How to Drill a Hole Bigger than Your Drill Bit?

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you need to drill a hole bigger than your drill bit? For example, you could be in the middle of a project, and getting the right-sized bit could mean wasting a lot of time. Or you might not have enough money left in your budget to invest in new drill bits.

Regardless of the reason, drilling a hole bigger than your drill bit can surely come in handy. When I started my DIY journey, I often ended up in situations where I did not have the right sized bit for drilling. Over time I have learned a few tricks which can help you drill a hole bigger than your drill bit.

How to drill a hole bigger than your drill bit?

To drill a hole slightly bigger than your drill bit, keep the drill running, and move your bit in & out while applying slight pressure to rub it against the sides.

You can also use sandpaper wrapped around a circular wooden rod slightly thinner than the drill bit you have. The sandpaper will carve out a larger hole than your drill bit. However, the results will be smooth.

Use a drill guide with a bigger hole than your drill bit & drill the entire area covered by the guide.

For drilling a huge hole with a small drill bit, draw a circle and drill around the circle. Now use a file to obliterate the circular part. Next, use a tapered reamer to make a drilled hole bigger.

There is no single approach you can follow to drill a hole bigger than your drill bit. Each situation can be different depending on the nature of the required hole and the available tools.

As we are trying to find a way to drill a hole bigger than our drill bit without having to invest in new tools, there are a variety of ways you can use different tools available in your toolbox to get a bigger hole.

In this article, you will get to know about all the ways you can drill a hole bigger than your drill bit.

Methods to Drill a Hole Bigger than Your Drill Bit:

Before we learn about different methods you can use to drill a hole bigger than your drill bit, let us establish that it is best to use the right-sized drill bit for a drilling job.

I am giving you this disclaimer because sometimes, you can damage your tools while drilling a hole bigger than your drill bit. And in most cases, the resulting hole will not be exact. So when precision is your priority, try getting the right sized drill bit instead of using these methods.

Based on the tools available to you, you can try using the following methods to drill a hole bigger than your drill bit.

Additional Read: How to drill straight holes in wood?

Using a Drill Bit:

There are two possible situations where you can use the largest available drill to drill a hole bigger than your drill bit.

1. Slightly Bigger Hole:

If the hole you want to drill is slightly bigger than the largest available drill bit, you can use the same drill bit for drilling the hole by following the steps given below:

  • Fix your drill bit in your cordless drill.
  • Start by drilling a hole the same size as the drill bit.
  • Slowly swirl your drill bit side ways to enlarge the hole slightly.

It would help if you were very careful while using this trick to damage your drill bit. It is beneficial for softer materials.

2. Large Circular Hole:

If you want to drill a large circular hole and a thin drill bit is the only tool at your disposal, you can use it with a file to drill a large circular hole.

  • Draw the circle you want to drill on the surface.
  • Take your drill bit and insert it in a cordless drill.
  • Start drilling holes along the circumference of the circle.
  • Now remove the circular piece.
  • Finish by smoothing the hole with the file.

Using a Wooden Dowel to drill a bigger hole than your drill bit:

Even though you can drill a hole bigger than your drill bit using only your drill bit and a file, it is not practical for deep holes. Also, the process can become quite cumbersome.

Another easy way to drill a hole bigger than your drill bit is to use a notched wooden dowel with a piece of 80 grit sandpaper. It is also useful when the size of the required hole is slightly larger than the drill bit.

drill a hole bigger than your drill bit
  • Start by drilling a hole using your drill bit.
  • Now take a wooden dowel and fix it in your cordless drill.
  • Wrap a piece of sandpaper around the dowel. Use a length of sandpaper that allows you to fit the dowel inside the hole.
  • Start drilling up and down the hole to uniformly increase the size of the hole.
  • Now remove the sandpaper and replace it with a piece 1/2 inch longer.
  • Repeat the process until you reach the desired width.

Using a Drill Guide:

If you have a drill guide at hand and the hole you want to drill is one of the sizes in your drill guide, you are actually at luck. You can use your drill bit with the drill guide to drill a hole bigger than your drill bit.

  • Mark the position of the hole.
  • Place the drill guide on the surface with the mark as the center of the hole size you need to drill.
  • Start drilling the entire area with the drill guide, allowing you to drill within the size.

How to Make a Hole Bigger Without a Drill?

While power drills are a DIY enthusiast’s best friend, they are not suited for someone looking for a one-time fix.

Although it will require a lot of manual strength, it is quite possible to make a hole bigger without a drill. I have listed down some of the tools you can use for the job.

Using a Hand File:

A hand file is one tool that can help you make a hole bigger without a drill. It would help if you opted for a curved one or a circular one for this job.

It is also one useful tool to invest in as you can use it for various materials, and you can use it for other projects.

To use a hand file for making a hole bigger, follow these steps:

  • Mark the new size of the hole on the material.
  • Insert the file inside the existing hole.
  • Start filing away the material and continue until you reach the desired width.

Using a Tapered Reamer:

Tapered reamers are an excellent option to make a hole bigger without a drill.

They work great when the thickness of the material is less. If you have thick material, but the hole does not necessarily have to be straight, you can use a tapered reamer.

You can do this by following these simple steps:

  • Select a tapered reamer that can fit into the hole.
  • Insert the tapered reamer in the hole.
  • Start twisting the tapered reamer inside the hole.
  • Increment the hole size by using a larger reamer each time until you reach your desired width.

Using a Jab Saw:

If you do not have the above-mentioned tools available, you can use a jab saw to make a hole bigger without a drill. The jab saw will need the most work and is recommended for jobs where the initial hole is wide.

  • Put on your safety gloves.
  • Insert the jab saw into the hole.
  • Start cutting away pieces of wood.
  • Continue until you reach the required width.
  • Finish by smoothing the edges using sand paper.

Related Questions:

How to enlarge an existing hole in metal?

For enlarging an existing hole in the metal, you need to use a reamer. First, you need to drill a pilot hole using the largest drill bit available. Now you can use the reamer to enlarge the hole to the desired width.

What is the reason if the drilled hole is larger than the drill size?

Usually, the material that is being drilled is the reason for the drilled hole being larger than the drill size. Materials that wear out easily usually get bigger-sized holes as compared to hard materials. You can try using a drill bit smaller than the required size to avoid this problem.