Why use pilot holes before screwing into wood

Pilot holes play a vital role in woodwork projects - especially when it comes to screwing into wood. These holes help you create smooth, precise holes that ensure that screws can be drilled into the wood with less risk of the wood splitting or breaking. Screws are also more likely to stay straight, as the hole has been created already. Whether you are building a cabinet or hanging shelves, pilot holes are essential before you begin screwing into wood. Keep reading to find out why. 

Using Pilot Holes for Screwing into Wood

There are a few key reasons to make pilot holes before you start screwing into wood. Here are the biggest reasons.

Prevent the wood from cracking.

Drilling screws directly into the wood without preparing the holes first means that you are pushing the wood away to make room to add the screw. When you do this, there is more pressure on the wood around the screw. This increases the risk of cracking and splitting, as the wood cannot handle the expansion easily. Some woods are more prone to splitting than others. Hardwoods such as oak are harder to screw into without pilot holes, as it has a more complex structure than softer woods such as pine. Although pine is less likely to split, this wood is not always the ideal choice for every woodworking project. Damaging a high-quality wood such as oak will waste a lot of money. 

Drive screws in more easily.

Preparing the wood before adding screws will help to guide the screws in more easily. Whether you use a power tool or a screwdriver, you want to be able to get the screws in straight, without using a lot of force. This saves you a lot of time and effort. 

Avoid damaging the screw.

Without a pilot hole, you will also risk damaging the screw - especially when applying too much pressure when using cheap, poor quality screws and a power tool such as an impact. You can also risk stripping the screw heads when you are trying to drive the screw into the wood, with not enough force being used as you try and get the screw into the wood.

How to Drill Pilot Holes into Wood

Adding pilot holes is easy. Although it may seem like an added step that will take up time, it will save you a lot of hassle later and make sure that your screws are perfectly aligned. To make the holes, start by marking the spot with a pencil or tape. Then make a small indent using the tip of the drill bit. You can then drill the hole that is about the same depth as your screw. Our helpful guide to using pilot holes will take you through the process, step by step. 

Needless to say, when making pilot holes or doing any other type of drilling, it is essential to use the right drill bits for the job at hand. Ruwag offers a wide range of wood drill bits that will give you the best results when screwing into wood, every time.

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