t Go Through Wood

Clean the Drill Bit

A drill bit that is not cleaned can cause a lot of problems. Wood chips and debris can accumulate on the cutting surfaces of the bit, making it difficult to penetrate wood. It’s important to frequently clean your drill bits after each use. You can simply wipe them down with a cloth or run them through water to rinse off any remaining debris. This will help to ensure that your drill bits are sharp and clean for each use.

Tighten the Screws on the Chuck

Sometimes, a drill bit can get stuck and not penetrate the wood if it’s not screwed in tightly enough. In this case, the solution is as simple as tightening up the chuck using an Allen wrench. To do this:

  • Unplug your drill from its power source.
  • Locate the hexagonal hole on the side of your drill’s chuck.
  • Fit an Allen wrench into the hexagonal hole, and then turn it clockwise to tighten the chuck.
  • Plug your drill back in, and try drilling again.

If tightening the chuck doesn’t improve the effectiveness of your drill bit when drilling through wood, you can consider using a slightly larger bit or adjusting the speed setting on your drill. These two adjustments should help you get the desired results.

Additionally, you may consider utilizing a sharpening stone to further enhance the sharpness of the bit. This will facilitate easier wood penetration and improve overall performance. Use light pressure when sharpening and only do so on one side of the bit at a time.

Of course, if none of these solutions work, it may be time to invest in a new drill bit.

Insert the Drill Bit into the Wood

Before attempting to drill through the wood, it is crucial to ensure that your drill bit is securely and correctly inserted into the chuck of your drill. This step is essential to guarantee optimal performance and prevent any potential mishaps. Take the time to double-check the stability and alignment of the drill bit, ensuring a smooth and efficient drilling experience. If the bit isn’t securely in place, it won’t spin properly and you won’t be able to drill through wood.

How to Fix a Drill That Won’t Go Through Wood

Before inserting the bit into the chuck, remove any dust from around the chuck jaws. You should also check to see if your bit is a right-hand twist or left-hand twist; this will ensure that the bit is turning in the right direction. Once you’ve inserted the bit into the chuck, ensure that it is tightened securely in place.

Turn the Drill on

When you use a drill, it is essential to always have it turned on before placing the bit in the wood. If the drill is not switched on, then it will be impossible for the bit to penetrate through the wood. To check if your drill is on, simply press down slightly on the trigger and feel for vibration. [2]

How to Choose Which Drill is Suitable for Your Woodworking Projects

If you are looking to do woodworking projects, it is important that you know which drill bit will work best for the job. It is essential that your drill bit is suitable for the type of wood you are aiming to drill through. For example, if you are drilling into softwood then a spade bit or auger bit would be more suitable than a twist bit.

For harder woods such as oak, you may want to consider using a Forstner bit as this will provide the most accuracy when drilling holes in the wood. If you are looking foran even more precise hole or if you need to drill through metal as well as wood, a step bit is likely your best option.

How to Choose Which Drill is Suitable for Your Woodworking Projects

Which Drill Bit Should You Use Go Through Wood?

Generally speaking, Forstner bits are your best bet for clean holes and less splintering. They have a flat bottom that keeps them from drilling too deep into your material. If you need to make larger holes (for things like door lock installation), a spade bit might be the way to go. These bits come with center points that help them cut through materials like plywood or particle board quickly and easily.

You can also find auger bits, which feature a screw tip that’s great for boring larger holes in hardwoods. However, these are not suitable for softwoods as they tend to “walk” when drilling.

If you’re looking for a bit that can handle any type of wood, try using brad-point bits. These bits come with sharp tips and slightly tapered edges that help them cut into hardwoods without wandering or splintering the material.

Why Won’t My Other Tools Go Through Wood?

Some woods are simply denser than others, there are also other factors at play. Understanding fundamental reasons behind the inability of your drill bit to penetrate will empower you to make more informed choices while working with wood.

If your saw blade, router bit or jigsaw isn’t cutting through wood properly, it’s likely due to one of two things: dullness or incorrect speed. If your saw blades and other tools are not sharp enough, they won’t be able to penetrate the material easily. You can sharpen them with a sharpening stone or get them professionally sharpened.

In addition, the speed at which you’re running your tools can also make a difference in their performance when cutting through wood. For example, if you’re using a jigsaw to cut curves or intricate shapes on thin pieces of wood, it’s best to run it at a slow speed. This will ensure that the blade doesn’t wander and gives you a more precise cut.

Ultimately, honing your tools and fine-tuning the speed of your drill can have a profound impact on your ability to effortlessly slice through wood.

Why Won’t My Other Tools Go Through Wood?


Why is my drill bit not penetrating?

Some common causes include:

  • The wrong type of drill bit. Effective penetration of various materials necessitates the use of specific drill bits tailored to their unique properties.
  • Dull or damaged bits. If the drill bit is dull or damaged, it will not effectively penetrate the wood.
  • Insufficient pressure. Insufficient pressure while using a drill can result in inadequate power for the bit to effectively penetrate the wood.
  • The material is too hard. Not all woods are created equal.
  • The wrong speed. If you drill at the incorrect speed, your drill bit will lack the necessary force to effectively penetrate the wood. Use the correct RPM settings for the material you are drilling into!

If you suspect any of these causes, make sure to take appropriate steps before attempting to drill again. Experimenting with various sizes and types of drill bits can prove advantageous. Each may yield varying levels of success depending on the material being drilled into. Consideration of these factors can enhance your drilling experience.

How do you drill into hard wood?

To effectively drill into hard wood, it is crucial to utilize drill bits that are specifically designed for this purpose. These specialized drill bits are the key to achieving optimal results and ensuring precision in your drilling endeavors. These can be bought from any hardware or DIY store. When using these specialized drills, it is important to select the right size bit according to the type of wood you are working with.

Once the correct drill bit has been selected, a pilot hole should be created first to ensure that the bit will go through the wood without splitting it or causing damage. Use a smaller bit than what you need for the final hole and reduce your speed slightly. This will create enough of a guide for the main bit to follow.

Additionally, using some lubricant like WD-40 or vegetable oil on the bit before starting. Use sharp bits as dull ones are much harder to push through hardwood and can even cause them to become stuck. Finally, keep in mind that drilling into hardwood can take much more time and effort than drilling into softer woods, so have a good grip on the drill and plenty of patience!

When working with exceptionally dense hardwood that exceeds the capacity of standard drill bits, it becomes imperative to employ a hole saw for the task at hand. This is essentially like a circular saw blade with teeth around the perimeter and is used to cut out a hole in hardwood. If you’re using this type of drill bit, make sure you select one that’s suitable for the wood type you’re working with and use it at low speeds while applying pressure evenly throughout to ensure a clean cut. [3]

With these tips, drilling into hardwood should be much easier and more efficient. As always, make sure you wear the necessary safety equipment!

Can a drill bit go through wood?

Yes! Drill bits are specifically engineered to effortlessly penetrate a wide range of materials, encompassing even the most resilient woods. Nevertheless, you may have observed that certain types of wood can pose a challenge when it comes to drilling, demanding greater exertion compared to others.

To ensure a clean, straight hole in the wood, it is crucial to choose the appropriate drill bit for the task at hand. Consider the size of your drill bit as this will determine how deep you can go into the wood.

It’s a good idea to practice drilling on scrap pieces of wood before tackling your project.

Once you’ve identified the right tools, it can also be helpful to “pre-drill” your hole. Pre-drilling entails the practice of first drilling small pilot holes using a smaller bit, before proceeding with the larger one. This technique ensures precision and facilitates smoother drilling operations.

Proper technique is crucial when drilling into wood. It’s essential to ensure precision and maximize effectiveness. Keep your bit at a steady angle and maintain a consistent speed as you drill. Going too fast can cause the bit to slip and create an uneven hole. [4]

Overall, while drill bits are specifically crafted for woodwork, the choice of bit and the drilling technique employed can significantly impact the ease with which various wood types can be worked on. With the right tools and techniques, you’ll be drilling like a pro in no time!

What bit to use to drill through wood?

The two most frequently employed types of bits are spade bits and auger bits. Spade bits are best for drilling large holes quickly, while auger bits are designed for a slower, more accurate cut. A good rule of thumb is to use a spade bit for soft woods, such as pine, and an auger bit for hardwoods like oak. [5]

With a drill press, you have more control over how deep the hole is, which is important when working with different materials or thicknesses of wood. Additionally, some drills come with depth stops that allow you to set the maximum hole depth, so you don’t accidentally drill too deep.

Another important factor when drilling through wood is the type of material you are using. For softer woods, a slower speed helps avoid splintering and a high-speed drill can burn out the bit quickly. For harder woods, a faster speed and more aggressive feed rate will help get through the material quicker.

Finally, use sharp bits. Dull bits can cause heat buildup and splintering, so replace your drill bit regularly. With these tips in mind, you should have no trouble getting through your next woodworking project!

Useful Video: Tips for Driving Wood Screws | Rockler Skill Builders


It is crucial to bear in mind that when drilling into softer woods, your drill bit may wear out faster. Therefore, it is essential to exercise caution and ensure you use suitable materials for the job. It is crucial to keep in mind that specific drill bits are more suitable for different types of wood. Ensure that the type of drill bit you choose matches the material you are drilling into.

Finally, make sure your drill is properly connected and functioning correctly before attempting any task, as this can help prevent any unexpected problems from arising. Good luck and happy drilling!


  1. https://ruwag.co.uk/blogs/handy-hints/why-is-my-drill-bit-not-going-through-wood
  2. https://drillay.com/why-wont-my-drill-go-through-wood/
  3. https://www.workshop.bunnings.com.au/t5/Best-Advice/How-do-you-drill-into-hardwood/ta-p/106960
  4. https://toolhackersclub.com/drilling-through-wood-with-a-masonry-bit/
  5. https://benchmarkabrasives.com/blogs/news/what-type-of-drill-bits-are-best-for-wood