One of the most frustrating and difficult situations in woodworking can happen when a drill bit becomes stuck in your workpiece. This often happens when you are drilling into very hard woods or when you have drilled too deep to be able to remove the drill bit. Here we will discuss some ways that might help remove a stuck drill bit from your wood project.
Why are you drilling into wood?
More often than not, the problem of a stuck drill bit in wood is that we have drilled too deep. Wood is an organic material and so it can shrink and warp over time. When we drill into already aged wood, there is a chance that our hole will come out larger than originally intended.
Armed with an understanding of the wood’s properties, you can avoid this by drilling a sacrificial “pilot” hole. By using a small drill bit (about 1/16″) to drill a pilot hole first, then use that pilot hole as your guide for drilling the larger diameter appropriate for your screw or bolt size. This will save you a lot of aggravation because you will be drilling at the correct depth every time and give you more control over what happens.
Easy Way to Remove a Stuck Drill Bit
One method that can help remove a stuck drill bit is to rest your workpiece on the ground against a wall or other immovable object. With your drill in hand, try spinning the drill bit with your fingers. This will help loosen the workpiece from the bit. If this doesn’t work, you can use lubricants to help penetrate and “lube” (so to speak) whatever has stuck the bit in place.
If available, spray a solvent like lacquer thinner or some kind of penetrating oil that contains a high percentage of alcohol. Apply liberally to the stuck area and let it sit for 30 minutes or more.
Another possible solution is to use an adhesive like rubber cement. It’s not ideal because you’ll have to scrape it off after you are done, but it could give you enough time to dig out or drill out the remainder of the hole.
Once you find a method that works for you, make sure to mark your drill bit with tape so you can avoid this scenario next time around. Good luck and be careful!