This will no doubt win the stupid post of the month award, but I'm
serious. I have a little plastic case of drill bits, some are missing
and some fit more than one slot, several are duplicates. It doesn't say
(can't see that well) what size they are on the bit, but above the slots
in the case the size is molded in there.
The last time it was a window box, and picked to small a drill bit and
had trouble getting the screws in so I took my drill bits to the
hardware store to buy some more screws (dropped a couple and could not
find them in the dirt) and ask which bit to use, little things in the
house no big deal but I'm doing to do some bolting, screwing and
drilling through two thicker layers of wood. Right now it happens to be
attaching stakes on a stepladder plant stand, a screen door trellis, and
also some supports to reinforce the door. Next project, who knows what
I'll run into.
I have noticed if I don't choose the right size drill bit, it is hard to
get the screw in and you get it so far in and the slot or plus
(phillips) starts getting stripped, sometimes because I didn't drill the
hole deep enough and sometimes because I used too small a bit.
Do you just eyeball it and guess? For my knitting needles and crochet
hooks, I have a little template that I can poke the thing in and find
the exact size. Do they have something like that for drill bits? Maybe
I could use that somehow. Poke whatever I've got in there and follow
with a drill bit until I find a good fit.
Maybe I answered my own question here. Buy the bolts and use the
knitting needle thingy.
A drill gauge is inexpensive but you don't need one.
Hold the screw up and look at how much metal is under the treaded parts
and choose a bit closest to that size or just a little under. You can
use a lubricant on the screw to ease installation, beeswax, an old
candle or bar soap.
Here is a chart from the web.
Wood Screw Pilot Hole Size
Screw Size Hard Wood Soft Wood Countersink Size
Tapered Bit Straight Bit Tapered Bit Straight Bit
2 3/32 1/16 5/64 1/16 1/4
3 7/64 5/64 3/32 1/16 1/4
4 7/64 5/64 3/32 1/16 1/4
5 1/8 3/32 7/64 5/64 5/16
6 9/64 7/64 1/8 3/32 5/16
7 5/32 7/64 9/64 3/32 5/16
8 11/64 1/8 5/32 7/64 3/8
9 3/16 9/64 11/64 1/8 3/8
10 13/64 9/64 3/16 1/8 7/16
12 7/32 5/32 13/64 9/64 7/16
14 1/4 11/64 15/64 5/32 1/2
16 9/32 3/16 17/64 11/64 9/16
18 5/16 7/32 19/64 13/64 5/8
20 21/64 15/64 5/16 7/32 3/4
24 3/8 17/64 3/8 1/4 3/4
The pilot hole should be the same size, or just SLIGHTLY smaller, than
the central shank of the screw, and at least as long as the screw is.
Even then, th e bit can slip out of the screw slots if you don't press
with enough pressure or if you don't hold the drill perfectly parallel
to the screw and the direction you're drilling.
A lot of people ruin their screwdriver bits by violating one or both of
the above. A common third reason is trying to go too fast. Take your
time, line it all up. Start the drill slow for a couple of turns, then
speed it up, then come to a stop, WITHOUT releasing pressure, just as
the screw gets in. You shouldn't need any lubricant, but I often just
put a little spit on the screw, especially if it's a long one or the
wood's real hard. It helps a lot (and it's fun and cheap) to just
practice. Get a couple of 2x4's or 1 4X4 and a 5 lb. box of screws and
have at it.
That part I have now, thanks to another post, but I have trouble
drilling straight sometimes. Plus, I know it's dumb, but I forget to
toggle the switch to back it out and drill away and wonder why nothing
is happening :-). Or you run into a nail. Or something.
I wish you were kidding, but I fear you are not. If I didn't have so
much going, that probably is a good idea. I'm going to practice on my
projects. I have learned to settle for less than perfect, just did the
darned sloppiest paint job I have ever done, party due to working in too
confined a space and partly due to I want to get it done and three coats
is a lot of work with a brush. Nobody's going to look that closely
outdoors. Yes, of late, I go too fast because I can only do a little at
a time, take it outside or try to find a place inside, and you have to
drag it all back in and out, too hot, blah blah.
Some people just get stuff done like the Energizer Bunny, buy it early
in the day, done by evening. Not me. Except my window box. That was
an exception and it took an extra trip to the hardware store and I
spilled all the plants I bought. But I got it done in one afternoon and
early evening. I'm not talking just planting; I'm talking putting up
the brackets. That was an exception.
Never did I imagine that I would have to learn to fix things and if I
want something, do it myself if I possibly can. I mean girls didn't
take shop back then. We learned to sew.
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