How to Make a Hole in Wood Without Drill A Complete Instruction

A power drill is an obvious choice when drilling a hole in wood because it is made explicitly for this purpose. You never know when your drill will break or if you won’t have one on hand. Occasionally, a drill is unnecessary when making a hole in wood. In this article, we’ll discuss many methods for how to make a hole in wood without drill.

You’ll need sandpaper, a dowel, a hand file, or a jab saw if you want to expand a hole without a drill. It’s a good idea first to sketch out the diameter of the hole and then physically file away the excess wood until the hole is the correct diameter. It’s as simple as cleaning the dust from your work surface to get on with your project.

Why Do You Want To Make A Hole In Wood?

You may want to use a different approach depending on why you want to make the hole. The following are some of the reasons for drilling a hole in a piece of wood:

To Designate A Place

To indicate the locations of screws, nails, and other fasteners, woodworkers commonly drill pilot holes.

After that, they use a screwdriver to tighten the screw. Finally, a hammer is used to pound the nail into the ground.

For the most part, drilling equipment is cumbersome and difficult to maneuver. Drill bit location might sometimes be problematic. Putting the drill bit’s point in a hole will expedite the procedure. You may use a tiny nail, screw, brad, staple, or something similar to make a hole like this.

In Search Of The Center

Imagine if you had a door hinge. Then, using wood screws, fasten it to the door. While possible, you’d have to be quite specific when determining their exact locations on the map. For this to work, the screw holes would have to be centered on the hinge’s holes. The door would be unable to close without the screw heads grinding against each other if they were off by even a minor amount.

So how does it accomplish this? The punch, on the other hand, has a curved edge. The hinge hole can accept this edge. Keeping the punch at a 45-degree angle to its hinge means that. The punch will be placed in the center of the hole. Because of this, it’s easy to tap a hole in it.

You may then tighten the screws to secure the hinge by repeating the process with the remaining screw holes.

Pilot Hole Preparation

Pilot holes can be made with nails, screws, or other fasteners using a smaller nail or different item. Fasteners may be placed into this type of hole precisely where needed, reducing the risk of the wood breaking.

Pilot holes in wood screws are often smaller than the screw head itself. Screw heads can be screwed in via the hole’s chamfered upper surface. If desired, A countersinking bit may be used to create this effect using a hand tool. Countersinking screws are the subject of a recent blog article.

Even though the screw has a flat head on top and a conical bottom, the chamfer cut at the pilot hole’s top allows you to tighten it, so it is flush with the wood’s surface. Allows for a more polished aspect of the woodwork project.

A wood plug covers a wood screw that has been tightened below the surface of the wood in the bottom left corner. A countersinking pilot hole bit was employed.

We can even go further than that: At the top of the pilot hole, you can additionally construct a giant counter bore hole. As a result, you’ll be able to tighten your screw such that its head is flush with the wood. Finally, a stopper can be inserted into the counter bore hole and sanded flush. To finish this, the wood’s surface was used..

A specific plug cutting bit may be used to create the plug. Instead of a dowel, you may use a little piece of it. The image below demonstrates what I mean.The dowels might take on a beautiful aspect when the object is stained.

When is it Preferable to Avoid Using a Drill to Make a Hole in Wood?

Even if you have a drill on hand, there are several situations where you might want to suggest stopping using it to cut a hole in wood.

Because the hole in a piece of wood is too tiny for the shortest drill bit you have, you’ll need to come up with a better solution. For example, Engineered wood is notorious for being difficult to drill into, so be careful when using this material. In addition, drilling into some types of engineered wood can result in splinters and splits.

The Best Method for How to Make a Hole In Wood Without Drill

Here are various methods for making an unpowered hole in wood now that we’ve shown it is feasible.

Using a Bow Drill as a Tool

An alternative to buying a power drill is building your bow drill. This is time-consuming and labor-intensive, but creating a bow drill out of the materials you already have in your house is possible.

It is essential to notice that understanding how to drill a hole in the wood with a bow drilling is incredibly beneficial since it teaches you how to build a fire simultaneously. If you don’t have any kindling, you may use this bow drill to start a fire.

To build and utilize a bow drill, follow the procedures detailed below.

Tightly knot a piece of shoelace or cord to a flexible branch that makes a C shape.

Once the branch is bent into a taught position, the other end should be tied to a shoelace or flexible string.

A straight stick is needed, and the rope is wrapped around it circularly.

Now all you have to do is utilize the bowing mechanism you made earlier to rapidly rotate the stick pressing into the wood to form a notch where you want to drill a hole. A manual drill is now in your possession, thanks to your ingenuity.

To use a Hammer and a Chisel.

You might want to consider this alternative method instead of using nails to create bigger holes in wood. For chiseling wood and other materials, chisels are the obvious choice. Although it is technically challenging, you can accomplish this relatively easily with the correct expertise. However, you need to know that while a chisel may be used to carve a hole in wood, it will not produce a perfectly round or beautiful hole.

It’s easy to chisel through wood by holding a chisel at a right angle to the surface and pounding away.. First, use a chisel to carve out the circle’s shape, then use a hammer and chisel to hammer away at the hole’s interior. The chisel may need to be worked around the hole’s circle a few times before you get the right size and depth.

Using a Small Fire to Make a Hole in the Ground

An old-school method of burning a hole in wood by starting a tiny fire in a grate is not invariably ineffective. This is the method of choice when hollowing out a massive piece of wood, such as a canoe. It’s not meant to produce tiny holes, so that’s a given, but it’s still not exceptionally exact.

To use this approach, you don’t need much effort or physical power, but you need some expertise and patience.

A tiny fire is all you’re doing here, and it’s all you need to do to make a hole in the surface. The first step is to make sure that the fire is contained and maintained under control. Then, blow air into the fire as much as possible with your breath or a tool. To keep the flames burning straight down into the wood.

Using a chisel or other instrument to remove the charred material is an option when the flames burn further into the wood. However, you must keep adding more wood to the fire while blowing on it to ensure it grows to the desired heights.

The Art of Hammer and Nail

An alternative method for making little holes in wood that are highly exact is with the use of an iron nail and hammer. Of course, the effectiveness of this procedure will be determined by the size of your hole about the size of the nails you have.

To use this method, just mark the location where you wish to drill a hole and strike the nail into the ground. You may then use the rear end of your claw hammer to remove the nail and have a little hole in your wood.

Using a Glowing Rod to Make a Hole

To burn through wood it’s possible, but it’s not as simple as one might think, especially if you’re dealing with a little flame. Furthermore, you have no control over the size of the hole created in the wood while utilizing that procedure.

With a metal rod, you can burn an exact hole in wood. It’s a possibility, but only if you insist on an exact hole. At the bottom of the fire should be glowing coals that are extremely hot and ablaze. To do this, you’ll need to heat up the metal rod over an open flame until it glows bright red.Once the rod is hot enough, you should set it on the wood where the hole is drilled and start drilling.

A hammer or any other device can be used to pound on the rear of the rod to force the scorching hot tip into the wood. A thicker metal rod may need more than one heating cycle. Eventually, the metal rod will lose its effectiveness due to cooling and must be reheated to complete the procedure.

As an alternative, a Hand Drill may be utilize for this task.

For those of us who were raised on hand drills or have been working in the industry for a long time, it is possible that we still have a hand drill in our possession.

This approach is time-consuming and labor-intensive, but because you can vary drill bit size, it allows for highly accurate hole-making.

It’s as simple as holding the drill in this manner.. Then, begin spinning the drill while simultaneously holding both of its handles. This method is certain to provide results, even if it takes some time..

Using an Awl in this Manner

These tools pierce and expand holes in rigid materials like leather, such as a hammer and a chisel. Ideally, a decent awl will be powerful enough to drill through wood. 

You’ll need a lot of brute force when using an awl because the tool isn’t built for the job. You’ll have to twist and press as hard as you can till the hole is formed.

Making a Hole with Other Power Tools

You may need to utilize a different power tool when drilling a giant hole. When drilling a straight hole, the drill is typically the best option. However, drills have their limitations. If you’re using spade bits or Forstner bits, the most significant hole you can make is roughly 1-12″ in diameter. Using a hole saw may increase this to a maximum of 4″. Unless you require a wider hole, you’ll need a different tool. ‘


Plunge cutting isn’t possible with a standard jigsaw blade; therefore, the saw can make no holes in a board or sheet of plywood. Instead, a preexisting hole and a cut from the board’s edge are required for this operation, requiring a saw blade diameter of about 5/16″. Despite this, the jigsaw can cut holes in any form or size you may envision once it’s inserted into the board. For example, the tiny, thin blade may be used to cut curves or straight lines, depending on the need.

The Revolving Saw

Although they seem the same, the reciprocating saw and the jigsaw are very different in cutting metal and wood. In contrast to the jigsaw, the reciprocating saw can plunge cut, which is something the latter cannot accomplish. This is possible because to the sharp tips on the vast majority of the blades in this saw.

The reciprocating saw’s precision is the only thing that limits its usefulness. However, even though you can cut through just about anything with it, making precise holes or following a precise cutting line is nearly tricky without much expertise. So using a jigsaw instead of a reciprocating saw for these cuts is preferable.

Cutting with a circular saw.

As a result of safety concerns, it is strongly suggested that you avoid plunge cutting with a circular saw.. Nevertheless, carpenters and woodworkers worldwide continue to use this instrument for plunge cutting. It’s an excellent tool for making square or rectangular holes in plywood sheets. There is only one problem with this method: it is difficult to see precisely where you’re cutting, making it tough to be precise.

With a circular saw, it’s easy to make square holes in a sheet of plywood in a matter of seconds since it cuts swiftly. However, with a bit of practice, you’ll be able to overcome the inherent inaccuracy and utilize this to cut squared-off holes.

Tool that oscillates in and out

As far as power tool innovations go, the oscillating multi-tool is a relative newbie on the block. Plunge cutting through the plywood and other materials is one of the numerous tasks this equipment can perform. Unlike a circular saw, it cannot be used to make perfectly round holes, but it is much easier to use correctly to create squared-off holes than a circular saw. As a bonus, it’s much less hazardous to use this method.


There may be no other power instrument designed to cut round holes in a board in addition to the drill except from the router. Nonetheless, if you need to cut out holes in a piece of wood and don’t have a drill on hand, a router will do the job for you without issue. The only significant difficulty is that a router’s ability to create a wide range of hole sizes is constrained by the availability of a large variety of straight cutting bits.

No drill or sawing to the board’s edge is required for cutting a 4-inch round hole in the plywood. Instead, I’d start by utilizing whatever size hole I could get within the final hole’s dimensions, preferably using a plunge router. Then I’d switch to a jigsaw and cut around the hole’s circumference.

How to Make A hole in Wood Cheaply and Quickly

We’ve examined various methods for drilling holes in wood without a drill. Perhaps, you’ll be able to discover a strategy that works for your requirements among them. What if you’re unable to? Those who believe that necessity is the mother of innovation are correct.


I’ve used nothing but a pocket knife to pierce a piece of wood several times. Though much of the time was spent working on a project, it is still valuable information.. It’s a good idea to always have a sharp tip on your knife when you’re out and about. Although a drop point blade will do, I prefer the clip point.

Beyond the fact that it is laborious, using a knife results in holes with an irregular cross-section. Making a hole in a walking stick to connect thong results in a small hole in the center of the stick that gets bigger the closer you go to the ground. There may be other uses for this walking staff, but not all of them are good..


Plywood and other boards can be easily punctured with a screwdriver and a screw. While being driven into the wood, the screw’s threads shatter, distort, and otherwise harm the fibers of the wood. Repeated use of the screw will cause further harm. Eventually, the threads of that screw will lose their grip on the wood’s fibers and create a hole in the wood.

This happens much too regularly for our liking… Whenever this occurs, a quick fix is to insert a wooden matchstick and break it off flush with the surrounding surface. Screws can once again secure themselves to a wood surface after using a matchstick to fill up any holes that may have formed in damaged wood fibers.


Chisels may now be used to carve an impressive hole in wood. A chisel is the only tool needed to complete a mortise cut. Using chisels, you may easily create wooden squared mortise holes for inserting tenons.

A little circular hole will suffice in this instance. As long as you’re hammering it straight down and spinning it like you’re attempting to form an asterisk or star pattern in the wood, you can produce tiny round holes in that material using the same type of technique described above. Again, work your way through the wood, eliminating chips.

To produce bigger holes, use a chisel to cut around the hole’s perimeter and pound the chisel into the board at each position. To ensure the hole’s edges are straight, you’ll need to position your chisel with its bevel facing inward.

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Can you screw into the wood without drilling?

Drilling isn’t always necessary while doing rough construction. Often, you may just use power screws instead. However, if you’re working on delicate woodworking tasks, you risk splitting the wood if you don’t initially drill holes. Prevent wood splitting by drilling a pilot hole before driving screws.

What can I use to cut a hole in wood?

Making holes in wood is easy with a hole saw. That’s the whole point. When using a hole saw, you cut a hole in the wood rather than dulling or drilling through it. A hole saw blade resembles an upside-down cup with serrated edges.


With that said, a power drill remains the most fantastic choice for cutting holes in wood, but as you can see, there are numerous other ways to make holes in wood, even if you don’t own a power drill. With all of the options we’ve covered thus far, you must be able to discover something that suits your needs.

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