How to Use a Hand Drill

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Hand drill
Wood plank
Scrap wood
Awl or center punch
Drill bits

In the woodworking shop there are plenty of tools, like the hand drill, that are not electric. While these electric power tools do make life easier, there are some instances when a human powered tool is necessary.

You might want to use a hand drill when you are working with rare wood, or something fragile. Another instance to use a hand drill is when you only need a certain depth instead of drilling all the way through the material. Hand drills are a necessary part of your tool box. However, do not be fooled by the simplistic look. Here's how to use a hand drill efficiently and effectively.

Step 1 - Place Bit in Chuck

Using a chuck key, open up the chuck of the hand drill. This is the part of the drill that holds the drill bit. Slide the drill bit into chuck and tighten it. Make sure the bit you are using is appropriate for the material. If you are going to be drilling into metal, then you will want a metal bit. Also, keep in mind, that the larger the hole you are drilling the more force you are going to have to use. To keep things safe, it would be better to drill several smaller holes to build your way up to the one larger hole.

Step 2 - Mark Starting Hole

When you use a hand drill you are going to need a starting hole to help you get the drill bit started. Without the starting hold your drill will have a tendency to "walk" across the material. If you are using rare wood, or doing a finishing touch to something fragile, it will scratch it. Use a hammer and tap the head of an awl in the center of where you want the hole drilled. If you are drilling into metal, then use a center punch to create an indent.

Step 3 - Clamp Work Piece

Set the piece you are going to drill on a level, stable work area. If you are drilling into a plank of wood, then clamp it to a work bench. Use a piece of scrap wood to drill into if you are going to be going through the wood. This will keep your work bench from being damaged.

Step 4 - Drill into Material

The actual drilling takes some practice. Before you drill into the material, make sure the hand drill is perfectly perpendicular to the work surface. Firmly grasp the top handle by pressing your palm into the center of the handle. Apply pressure to the drill and begin cranking the handle slowly. As the drill works its way into the work piece you can add a little more speed. However, it is important to keep in mind that you do not have to drill as fast as you can. An even cadence will be much better than trying to go too fast.

Step 5 - Clean out Wood Chips

As you drill, there will be sawdust and wood chips accumulating near the hole. Periodically pull the drill bit out of the work piece and blow away the pieces before continuing.