How to Cut Wood with a Drill

How to Cut Wood with a Drill

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Every now and then you’ll find yourself at a job site or working on a project and short of a tool or two to finish the project you’re working on. With that, you’ll be forced to come up with a creative solution. One of the most common such issues you’ll probably come across is needing to cut wood but without having a saw.

If that’s the case and you have is a traditional drill at hand, you don’t need to worry. Below, we’ll go through the steps you need to take to cut wood with a drill so you can be prepared once such a situation arises.

Can (and Should) You Cut Wood with a Drill?

Ideally, you should use a saw to cut wood and a drill to drill holes. After all, that’s the purpose those tools were designed for, and using them for purposes outside of those makes the job more difficult. But there will be times you don’t have the necessary saw or you’re unable to go get the tool and just using the drill will work the best. In that case, we’ve got some steps to follow and tips and tricks to get it done right.

While the best tool for cutting wood is some kind of saw, you can use a drill with some more specific bits like this one sold by Walmart. Bits like these have teeth and sharp edges that allow you to cut holes multiple times in a row so you can cut the wood effectively. The sharper the bit, the better it will cut the wood all the way through.

How to Cut Wood with a Drill

With that out of the way, let’s get inton the actual process.

Step 1: Mark Your Cutting Line

The first thing you need to do before you even pick up your drill to cut wood is to mark your line across the surface of the wood.

This will show you exactly where you want to cut and allow you to get the most accurate and precise cut. Using a straight edge or a chalk line will help you get this part of the job done.

Step 2: Wear PPE

The second thing you’ll want to do is make sure you have all of your safety equipment and gear in place.

For this type of project, the biggest thing you’ll want to have is safety glasses in case the wood splinters and flies toward your face.

Step 3: Drill Multiple Holes Along the Marked Line

Follow the pencil or chalk line and make several holes along the board. Put them as close together as you can and when you’ve gone across the entire surface, the punctures should be similar to the perforations on toilet paper sheets.

Continue drilling more holes as necessary. At one point or another, the wood should become weakened enough to snap along the line of your choice.

Step 4: Sand the Edges

The edges of the wood are going to be rough with ridges where the holes were drilled.

Start with rough sandpaper or an electric sander and smooth down the edges until they fit your purpose and the job. You may have to go over the wood several times to keep it from being too rough or too splintery. In case the wood does end up splintering, read this guide to fixing the issue.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks

Finally, below are a couple of tips to keep in mind as you go through this task.

#1: Choose the Right Drill Bit

If you have the option of choosing from different drill bit types, utilize an auger drill bit. These bits remove more wood with each rotation and pull the sawdust and other pieces of wood out of the way.

Even if you don’t have an auger bit, at least make sure to choose a bit that’s designed for wood and not for concrete, drywall, or other types of materials. Doing so will help make sure that you are not going to encounter any issues along the way and that you are using the most efficient tool for the job you have available.

#2: Take Your Time

Since you’re cutting the wood with a drill bit instead of a blade, you probably won’t be able to rush the project. Putting any number of holes in the wood will take longer than just sawing the board in half.

With that in mind, don’t rush the drilling or the breaking of the board near the end. Else, you might end up with a splintered and useless piece of wood.

#3: Invest in the Right Tools

While, as mentioned earlier, it is possible to cut wood with a drill, it is in no way efficient or recommended. Instead, if you need to cut a lot of wood, you should invest in a good saw – whether manual or electric.


If you’ve found yourself in a pinch and you’re missing the right tools to finish the job, you can always come up with a creative solution to make sure you finish things on time. One of the easiest ways to be creative and finish projects is to make use of your drill in new and unique ways.

You might end up stuck in a space where you can’t reach your other tools or you simply don’t have the tools necessary to cut your board. You can use your drill to make a straight, simple cut along the edge of the board without a saw or blade.

To cut, set out a straight line to follow. Start by drilling your holes along the line until the holes resemble the perforations on toilet paper. Keep adding holes until the board weakens enough to be snapped. Then take your sandpaper or electric sander and smooth down the edges until they fit your job or project.

Coming up with or remembering a creative solution that will help you out in a pinch down the road is a great way to get a leg up on the competition and stay ahead of your next project.