Stationary power tools are often the most full-proof way to do a job. They're anchored to the floor or bench, and come with flat tables and fence systems so you can guarantee your cuts, holes, and other bits of shaping are square and straight.
But, besides being expensive, they're not always the right tool for the job. So, instead we turn to handheld tools, both electric and manual, to get things done. And therein lies the rub - human beings are not machines. Try as we might, we often can't do something with our hands as straight or square as a large stationary tool.
Besides using guides and other accuracy aids, there's a super simple and easy trick you can add to your mental toolbox to help guide the tool to do its best.
To the non-DIYer, dedicating an entire blog post to this process may seem like overkill. But anyone who wields their cordless drill on the regular can attest: the issue of making an existing hole larger comes up all. the. time. Whether repairing something around the house, replacing a part or piece of hardware, or just because you didn't quite get it right the first time, any maker, woodworker, or generally handy person knows how frequently one needs to enlarge a hole, and how surprisingly difficult it can be to pull off.
Okay, friends. This is one of my all-time favorite DIY hacks. I learned it more than fifteen years ago from a book I got from the library, and committed it to memory. I only need it about once or twice a year, but it works every. single. time. I'm always super grateful to have it on hand, and so today, I'm sharing so you too can stop busting your hand and banging your knuckles every time you need to install a hook somewhere.
Sure, every once in a while, you choose to intentionally drill a hole at a specific angle. Perhaps your compound joinery demands it, or you're going for a stylish, contemporary look on a project.
But most of the holes we drill — I'd hazard to say a good 99% of them — are intended to be drilled straight on, perfectly perpendicular to the surface. You can do this precisely with a drill press, but many makers don't have one, and they require specific set up and work that's small enough to be placed on the table.
So that leaves the cordless drill. A tool that, when balanced on the tip of a drill bit, can be easily canted and slanted off square in every single direction, especially when you're putting force behind it.
But! The task is not impossible. Yes, DIYers, you can drill a perfect 90° hole with a cordless drill. Here's how it's done.
Here's our pick for the best impact driver bits. With this collection, you'll never be at a loss for the right bit for the job.
When is a drill not a drill? When it's a driver, used for securing hardware into material, rather than simply boring a hole into it. If you're anything like us, your cordless drill gets pressed into service much more often as a way to drive or remove fasteners than making holes with twist bits. And to get the most out of this versatile tool, you've gotta have the right bit for the job. Here's how to build a complete set of the best impact driver bits to allow you to take on any task.
So, ever since I learned to use an electric drill, I've followed this rule: when joining two pieces of wood, you drill an appropriately sized pilot hole completely through the top, and down into the second. This guides the screw, and the two pieces are held together when the screw's threads grab the wood and lock everything into place. The pilot hole's size is determined by the inner diameter of the screw's body, minus the threads. Right?
There are lots of ways to give gifts for the holidays. You can give in a way that simply checks a person off the list; acknowledges that it's expected and therefore here's your Amazon giftcard... (Not recommended.) You can can give gifts that are elaborate, expensive, and make everything that also helped create that pile or wrapping paper look negligible. (Also not recommended.) Or you can source something that person didn't know existed, and legitimately surprise them. (Solid.) You could give them something you know they want, but wouldn't spend the money on for themselves. (Nice one.) Or, for many a practical-minded recipient, you can
Countersinking hardware, such as screws or flathead bolts, is key to a sleek surface and a quality, finished look. But it doesn't always go smoothly, and the multiple bits can lead to tearout and misshapen holes.
Recently, I was making a jig from some hard maple that required precise countersunk holes for hardware alignment. I needed the hole to be placed exactly for registration, so I first drilled out the hole, and then the countersink. But every. single. hole. gave me fits. Once I finished one side of the jig, I was determined to come up with a better solution.
ManMade Essential Toolbox: Why You Need a Full Set of Hex Keys (Allen Wrenches). Here's What to Get.
If you're anything like me, your first set of hex keys came with some generic tool kit someone gave you before heading off to the freshman dorm. They were wrapped in wire and wrangled around a key ring. They worked, kinda; they were constantly tangled and forever frustrating, but they sorta got the job done, and so they stayed.
As any DIYer knows...the longer you've been making stuff, the more stuff you gather. But not just tools - all the accessories and add-ons that make tools into mutil-tasking, multi-purpose creative machines.
No tool represents that versatility like the drill/driver. And nothing else racks up extra parts: twist bits, brad-point bits, hole saws, Forstner bits, spade bits, hex drivers, sanding drums, and the like. There are a lot of things that work by being chucked in and spinning at 1000s of RPMs.
French designer and artist Oscar Lhermite secured a compact digital camera to a cordless drill and filmed the results of the lens spinning. Since the camera is capturing about fifteen frames per second and the spinning at 1,200 f.p.s., the resulting blurred video becomes what the artist calls, "seeing the world in a circular gradient."
When I first saw the setup, I imagined the resulting images to be some kind of whirly, wacky video, but it's exactly the opposite. The difference in speed produces an evolving, ethereal kaleidoscope-like pulsing orb that changes as the light and colors are altered.
Be sure to watch through until Lhermite takes the camera outside and captures the streetlights:
Of course, I've thought of it. Standing at the counter, in the midst of dicing some veg, and I muse "Wow, this would be so much faster and accurate with the bandsaw!"
Prolly not safer, but of course, I love the idea of fusing my two favorite rooms in the house - the kitchen and the workshop.
As a how-to maker and writer, I regularly drill holes in walls to set up photos to try to make things look their best. And it regularly creates lots of dust and a huge mess. So, when I saw this photo make the blog rounds yesterday, I thought I'd give it a try.
The idea is obvious: the post-it note captures the dust at the source (more or less), before it goes everywhichway. The walls along the perimeter of my house are concrete, and the internal walls are gypsum (drywall), so I gave it a full run-through.