When we talk about drilling a hole, everyone immediately thinks of the well-known circular holes.
However, to form a connection, a square hole and a square pin are frequently required.
Drilling a square hole may appear to be a tough task that necessitates the use of specialized equipment, but nothing could be farther from the truth!
We’ll look at 6 alternative techniques to drill a square hole in wood in this article.
One of the six strategies for drilling a square hole is to drill a regular hole in the wood and then widen it with a chisel. Using a jigsaw, router, or specialized square hole punches or square hole drills are other techniques that will help speed up this operation.
If you’re wondering how to drill a square hole in wood but don’t know how to get started or what technique to use, this blog post is for you. With the 6 different techniques in this article, you can easily drill a square hole in a flat piece of wood. Each of these methods uses basic tools or custom tools that fit your budget.
- Why drill a square hole?
- Tools required to drill a square hole.
- How to Drill a Square Hole.
- Method #1: Using a Chisel
- Method #2: Using a drill and Chisel
- Method #3: Using a Drill and jigsaw
- Method #4: using a router
- Method #5: Square Hole Punch
- Method #6: Using a Square drill bit
- How to drill a square hole – Conclusion.
Why drill a square hole?
You’ll undoubtedly find yourself in various scenarios when you’ll need to drill a square hole in wood. When building a mortise and tenon joint, this is the most common scenario.
Making a mortise and tenon connection may be difficult. Not for manufacturing a tenon, which can be done quickly with a table saw and this DIY tenon jig, but for making the tenon.
Making a square hole takes practice and, most importantly, time.
That’s why, in this post, I’ll show you how to cut a square hole in wood in six different methods. These 6 methods make use of basic tools found in every workshop, as well as certain specialist tools that can help you achieve square holes faster without breaking the bank.
Tools required to drill a square hole.
The tools you need to make square holes will depend on the method you use.
A set of chisels and drills will suffice for the easy approaches.
A jigsaw, cordless drill or drill press, and a router are all tools that may be used to machine drill square holes.
If you don’t have a cordless drill yet and aren’t sure which one is ideal for you, read the article, “Cordless Drills Buying Guide | Discover The 5 Best Cordless Drills For Woodworking”. In this guide, I walk you through the process of selecting the best cordless drill.
The square hole punch and a drill press adaptor that allows you to utilize a square drill bit are two specific pieces of equipment that I will explain later in this post. Making square holes will be a lot easier and faster with these tools.
How to Drill a Square Hole.
In this section, I’ll show you how to cut square holes in wood in six different methods. Examine these options carefully, and then determine which is the best option for you after reading this article. Choose a technique based on the project you’re working on, the speed you want to work at, or a method that allows you to use the tools you currently have in your workshop.
Method #1: Using a Chisel
Using a woodworking chisel is the easiest way to make a square hole. A chisel is one of the basic tools you should have in your workshop because it can be used for so many tasks.
However, this method may not always be the best option due to the speed with which the holes can be made. This way may be simple, but it’s the slowest way in this complete list.
To make a square hole, all you need is a good set of chisels and a hammer. Never use a metal hammer to hit the chisels, this will only damage them. Instead, use a mallet or nylon hammer like this one from Beta, which I use and highly recommend.
How to make a square hole in wood by using a chisel
First, mark the outer dimensions of the square.
Place the chisel on the marked line, on the corner of the square!
Now tap the chisel carefully with a hammer. When the chisel has gone a few mm into the wood, remove the chisel and repeat this step on the other corners of the square until you have gone all the way around.
When you’ve gone all the way around, now use the chisel as leverage to lift a layer of the wood out of the hole.
Once this layer is gone, you can repeat the first steps to go all the way around and lift a new layer from the wood. Continue until you reach the desired depth or all the way through the piece of wood.
When you’re done, you can finish the edges with sandpaper.
Method #2: Using a drill and Chisel
While you can make a square hole in the wood with a chisel, as shown in the first method, it is not the quickest option. Not at all, especially if the material is exceptionally thick. This strategy may be handy if you’re seeking a faster way to do something while still using simple tools.
To make a square hole in the wood with this method, you will need a good set of drill bits, a cordless drill or drill press, and chisels.
To know what drill bits you should have in your workshop, check out the article, “7 Essential Types Of Drill Bits For Woodworking”.
How to drill a square hole in wood using a drill and chisel
Look at the size of the hole you need to make and use it to calculate the drill’s diameter. One piece of advice is to use a drill bit that is smaller than the square hole’s width. This is seen in the picture below.
Before you make the hole, set the right speed on your cordless drill or drill press using the drill.
Now you can get started making the square hole.
Start by drawing a square on your workpiece with the dimensions that the hole should have. Use a pencil or marking knife for this. The pencil I always use is the one from Pica that you can find here on Amazon.
Also, mark the center of the square and then place the drill on this mark.
Now drill the hole to the depth you want. This is the advantage of this technique that you do not have to drill all the way through the wood. In some situations, it may be required.
To finish the square hole, use the chisel to remove the wood from the corners of the square.
If necessary, finish the hole by touching up the edges with a piece of sandpaper.
Method #3: Using a Drill and jigsaw
The previous two methods could be used to make shallow holes or holes that go all the way through the wood. With this tip, it is only possible to make holes that go through the full thickness of the wood.
The principle is that you drill a hole through the wood with a regular round drill and then finish the square hole in a straight line with a jigsaw.
For this method, a cordless drill or drill press with a modified drill and a jigsaw is sufficient.
In the article, “What Jigsaw Is Best For Your Shop | Step-By-Step Guide”, I help you in your search for the perfect jigsaw for your workshop.
How to drill a square hole using a drill and jigsaw
Choose a suitable drill bit that is slightly smaller than the square hole you want to make and install it in your cordless drill or drill press.
Mark the lines of the square hole with a pencil and determine the center.
For smaller holes, drill a hole in the center of the square. If you want to cut larger holes, you can drill a hole in each corner of the square.
Now you can use the hole in the middle, or one of the holes in the corners, as a starting point for the jigsaw.
Place the jigsaw blade through the hole until the jigsaw sole makes full contact with the surface. Now start the jigsaw and finish the square hole by cutting along the marked lines.
Make sure to stay within the marked lines at all times. You can always touch it up afterward with a file and sandpaper.
Method #4: using a router
This method of drilling square holes works well for shallow holes as well as holes that go all the way through the board.
Milling a square hole with a router is a quick process since routers have strong electric motors that can complete the task in a matter of seconds!
There is, however, a little more preparation required, and you will need to pay additional attention after milling the square hole.
A router with a straight cutting router bit is required to make square holes. You’ll need a chisel to finish the corners after machining the hole.
This is a method I utilize on occasion, and it’s simple to execute with a palm router and a custom router bit.
How to drill a square hole using a router
You’ll need to apply a template to your workpiece before you begin. By using a template, you will be able to make a straight cut as a result of this.
To start, mark where the square hole should be. Then, you can place the router with the straight cutting router bit on the surface of the wood where you wish to make the hole. Do it in such a way that the router bit’s side meets the designated line.
Based on the router’s location, you may now position the template. Secure it to the surface using a clamp. For this, you’ll need customized woodworking clamps.
Turn on the router and lower the router bit to drill a hole to begin cutting. Check the position of the hole against the designated line once you’ve created the first one. Changes may now be made so that accurate cuts can be made.
You may now begin milling a square hole. Avoid driving the router bit too far into the wood. To prevent burning the wood or blocking the router, make little cuts instead.
You may adjust the router bit a little deeper after each cut until you achieve the required depth.
Remove the template after the router cuts have been completed.
You’ll need to update the router bit since the edges are round owing to the form of the router bit. This may be accomplished by using a chisel to remove the excess material from the corners.
Method #5: Square Hole Punch
For producing square holes in wood, a square hole punch is an excellent instrument. Although not everyone has this equipment, it makes drilling a square hole in wood simpler than before. Furthermore, these square hole punches are quite inexpensive.
Square perforators function on the same idea as a mortise machine, but you don’t need one with this approach; you can accomplish it with a cordless drill or drill press.
A square hole punch is a hole punch with sharp edges made specifically for making square holes.
The sizes 3/16″, 1/4″, and 5/16″ are 2 3/4″ long overall, while the 3/8″, 7/16″, and 1/2″ are 3 1/16″ long.
These are excellent tools in my opinion, but you won’t be able to use them to make mortises since they are designed to drill decorative square holes in wood.
You’ll also need a hammer and a cordless drill or drill press in addition to this square hole punch.
How do you punch a square hole in wood?
To begin, mark the location of the square hole. Now select the appropriate square hole punch size and set it on the marking.
You tap this instrument with a hammer a few times until it sinks into the wood.
A drill can be inserted via an aperture at the top of the case. Drill a hole at the required depth through the square hole punch. After drilling, use the hammer to drive the square hole punch deeper into the wood. This tool’s sharp cuts will cut away the wood and form the hole’s sidewalls by forcing it into the wood.
Method #6: Using a Square drill bit
A square drill bit is actually a simplified system of the square hole punch and will work a little faster.
The drill is secured in the housing of the square chisel. By turning the drill and pressing the chisels into the wood, a square hole can be made.
However, for these square drill bits, you need a mortise machine. The cheaper models are not that expensive, but still an investment for a power tool that you will hardly use a few times. On top of that, if you have a small workshop, you’ve got another tool that will take up some space.
Here you can check how much the WEN mortise machine is currently priced on Amazon.
Fortunately, there is also an alternative, so read on to learn all about it.
Can square drill bits be used in a drill press?
In short, yes, you can use square drill bits on a drill press, but you need a bench drill locator set for mortiser to do this.
This attachment is considerably cheaper than having to buy a mortise machine, and it also takes up a lot less space. The disadvantage is that it takes some time to install this set every time you want to drill square holes with your drill press.
However, if you need to drill a lot of holes, it is well worth taking the time to install this tool. Due to the speed with which this tool works, installation time is quickly recovered, and you will be able to drill the holes with greater ease and less effort.
How to drill a square hole with a square drill bit
To drill a square hole with this type of drill bit, start by marking the location of the hole, as you would with any of the other techniques outlined above.
The mortise set should now be installed on the drill press according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Clamp the workpiece to the table of your drill press after the installation is complete.
This is important to remember so that the workpiece does not move or spin as a result. This is one of the causes of the high number of drill press accidents that occur each year. In the post “Drill Press Accidents Happen Every Day: 9 Tips To Stay Safe,” which I recently added to my website, you can learn more about how to prevent drill press accidents.
You may drill the hole after clamping it in the proper place, exactly like you would with a regular drill and drill press.
How to drill a square hole – Conclusion.
The square hole might be a bit challenging for you if you have never drilled it before. However, it is very possible to drill a square hole into a flat surface. If you want to get a perfect square hole, try using the techniques I have provided in this article.
With this knowledge, I’m confident that adopting the proper method to drill a square hole can help you get the most out of your woodworking projects. So what are you waiting for? Give one of the techniques a try today.
Before we wrap up this article, keep in mind that while cutting square holes for a woodworking joint, you’ll need to apply wood glue to keep the wood in place. Visit this collection of all wood glue tip articles I’ve written to learn all there is to know about wood glue. You can ensure a good glue-up and the best bond for your projects by reading these articles.
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Woodworking | DIY | Home decoration