Hole saws are an essential addition to every tool kit - especially for woodworkers. These bits allow you to drill smooth, accurate, clean holes into wood, plastics, aluminium and non-ferrous metals. For woodworking projects, they allow you to enlarge existing holes. They can be used as an alternative to flat bits and other bits made to drill smooth holes if you want to make larger precise holes. The bits have a jagged edge that easily gets through the material without the need for excessive force. They are used with shank arbors that act as a pilot, keeping your bit in place as you work.
Generally speaking, hole saws are easy enough to use even if you don’t have much DIY experience. With that said, there are a few challenges that you may run into if you haven’t used these bits before. In this guide, we’ll share the top challenges and give you tips on how to solve them with minimal time and hassle.
Common Hole Saw Challenges
To get the most from your hole saw, here are a few challenges to keep in mind.
This applies to all drill bits you use. Choosing cheap bits of any type may seem like a good deal at the time. You will soon realise that cheap is not better. Using cheap, poor-quality hole bits can ruin your workpiece, wasting material in the process. Poor-quality bits can also damage your drill if they get stuck or work too hard to drill through the material. Good quality hole bits will get the job done properly. Better still, they will last a long time, allowing you to use them in many projects without having to replace them constantly.
As we mentioned earlier, these bits are great for woodworking projects. They can be used on all types of wood. You can use these bits to make anything from wine racks to wooden curtain rings or even tool organiser shelves. Other than wood, Standard Bi-Metal Hole Bits can also be used to drill into plastics, non-ferrous metals, steel and aluminium. Fast-Cutting Bi-Metal Bits can also drill stainless steel. For tougher materials such as laminate and porous concrete, you will need an Industrial TCT Hole Bit. Using a standard bit to get through concrete will damage your bit and drill so always choose the right bit for the material you are using.
Arbors are sold separately. They are needed to use hole saws, as they centre the bit and hole your drill steady as you work. You will need the right arbor for the type of saw you are using to make sure that both work properly. Standard Shank Arbors are used on both Standard and Fast-Cutting Bi-Metal hole bits, while TCT Shank Arbors are used for Tungsten Carbide Tipped (TCT) hole drills. For SDS drills, you will need an SDS Shank Arbor.
Saw bits come in a selection of sizes. The size you choose will come down to the project and the size of the holes you aim to drill. Make sure that you take the time to measure things out so that you can choose the right size, without the need to get larger bits later if the hole is too small. Fast-Cutting Bi-Metal hole bits range in size from 16mm to 76mm, making them ideal for smaller holes. Standard hole bits range from 19mm to 76mm. Industrial hole bits are best for larger holes, with sizes ranging from 19mm to 90mm. If you want to make a larger hole in wood using any hole bit, you can do so using a flat wood bit to enlarge the perimeter of the hole carefully. When choosing your hole bit size, always make sure that you choose an arbor in the same size. Using the wrong size arbor will make it harder to keep your drill steady and ruin your workpiece if there are any slips.
Last but not least, the biggest challenge of all is using the bit correctly. Even though these bits are easy to use, they require a bit of work to attach the arbor and shank to the saw, centre the tip of the arbor correctly after making a small dent in your workpiece and then drilling at the right speed and pressure. Common mistakes when using these bits include using too much force, not centring the arbor properly and drilling without taking care to keep the bit at the right angle as you work. You can avoid these challenges by practising on scraps of different materials to get a feel for the bits before you’re ready to use them on your project. To learn how to use the hole saw bits on metal, watch our video tutorial over here.
We hope that these tips help to make it easier to use these versatile bits. If you’re looking for quality hole saws and arbors, you’ll find a selection in various sizes here at Ruwag.