Acacia wood is ideal for making wood furniture that can last many years, which is due to its hardness. Although the texture of acacia wood is smooth, it is hard and dense.
On the other hand, the hardness of acacia wood can become troublesome when you are drilling holes in it. You might face splitting of wood while drilling due to poor technique. Sometimes, the drill bit might get stuck into the wood or broke because of its hardness. You can avoid these issues by following some techniques and tips while drilling.
How to drill acacia wood? Use a regular twist or brad point drill bit with a powerful cordless drill. Dont apply pressure and keep the drill fast. For medium size holes, use Forstner bits and for larger holes, use a circular saw. Use a pocket hole jig for angled holes. To make a square or rectangular hole, Mark the shape on the wood and make a hole at one corner of the square. Then use a saw to cut the square. You can also use a wood chisel.
Drilling into acacia wood is a game full of techniques. The drilling process using different tools and machines might seem easy, but this becomes quite a challenge for practical action. A slight mistake or poor technique can result in the loss of both your money and time. So, you need to follow proper guidelines and instructions to fulfill this task effectively.
Methods to drill acacia wood
There are different methods to drill Acacia wood, depending upon the size and type of hole you want to drill. Following are some guidelines to drill Acacia Wood.
1. How to drill small holes in acacia wood?
If you want to cut small holes, then follow these steps to drill properly:
Step 1: Estimate the hole diameter
So the hole diameter is going to play a vital part in how you are going to drill into acacia wood. Thinner holes are a lot easy to drill than wider ones. An estimation of the job will help you select the right drill bit.
Step 2: Choose the right drill bit
So now you are well aware of the requirements. Let me tell you what to use for what purpose.
Use a normal twist drill bit for holes smaller than 1/4″. For larger holes than this to 1/2 of an inch, get hold of a spur drill bit. A good compact cordless drill will do the job till this point.
For larger holes than 1/2 inch, I will recommend using an auger or turbo auger drill bit. They can drill up to a diameter of 1 1/5″ inches.
For holes larger than this, go for a Forstner drill bit. They are also great for concealed cupboard hinges.
You will have to use a circular saw for making holes larger than 2 inches. You can learn more on drill bits for wood in this article I wrote.
Step 3: Drill the hole
So the third step is to press the trigger to start drilling.
But first, mark the spot where you want to drill the hole with a pencil or a marker.
Punch a hole by using a nail and hammer.
Place the drill at the correct orientation on the small hole.
Now, start drilling slowly first and then increase the speed.
Drill the hole fast in wood because this will reduce the waste produced. It will also prevent the bit from tearing out the wood grains. The chances of wood splintering are a lot less if drilled at high speed.
2. Make medium-sized holes with a spade bit
A spade bit is used to cut holes of any size and shape in wood. They are cheap, inexpensive, and have long pilot tips to make holes in any wood type. To learn more about spade bits and why to choose them, here is a great article by Alabama Wood Workers Dot Com
While using a spade bit, you can avoid ripping out the other side of wood while drilling. It has a long pilot bit, so you can see the bit come through. So, start drilling from the other side of the wood to keep the hole looking neat.
You can also use a spur drill bit for medium size holes.
3. How to Drill large holes in acacia wood?
To make large round holes, use a hole saw attached to the drill. Hole saws can cut wood from 1″ to 6″ in diameter. It is the most widely used tool to make large holes in wood. If you want to cut a hole in a thick piece of wood, choose a hole saw with a deep throat.
For acacia, I will recommend using a circular saw with a maximum number of teeth so that each tooth is small in size and there is less friction.
Use the center bit of the saw to align it. Don’t apply pressure and let the saw find its way. If you exert some pressure, it can get stuck.
To prevent chipping the bottom of the wood, make a hole on the upper side using a hole saw and once the bit is through the wood, reverse the bit.
4. How to drill a rectangular or square hole in Acacia?
Cutting a rectangular or a square hole in wood is as easy as cutting a circular hole. You can do this by using a circular bit.
Draw a rectangle or square at the place where you want to drill a square. Now place a drill at the corner of the square. Drill a hole inside the square that will meet the second corner in a line. Use a saw to cut the square.
If the hole is small and using a saw is impossible, make multiple holes and then sand of the sides.
You can also use hand tools like a chisel to carve out a square hole.
Remove the waste repeatedly to make a neat hole. Make sure to remain inside the square so that you will not have to waste the whole board if you deviate from the path.
5. How to drill acacia wood at an angle?
To drill acacia wood at an angle will require a pocket jig. You can use many jigs, but I like the Kreg K4 Pocket HoleJig System (Link to Amazon), one of the most popular ones.
A jig will help you drill in acacia wood at the perfect angle, ensuring the joint is perfect without the screws sticking out.
Also, take extra care while joining the joints. Always screw perpendicular into the wood fibers for a tighter fit.
6. How to drill irregular shapes in acacia wood?
If you want to cut any irregular shape or circle with neat edges, then a jigsaw is one of the best options.
A jigsaw uses a blade that moves upward and downward to cut any curve or shape. Mark the curve or any irregular shape on the wood.
Drill a small hole near the inside edges of the shape. Then place the blade of the jigsaw inside the hole and start drilling the wood.
If you want to cut a square using a jigsaw, draw a square and drill holes at its two corners. Place the jigsaw blade in any hole and start cutting the edges of the square.
In the same way, you can cut any irregular shape by using a jigsaw. Drilling with a jigsaw can cut neat shapes without splitting and cracking the wood.
Tips And Techniques For Drilling Acacia Wood
There are some techniques and tips you can follow to drill properly into acacia.
Pre-drilling before cutting actual hole
If you want to make a fine neat hole, always punch the hole location with an awl, a nail, or any sharp object. Place the nail on the hole location and give it a little tap. This will create a perfect place for the drill bit to bite in and make the hole.
Clear the swarf
The waste work while drilling the hole is called swarf. It is important to remove that swarf to keep the drill bit working efficiently. Pull the drill bit out repeatedly to remove the waste. If the wood is wet, then you will have to remove it from the bit with your fingers or a cloth.
The drill bit’s spinning action can tear out the grains of wood, making a rough appearance around the hole’s backside. Sometimes this may happen on the front side of the hole too.
To avoid that, use painter tape. Place it where you are planning to drill. Mark a hole location on the tape and drill through the tape. Place the wood over another board to avoid splintering at the backside of the hole.
I have compiled a list of some great cordless tools you can select for your personal use. The variety is from both entry-level to full blow professional cordless drills.
I will recommend getting a professional drill for drilling into acacia wood.
How do you drill wood without splitting it?
Drill from both ends. Drill at high speed. Use sharp drill bits. Don’t apply too much pressure. Use a sacrificial board.
What is the best drill bit for wood?
The best drill bit for woodworking is a turbo auger bit. It requires a powerful drill but the end result is fantastic. The holes are very clean and you can avoid splintering. There are other good options like spade, spur, or Forstner drill bits.