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I have a number of holes to drill with a spade bit soon and I currently do not have a working drill press.

One of the parts that I have to drill will be the wide end apron for my work bench top.  The material is 3" thick White Oak.

My question is would drilling a pilot hole would help guide the bit any?


Thoughts, comments, experiance welcome.




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The primary function of the point on a spade bit is to keep the bit drilling straight. If you drill anything but the smallest pilot hole, it will allow your spade bit to "wobble". Try it in a scrap piece of wood and you will see what I mean. This is especially true without a drill press. A sharp bit will be the key.


The spade-bit point can wonder when too much force is applied or when the drill point hits the edge of the grain,

the point follows along the grain and will wonder off.

Make a shallow depth cut, raise the bit allowing the wood chips to clear,  and repeat until the desired depth is achieved.

Allow the drill bit to do the work.  Don't force it.

By doing this process, I'm able to drill thru the edge of a 2x4 and get perfect alignment, using and hand drill.

A small diameter pilot hole, less than 1/8", can be used successfully before using a spade-bit.

PS---there are newer style self-feed spade-boring-bits that are more efficient.

Boring bits that feature a self-feeding point.

Bosch (blue) or Milwaukee (red).

Available in various shank lengths.


Thank you for the help!


This style spade bit is more common on todays market---

note the groove in the tip point area.  The groove chips away the wood fibers that keeps the bit going straight.

NOTE: Some old style vintage spade bits have a flat point---without the groove--- this type had a tendency to wonder/not track straight.

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