How to drill oak wood?

Oakwood is a hard and strong wood with a complex structure. It is more durable than ordinary wood due to its hardness and density. However, oak wood’s hardness makes it prone to crack or split if you are not aware of all of the precautions and techniques required to drill in it.

Drilling oak wood is more difficult than drilling softwood. A slight mistake can waste all of your effort & money. In this article, I will discuss a few great ways to drill oak wood like a pro.

How to drill oak wood? For drilling oak wood at high speed, use a spade drill bit. To drill deep holes in thicker pieces of oak, use an auger drill bit. Similarly, if you need to drill with higher precision and speed, then take a brad point drill bit. A circular hole saw is used to make large holes in oak wood. 

So let’s discuss in detail which tool to select and how to drill in oak wood to avoid any splitting.

Methods To Drill Oak Wood

There are many methods to drill oak wood depending upon the size and type of the hole. Follow these few general rules when drilling into oak wood.

  • Always make a pilot hole before actually drilling in oak wood. 
  • Start drilling straight and at a slower speed. Then drive the screw in wood with an angle.
  • Lubricate your screw to make it fit easily in the hole. Rub the screw with soap and then place it in the hole. 
  • Place the wood you are cutting on any wood board to support the cutting wood while drilling a hole. This will also prevent tearing out of wood from the backside of the hole.

1. How to Drill Oak wood at high speed?

If you wish to drill an oak wood at high speed, it is recommended to use a spade drill bit (Learn more on spade drill bit drilling on this site). They come in a wide variety of sizes, starting from ¼ inch and goes up to 1(1/2) inch.

It will help if you are super cautious while drilling in oak wood with a spade drill bit for a quick hole to avoid a hole splintering.

So, all I recommend is not to drill through complete, rather wait for the tip to show up on the other side of the workpiece.

Once it reaches the other side, drill from the other end to get a great finish.

Spade Drill Bits for drilling into oak wood

Spade bits have a flat area for drilling holes with larger diameters. You have to remove the drilled material frequently to make a neat hole because these bits do not have flutes to clean the hole.

You will need to use a power drill for this purpose. Check our drill recommendations here.

2. How to Drill a large hole in oak wood?

A Circular saw is the best option to make big holes in oak wood. Circular saws make holes from 1″ to 6″ in diameter. You can also make holes through thick pieces of wood by using a  ‘long throat’ circular saw. 

The circular saw has a blade in the form of a cylinder and is useful for cutting holes with neat edges.

large hole drilling into oak wood

Mark a cut line on wood and place the wood you are cutting on another wooden board. Make sure to support the wood to avoid chipping at the other end of the whole.

Place the circular saw at the correct position and start drilling the hole. Make sure to adjust the depth of the circular saw to make a perfectly sized hole in wood.

3. How to drill clean long holes in oak wood?

If you want to make small to medium-sized holes in oak wood, use an auger drill bit with a flat tip to make long straight holes.

Auger drill bits are capable of drilling neat holes in oak wood because of their aggressive threads.

These drill bits can drill deep and uniform holes in wood. Make a pilot hole in the wood and then start drilling by placing an auger drill bit into the hole. The bit will move smoothly through the wood, making a neat hole.

Auger Drill bit drilling oak wood

These drill bits increase the speed of the drilling process and help make holes of any size.

These bits keep your work organized and easy by removing the wood waste with flutes. So, you do not have to remove the waste constantly while drilling into the wood.

4. How to drill oak wood at high precision?

Brad-point drill bits are used to make holes in hardwood with high precision. These bits have sharp tips and allow drilling at the correct marked position.

Mark a hole location on wood and place the top of the brad-point bit on it. Start drilling slowly till the brad point breaks through one side of the wood. The tip of the blade point will mark a hole on the other side. Now, drill the borehole through the other side of the wood. 

This will make a neat hole without tearing out the wood from the other side. 

Spade Drill bit for oak wood

Brad-point bits are available in various sizes. Use an appropriate bit, considering the size of your screw. 

Drilling at a higher speed produces a lot of heat that can cause damage to the strength of the hole.

What are the best screws for oak wood

There are a lot of screws available for different purposes. The size and type of screw determine the holding power of wood. Following are some features that an ideal screw should have while dealing with oak wood. 

Head Type

The shape of the head of screws plays a vital role in holding wood together. The screw with a traditional flat and oval head gives a nice look to the woodwork. They are the best option for oak work. It also provides strength by joining the wood together firmly. 

Screws with bulge heads are not a good option for oak wood because their head can crack it.

Screw heads for oak wood

Screw Thread

When a screw enters the hole, the threads of the screw will now force it to drive into the way. 

The screws with fine threads are suitable for hardwood like oak, cherry, and maple instead of screws having coarse threads.

Coarse threaded screws are used for softwood and plywood because these threads provide strength to the fibers of softwood.

Thread type for oak wood

Material of screw

Another important thing to consider before choosing the right screw for oak wood is its material.

Plated steel offers strength and durability to screw, but the best option for oak wood is stainless steel screws.

These marine quality stainless screws have greater power to resist saltwater and chlorides. This feature makes it useful for oak work that naturally contains some acids. 

Related Questions

Can you screw into the wood without drilling ?

It is possible to drive the screw in wood without a drill. Use a screw with aggressive threads and a sharp tip. Drive the screw in wood with the help of a hammer or a screwdriver.

But it is not ideal for driving the screw in wood without drilling the pilot hole first. 

How to drill wood without chipping ?

Use sharp drill bits, at high speed, with a sacrificial board at the bottom to avoid chipping. You can tape it on both ends as well, but that is not such an effective method.