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How to Drill a Tapered Hole in Wood

Doing a home improvement project of any kind can be a daunting task. When you’re building a deck for your home, or trying to replace a swing set, a hole cut through wood is almost inevitable. But if you’re in the market for a new deck or patio and want to drill a tapered hole in a wood support post, it’s important to do it in a way that will ensure your project is a success. 

The first thing I do is find the right tool for the job. While you can easily find a tapered drill bit at any hardware store, it’s important to know the drill you want to use is powerful enough to handle the job.

It is a common practice for people to drill tapered holes in wood. You can drill a tapered hole in the wood by using a special drill bit and a drill.

Steps of drilling a tapered hole in wood

But what if I want to drill a hole that doesn’t go all the way through a piece of wood? That’s where a tapered hole comes in handy. 

A tapered hole (also called a countersink, or counterbore, hole) is simply a hole in a material that has been gradually enlarged to a larger size, so that the cutting edge of the tool is protected from the material, and can be used to put a finish on the material (not cut through it).

Decorative holes can be a fun and functional addition to any wood project, and the key to success is a step-by-step process that’s relatively easy to follow.

Here’s an easy drill guide.

1. Choose the right type of drill bit 

One of the handiest ways to create a strong, permanent hole in a wooden surface is to use a tapered hole drill bit. 

These bits come in different sizes, but most are designed to drill holes that are slightly smaller than the large end of a tapered chisel. 

The first step is planning ahead by measuring your drill bit carefully

The size of the hole you’ll end up with is determined by the diameter of the drill bit you use, so it’s important to use the exact measurement. 

2. Drilling the hole

The two most important things to remember when drilling a tapered hole are not to drill too deep and to stop drilling when you’re at the right depth.

When it comes to drilling holes in wood, the drill bit and the size of the hole you need to make are the most important factors to keep in mind. 

To get the job done right, you should drill a hole that has a diameter at the top that’s no more than half the thickness of the wood you’re drilling into.

The type of wood you’re working with also has a major impact on how easy the drilling is. 

These days, you can find a whole host of different kinds of wood that have different properties. 

For instance, the type of wood you are drilling into might be softer or harder than the drill bit you’re using.

Make sure to use a sharp drill bit. Dull bits make a hole that is not round, especially in hardwood.

Another important thing to remember when drilling a tapered hole, is to have the bit perfectly perpendicular to the wood to ensure a perfect hole that is not misdirected at an angle.

How do you drill holes in shallow wood?

Although it’s not the first thing you think of when you hear the term “professional woodworker,” you can, in fact, drill holes in shallow wood using a regular electric drill.

While drilling holes in shallow wood is pretty easy, there are a few things you should know. 

For example, the type of drill bit you use will depend on the type of wood you use the drill holes in for. 

For softwood like pine, you’ll want to use a standard twist drill bit

A good solution is to use a small-diameter twist bit, which is designed for drilling holes smaller than 1/4 inch.

But, if you are drilling into hardwood, you’ll want to use a special wood-boring drill bit so that you don’t crack or splinter the surface of the wood when you drill.


The internet is a wonderful place, and it’s full of DIY woodworking projects that make our lives easier. 

One of them is the task of drilling a tapered hole in wood; basically, you want to drill a hole in a piece of wood, then gradually make it taper to a point, without hitting the sides of the hole. 

In the past, you’d have to rely on a drill press or a large, expensive drill bit. 

These days, you can use techniques I’ve mentioned here to do this in your normal drill.

Zebedee Nambaleo
Zebedee Nambaleo

Zebedee is the founder of RealEstate Ke. He creates content by carefully examining and analyzing the real estate market, home improvement resources, and government data. His analysis is based on the principle of supplying high-quality, relevant, and in-depth information to his audience. By evaluating the current conditions and predicting future trends, he provides his audience with invaluable insights that allow them to make better decisions.