How to Remove a Stuck Drill Bit From Wood?

Getting a drill bit stuck while working on your wood projects will face now and then. I faced the same issue, and I did some research and learned a few ways to remove a stuck drill bit. There are many ways to do it, and I will share the simplest and time-efficient ones.

So, if you are facing the problem of drill bit stuck in wood, you can follow these easy steps to get it out:

Step 1: If your drill bit is still attached to your power drill, try reversing your drill direction.
Step 2: If the drill bit is broken and stuck, grip the drill bit’ shank with any available pliers’ jaws. Locking pliers are recommended.
Step 3: Hold pliers’ handles firmly to rotate your drill bit counterclockwise to loosen it.
Step 4: Now, the drill bit stuck in wood will be easy to remove.

The scenarios can be different, and you will have to use other techniques to pull out your stuck drill bit from wood. Let’s discuss them here in detail.

For those who have a stuck drill bit in the drill due to overtight chuck, all they need to do is put the drill in reverse, and hold the chuck part you use to tight a drill bit in place with a strap wrench which is well designed for this task and won’t damage the chuck. Push the trigger and hold the wrench with another hand to free your drill bit in a few seconds.

Methods to Remove a Stuck Drill Bit From Wood

I am going to tell you different methods for different cases. Let’s start with the easiest one.

1. Using Plier to Remove Stuck Drill Bit

If the drill bit is broken so that you can access it, you are in luck. All you need is a plier to pull it out using the following method.

A stuck spade drill bit with the shank extruding outside and easily accessible. The drill is not working in reverse.
A stuck spade drill bit with the shank extruding outside and easily accessible. The drill is not working in reverse.

Step 1: Wide open the pliers and grab the shaft tip to remove the stuck drill bit from the wood. You can use any plier like serrated jaws or a locking mechanism (Vise Grip Pliers). Be extra careful as the edges of the broken bit might be ultra-sharp. Make sure not to hurt yourself accidentally.
Step 2: Press the plier handles firmly and rotate the bit in a counterclockwise direction. If the bit is not moving, you can drip in some lubricant oil for tools to seep in, which will make it easy to extract the stuck drill bit. Almost all drills are designed to go in with clockwise rotation and come out with counterclockwise spin.
Step 3: Once the drill bit is free & loose, you can pull it out. Avoid jerking the pliers as it can break the drill bit again to make the extracting even tricky.

You can find multiple pliers on Amazon. However, we recommend this Channel Lock’s set, which can cater to many situations.

Channel Lock Set of pliers to remove stuck drill bit from wood
Channel Lock Set of pliers.

2. Using Screw Extractor Method to Remove Stuck Drill Bit

So, before I go into details of how you can use a screw extractor kit to remove a stuck drill bit from wood, let me explain the kit itself.

A screw extractor kit is used to remove a headless or rusted bolt/screw after drilling its head to be driven out. Below is an excellent video of how it works. Check this article on how to remove a stripped screw.

Ok, I assume that you have watched the above video; if not, consider watching it for the rest of the article to make sense.

So using the screw extractor method might be a little tricky when used for broken drill bits.

The biggest hurdle will be drilling a hole in the broken drill bit’s snapping point. The snapping point may not be flat, and you will find it hard to initiate a hole.

Another problem is the hardness of the drill bit material. Most of the time, the drills are made of a more rigid material than a screw, so it will be a little hard to make the hole for the extractor to work.

Let’s assume the bit has snapped off perfectly. The bit material is not ultra hard.

Follow these easy steps to use the screw extractor kit.

A stuck drill bit with shank broken inside and not accessible with normal pliers.
A stuck drill bit with shank broken inside and not accessible with normal pliers.

Step 1: Select the right size of the extractor tool as per the broken drill bit. If the broken drill bit is too thin, you may not be able to use this method.

Step 2: Fit in your extractor tool in a drill, so the drilling head is sticking out. Reverse your drill as a screw extractor kit works in the opposite direction (Counter Clockwise). Since wood is soft comparatively, you may even be able to pull out the bit while drilling in. Make sure you are using a professional-grade drill for this purpose like this one.

Step 3: Drop a little oil on the snapping point for better cooling. Make a hole for the extractor tool with the drilling end. Make the hole around 1/4th of an inch deep.

Step 4: Remove the extractor tool from your drill and put it back with the drilling end inside the drill. Keep the drill’s rotation direction reversed (Counter Clockwise)

Step 5: Keep pressing inwards and start the drill at a slow speed. It will rotate the broken bit out. See, so simple.

3. Drilling from the Opposite Side

Ok, so another method to remove the stuck drill but form wood is drilling for the opposite.

If the other end of the wood is accessible and you were planning to drill through, you can use a similar size drill like the one stuck to drill from the opposite side.

Make sure not to repeat the same mistake which resulted in the previous drill being broken.

Also, be very patient and slow as you can touch the stuck drill’s tip and break the new one as well.

So, let’s get into the details and steps you will have to follow.

Step 1: The first step is to identify the exact spot which will lead you to the stuck drill bit. You can do so in different ways and can vary from case to case.

Let’s consider you were drilling perpendicular to the wood’s surface; then, you can take a chart paper and align one end with the workpiece for using them as a reference point.

Then mark a spot on the chart paper where the drill is stuck. Now, place the chart paper on the other side using the same reference points and mark the location for drilling on the other side.

Step 2: Stuck in a bit having the same or a smaller diameter than the broken bit in a drill and start drilling at slow speeds from the opposite side. Stop till it reaches the other stuck drill. Make sure you are drilling towards the broken drill.

Step 3: Once you can spot the stuck drill from the other side, use a screwdriver or a metallic rod to punch it out from the other side. Be very careful not to damage the workpiece.

How to Avoid Getting Your Drill Bits Stucked?

I have shared the methods on how to remove a drill bit from wood if it gets stuck. You can prevent these scenarios in the future. Follow these precautions, and you will be all good.

Tips For Wood Surfaces

  1. Always use sharp and well-maintained drill bits.
  2. Different type of wood requires a different type of bits. Make sure to use the correct type of drill bit every time.
  3. Always drill fast to avoid hole blowouts or splintering.
  4. When drilling multiple holes in hardwood, take outbreaks for the drill bit to cool down.
  5. Use a professional-grade drill for drilling into hardwoods and objects like this one.

    (Related Read: Types of Drill Bits for Wood & Good Techniques For Drilling Into a Wood)
Stuck drill bit due to slow drilling & under power drill.
Stuck drill bit due to slow drilling & under power drill.

Tips For Hard Surfaces

  1. Make sure to fit your drill bit properly & tight in your drill to avoid any bit’s stain.
  2. On metals & hard surfaces like concrete, it is always recommended to drill at low speeds to avoid overheating and breaking your drill bit.
  3. Choose the right type of drill bit for each surface, like a tungsten high-speed twist drill bit for metal and a masonry drill bit for concrete.
  4. Use coolant concerning the type of surface and drilling technique. Use a few drops of oil when drilling into metal. You may consider using some water when drilling into concrete to make the job easy & dust free.

Related Questions

  1. Why do drill bits get stuck in wood?

    A drill bit can get stuck in the wood after losing its cutting ability. If a drill bit can carve out wood fibers, it will never get stuck, but once it’s not able to, it will still manage to get inside like a nail does and will eventually get stuck.

  2. How do you remove a stuck spade drill bit?

    Spade drills are generally used to make larger holes, so you can use a plier with long thin jaws to pull it out. Rotating the drill in a counterclockwise direction will remove a spade drill bit a lot easier.

  3. Why did my drill bit break?

    Drill bits can break due to multiple reasons. The most common one is twisting the bits beyond their capacity. These twisting forces increase when the bit is not sharp and is not drilling correctly. Bending the drill bit due to the wrong drilling technique can also break a drill bit.