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Old 02-08-2013, 05:38 PM   #1
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How to drill straight and plumb?


I need to make a 1/2" circular hole through a piece of 4x4.

The 4x4 is already attached and lays horizontally. The hole needs to be vertical.

I have drills but they don't have level bubbles on them.

Any tricks to make sure the hole is straight and plumb? I did a few on a scrap piece of 4x4 and they came out slanted one way or another.

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Old 02-08-2013, 06:35 PM   #2
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How to drill straight and plumb?


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Originally Posted by miamicuse View Post
Any tricks to make sure the hole is straight and plumb?
Comfort and familiarity with the weight and balance of the drill is 98% of it.
Actually holding it straight and plumb is the rest.

If you only use the tool for 20 minutes at a time 4 or 5 times a year...
it'll be a lot harder than using all day for weeks (or years) on end.

The "tricks" are about trying to compensate for that...
and they really are just that: tricks.

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Old 02-08-2013, 06:45 PM   #3
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How to drill straight and plumb?


Using a straight section of 1/2" x 5/8" tubing ( copper etc. ) make yourself a drill guide a couple of inches long. Clamp this piece of tubing in the 5/8" opening of a flaring tool with the bottom end flush on a flat surface. Next, clamp the flaring tool to the 4x4 and the tubing drill guide will be vertical to guide the bit.
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:13 PM   #4
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How to drill straight and plumb?


You can set a square on top of the wood block, then drill parallel to the square. Or you can buy a portable drill press that holds the drill. Or you can use a carpenters level to set a plumb line to match. Or you can hang a plumb bob next to the hole, and align against that.
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:22 PM   #5
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How to drill straight and plumb?


Mark both sides then drill 1/2 way through from the two sides.
Use a paddle bit not a twist drill.
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:53 PM   #6
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How to drill straight and plumb?


There's always the mirror trick (Goggle it).

Coming through from both sides is your best bet though.

If being precise is that critical to you then I'm sure that a splinter blow out on the back side is something you don't wan't either.

Drilling from both sides will give you a clean finished look.
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Old 02-08-2013, 07:59 PM   #7
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How to drill straight and plumb?


The two holes will never be in alignment boring from two sides. If a straight hole is critical better use a different approach.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:04 PM   #8
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How to drill straight and plumb?


I've only done it a couple hundred times while building decks so I know it works.
Perfectly aligned all the way through, no, but were not building a Swiss watch.
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:09 PM   #9
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How to drill straight and plumb?


How about one of these?
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Old 02-08-2013, 08:34 PM   #10
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How to drill straight and plumb?


Been there done that, at that depth and in soft wood the drill still tends to not stay straight all the way through.
Plus you still get blow out on the other side unless there's a scrap piece of wood under it.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:03 PM   #11
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How to drill straight and plumb?


Here comes another three page epic saga on how to drill a hole.
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Old 02-09-2013, 08:20 AM   #12
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How to drill straight and plumb?


OP, why does the hole need to be perfectly vertical? Can you make a 9/16 or even 5/8 hole and to be sure whatever goes through the hole can still be perfectly vertical even is the hole is a bit askew?

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Old 02-09-2013, 10:23 AM   #13
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How to drill straight and plumb?


What about those hole hog bits? They have that screw on the end and seem to drill themselves.
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:52 AM   #14
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How to drill straight and plumb?


It would work but still going to have to drill from both sides if you want the hole to line up perfect.
It's called a self feeding auger bit.
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Old 02-09-2013, 01:02 PM   #15
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How to drill straight and plumb?


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Here comes another three page epic saga on how to drill a hole.
I hope it lasts long enough to see a demonstration on -- how to drill a hole from each side and have them meet in the middle perfectly straight every time --

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