How To Drill A Countersunk Spade Bit Pilot Hole

Drilling a Countersunk Pilot Hole In

spade bits for wood

Today we are going to learn how to make a countersunk pilot hole in wood from our fastener expert, Bob. He told us that he has seen many people attempt to drill this hole and approach it the wrong way. Most people start the same way the would if they were using a standard drill bit. First the pilot hole, then the countersink. This however, does not work with spade bits due to the way the drill bit is engineered.

A countersunk hole is where a secondary larger hole is cut on top of the first hole so that the head of the nut or bolt can sit inside of the material and not be exposed. There are many applications for these types of holes and you probably see them around quite often without even realizing it. Fasteners may be countersunk in furniture, buildings, banisters, decks, etc.

Spade Bits have a triangular tip that digs into the wood before the outer edges of the bit do. This not only acts as a guide for the rest of the bit but as a stabilizing factor as well. Bob told us that if we drill the pilot hole first we would have a hard time drilling the countersunk area and would damage the wood.

drilling a countersunk hole - spade bit

He set out to give us an example by showing us the proper way to install a lag screw into some wood.



The first step when drilling a countersunk hole with a spade bit was to start with the countersink itself. This will allow both the larger spade bit (countersink) and the smaller (pilot hole) to grip the material and prevent “wobbling”.

drilling a pilot hole with a spade bit

So first we drilled the countersunk hole and then we set about drilling the pilot hole inside of the countersunk hole. It was a surprisingly easy task.

We tested this again by doing the process backwards and determined that what our fastener expert had said was true. Not only was it difficult to drill the holes but there was some significant chipping to the surface of the wood. While we were able to drill the hole the result was an unprofessional mess.

Our fastener expert also chose a very large spade bit for the countersink which he later explained was to allow breathing room for the socket that he would use to install the lag screw. Otherwise, it will be difficult to install without the socket getting caught up in the hole.

installing a lag screw with a socket wrench

The Result

using blue tape to prevent chipping in wood during drilling

After comparing the two holes, we determined that the hole we drilled first (properly) was much better. The edges were smoother, barely any chipping on the outside of the wood, everything was in good shape. The second hole was abysmal. With chewed up and chipped edges from the bit bouncing around. Our fastener expert said we can do even better. Pulling out a roll of his trusty blue painters tape, he laid it over the wood and drilled the countersunk pilot hole again. This time there were virtually no chips in the wood at all. The tape re-enforced the edges of the hole being drilled to prevent chipping.

Below are the three drilled holes and the results:

  1. Hole 1 – Left – Was done properly with no tape. Light chipping occurred around the edges but was still a fairly clean.
  2. Hole 2 – Middle – This hole had the pilot hole driven first and as a result has heavy chipping around the external edges. The inside edges also weren’t smooth from so much bouncing around.
  3. Hole 3 – Right – Done by first covering with blue tape, then drilling the countersunk hole and then the pilot hole, this hole is the cleanest of all three with virtually no chipping and clean sides.
    comparison of various ways of drilling countersunk pilot holes with spade bits

How To Drill a Countersunk Pilot Hole With Spade Bits

How To Drill a Countersunk Pilot Hole With Spade Bits Thumbnail
How To Drill a Countersunk Pilot Hole With Spade Bits Transcript

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Bob: Welcome back to Albany County Fasteners – Fasteners 101. I’m Bob and today I’m going to show you how to properly drill a pilot hole, along with a countersink, using a spade bit. So let’s get started.

I have here two Spade bits. I’m going to drill a pilot hole and a countersink with these two Spade bits. These are wood Spade bits and I’m going to drill for this 3/8″ lag screw I have here. I have my ratchet too.

So, what’s key here about the pilot hole, I’m sorry, about the countersink hole is that you need to have enough diameter to be able to use a ratchet to drive the lag screw. It’s important that you get the right size. So for a 3/8” lag screw, I’m using a 5/16” pilot hole and a 9/16” socket. I’m using an 1-1/4” spade bit to basically give me enough room. So if this moves around, it’s not tight. It makes it very hard to get the socket out. It becomes a real issue.

Now I’m going to use a ratchet to put this in. There’re many other things you can use, such as a pneumatic. They have some cordless drills that you can use today to install the lag screw. This is for demonstration purposes, so I’m just going to do this.

The first thing that you need to do, and what not to do, is you never drill your pilot hole first. If you drill your pilot hole first, which I’m going to demonstrate to you what happens, if you drill your pilot hole first. So using your 5/16” for the 3/8” bolt, when you go to drill your countersink, it’s gonna swash around inside and undo your pilot hole. It won’t guide properly. With a spade bit, this little diamond shaped blade point is what guides the drill bit and holds it in place. If you were to drill this hole with the Spade bit for 5/16”, it’s just gonna be too big. Then this is gonna jump around, and it’s going to jam the drill and you possibly could hurt yourself. So I’m gonna demonstrate this now. I installed my spade bit into the drill, and I’m basically ready to do my countersunk hole. You always have to do your countersunk hole first for the head, and then again for how far you’re gonna go down. Basically, I’m gonna countersink approximately 3/4” to 1” into this wood. Now I have gone down about 3/4”, which will be a nice countersink.

I’m gonna switch out my bit and put my pilot hole in, tighten that up, and put this bit in. I’ll continue drilling until I get through the other side. Always back up to bring the wood shavings out. Well that didn’t work right. Huh. I guess I didn’t tighten it enough. I’ll just tighten it up. I’m gonna take my ratchet and drive it in. There you go. That’s done.

Now I’m gonna demonstrate for you what happens if I drill my pilot hole first. Now this is not a big pilot hole but if you were using a larger size, such as 1/2”, it’s gonna be more severe. I’m gonna drill the pilot hole first. You can see this nicely drills through. No problem. Switch out my bit to do my countersink. As you can see here, this will now wobble around. With that wobbling around, you’re not gonna get a totally centered countersink. It’s gonna want to take off. I have to be cautious. If I go too fast it’s gonna jump around on me and it may wedge the bit in the hole and start to twist at my arm.

You can see already how this is chewing away at the wood. That’s not what we’re looking for. You see how that’s jumping around? You can do it, you can get the countersink done, but it’s not precise. It’s not clean. It doesn’t give you a nice clean finish. So at the end of the day, you really want to drill your countersunk first and then your pilot hole.

Another thing to do, if you wanted to stop the splintering, is to put some blue tape over the area you’re gonna drill. This is very good for marking as well. You can write on blue tape. Let me just find the beginning of this tape…there it is. This will stop splintering from happening when you’re using a spade bit. So I’m going to do another countersink. That gives you a nice clean surface. You can see how nice and smooth that cut is.

I’ve used these bits before. I’m doing this for demonstration. These bits are not brand-new bits. (With) Brand-new bits you would have a nice, sharper point. I think you can see how nice I could drill through here. Then you take off the tape and there you go.

That’s how you properly drill a countersunk with your pilot hole. Thanks for watching.

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How To Use An Auger Drill Bit

Drill Bits for WoodAuger Drill Bits

Auger drill bits are bits used to drill holes into wood. They are commonly used for boring holes into bulkheads and general timber applications. These drill bits come with a spiral drill bit head which, when drilling, is designed to pull the bit into the wood so you do not have to apply excessive pressure.

Lets Begin

Today we wanted to show you how an auger drill bit works. Most of these drill bits have a long stem on the end which attaches to the drill chuck. Then the

Begin Drillingtip of the bit can start “biting” into the wood and pulling the rest of the bit into it. Before beginning your drilling application, you may want to put a piece of painters tape over the hole you plan on drilling into. Auger bits may chip the wood they are drilling into resulting in an unclean look. Painters tape should deter this from happening.

Auger bits are also designed to be run very slowly and with minimal pressure. Remember, the tip of an auger bit will help to pull it into the wood so you don’t need to apply a massive amount of pressure. We recommend about 600 rpm when drilling.

What About Nails?

Auger bits are incredibly durable andDrilling through a deck screw have the strength and cutting power to drill through nails and screws. It is important to maintain a slow speed and let the bit do the work. Once through the nail just continue on and finish the hole you are drilling.

What are the advantages of using an auger bit?

  • Auger bits have the capability
  • Drilling deep.
  • Drilling neat uniform holes.
  • Prevent the clogging of boreholes
  • Auger bits allow for efficient clearing of wood shavings as a result of their wide and deep flighting.
    The completed hole

How To Use Wood Ship Auger Drill Bits

Using Wood Ship Auger Bits
How To User Auger Drill Bits Transcript

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Bob: Welcome back to Albany County Fasteners – Fasteners 101. I’m Bob and today I’m going to demonstrate the use of an auger bit.

So I have here an auger bit. This is a 5/8″ auger bit. 8 inches long overall. The stem part here which is pretty typical on all ship auger bits (which is what they’re really called here – Ship auger bits).

This part here is about 3 inches and its typical through all sizes. The lengths these come in anywhere from 8 inches to 18 inches long. I think there’s a 12 inch, maybe there’s a 10 inch, but you know you’ll have to decide based upon what you’re doing.

Also, auger bits they have this little screw in the front here. It is to pull the auger bit forward as it drills. These auger bits also will break or cut nails as they go through.

These are very cool bits. Used on ships and many other different applications but I’m going to demonstrate this now on drilling this auger bit into my sample piece of wood here. This is only for demonstration. Also, you should know that you should not run and auger bits more than 600 rpm.

So, slow as you go. It just draws itself right in.

Now it did splinter in the front here a little bit. If you don’t want it to splinter like this you take a piece of tape, blue tape or painters tape, and you put that on the front before you drill and that’ll prevent this from splintering the front face of the wood.

So I want to demonstrate to you an auger bit going through-they say that they can go right through nails, which I know they can, but I have a deck screw here that’s right in the top going down and I want to demonstrate to you an auger bit cutting its way through a deck screw. This would be a stainless steel screw. Let’s give it a shot and see what happens.

I’m up against it right now. Right through. Coming through the other side. Look at that.

So there was some resistance there but it cut through the deck screw. I think that was a number 10 deck screw, number 10 wire. So that would be equal to a like a Ten penny nail or a duplex nail. No problem. Right through with that baby.

Thanks for watching.

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Installing Tapcon Masonry Screws

How To Install Masonry Screwsinstalling masonry screws

Masonry screws are used to fasten materials to different masonry materials (usually concrete). Tapcon is a brand that has become a generic term for these screws over the years, often referred to as tapcon screws.

Tapcon screws can be identified by their blue coloration. Most of them are fully threaded but some longer screws will have a smooth shoulder. This shoulder is designed to disperse the heat built up by the screw. If the shoulder was absent the screw would heat up exponentially and expand it the hole. This expansion plus the heat of the screw can compromise its integrity causing the screw to snap.

Now that we know a bit about masonry screw lets begin installing one.

Getting Started

What you will need:

  • Concrete Drill Bit
  • Drill
  • Painters Tape
  • Tapcon Screws
  • Various Driver Bits depending on which head style you choose
  • Safety Gear!installing tapcon screws

Step 1

The first thing we need to do is take the screw we are going to install and mark the end of the drill bit with painters tape. We do not want to drill an excessive hole in the concrete it only needs to be long enough.

Once we have our drill taped, its time for the most important part of our drilling into concreteinstallation. Putting on our safety gloves and glasses to make sure we protect ourselves.

Step 2

With our safety gear on and drill in gloved hand we can begin drilling our hole into the concrete. Even short concrete screws will hold very well in concrete. These masonry screws cut their own threads and will only need to be installed a little over an inch to have some true holding power. Once you reach the desired depth marked by the tape, you may remove the drill and carefully wipe any extra debris away from the hole.

Step 3

screwing in tapcon masonry screws

This is the home stretch for installing a concrete screw. Find the appropriate bit driver. We decided to use the hex head slotted Tapcon screws due to their popularity. Simply drill the screw into the hole until the head reaches the surface of the concrete and you are done!


finished tapcon screw install


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How To Use A Screw Extractor

Removing Bolts and Screws With A Bolt ExtractorScrewing in a One Way Security Screw

To show you how to use a screw extractor we had to begin by getting a screw stuck into wood. We decided to demonstrate on a one way security screw, given that it is designed to not be removed after install. This drive style is designed to be driven in by a flat head, but it cannot be uninstalled with a flat head.

As a test, we were able to get vice grips around it but they would not hold when trying to loosen it. The screw is very firmly in the wood. So how do we extract it?

Enter the Screw Extractor

Drilling a Hole into the Screw

Bolt extractor bits are designed with reverse threading to dig into a screw and make it as easy as drilling until the extractor can grip the screw and break it loose from the wood, also known as “left hand drill bits.”

Our first step here is to punch a hole into the screw. This punch will allow the drill bit a place to sit and start drilling. There are two bits that come in a drill bit extractor set. There is a standard drill bit and a tapered bit with backwards threading. Place the smaller regular drill bit into the drill, seat the drill bit into the hole you’ve punched and begin to drill a small hole into the screw.

Once The Hole Is Drilled

Screw Extractor in action

Next, put the extractor bit into the drill. Make sure your drill is set to turn left when you start drilling. The bolt extractor bit has reverse threads. Insert the bit into the hole you just drilled and begin drilling to the left. Once the threads have enough grip on the screw they will stop drilling and break the screw loose from its hole.

Keep drilling and you will spin the screw all the way loose. Then take a pair of vice-grips or another pair of pliers and spin the screw off the drill bit. Congratulations! No longer will stripped screws stand in your way of completing a project.


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How to Build a Threaded Rod Pallet Shelf

Building A Pallet Shelf Using Threaded RodCompleted Threaded Rod Pallet Shelf - Empty

Pallet shelving is incredibly popular for its rustic look and simple functionality. We’ve decided our office could use a display shelf and we had excess pallets lying around. Then we asked ourselves whats the point in building something if we can’t show it off and teach you how to make them for yourselves. (come back to this, needs a rewrite Mention Threaded Rod Pallet Shelf)

The Tools

The Supplies

Easily Remove Pallet BoardsStep One: Finding the Wood

After we put on our safety glasses and gloves, our first step when building this shelf was to locate pallets with wood of a similar size. We decided on 3 inch wide boards for the shelving. Once we identified the 18 pieces we wanted for our 2 foot lengths (shelves) we began removing them. Ten minutes and a broken hammer handle later, we decided we needed a better way to remove the boards. Using two pieces we were able to remove in this time, we used them to create better leverage and a pry bar. Moving back and forth across the board the nails easily came out and removing our boards became simple.

*Make sure to bring extra pallets if you are collecting them. Some boards are brittle and will snap or crack during this process.

After removing those 18 boards we then found 9 more boards that were slightly thicker (4 inches wide) for the supports. Using the same prying method we were able to remove them with ease. Since these boards were over two feet in length, we only needed 9 which we could then cut into 18 10-1/4″ support beams.

Step Two: Removing the Nails

This step was the most time-consuming by far. We thought about just hammering the nails flat against Remove Nails from pallets easilythe base but decided it wasn’t particularly safe and so we began bending them straight and removing them all with a hammer. The time this takes will vary. We had some boards only attached by 3 screws where others had 9 or more.

Pro Tips:

  1. Using the gaps inside a pallet to hammer the nails down through makes removing nails easy.
  2. If the length you want to use is shorter than the board, leave the screws in the end you will be cutting off and not using.

Step Three: Measure, Mark and CutMeasure and Mark wood for cutting

Once the wood is ready, take a moment and look at each piece. Check for splits in the wood and other chipping or excessive warping. This wood can still be used if the other side is clean. At this point sort your wood by width. You should have two stacks: one with 18 3″ wide pieces and one with 9 4″ wide pieces.

Take the first 3″ wide piece and measure two feet long. Mark this length and cut it with a chop saw. Measure again to ensure the length is correct at two feet. Then use this piece of wood to make the remaining 17 pieces. Repeat this process for the 4″ wide boards but with 10-1/4″ lengths.

*To save time when collecting the wood, we only gathered 9 pieces. Use the stencil to mark multiple cuts on the 4″ wood to make multiple lengths out of one board

Step Four: Assemble the ShelvesA Pallet Shelf Halfway built

Now that all of our wood is cut to length its time to begin assembling our shelves. Lay out three pieces of the 4″ wood and then three of the 3″ boards on top of it. It’s important to make sure you even out the spacing of the 4″ boards or it will look uneven when all of the shelves are stacked. Make sure your screws are screwed in off center. This way when you go to drill the holes for the threaded rod they will not be in your way. Starting with the outside boards, drill a single wood screw into each cross-section to hold the pieces together. Do the middle piece last as it will be easy to center once the edges are in place. Make 6 shelves by repeating this process

Pro Tips:

  1. If your boards are uneven, make sure you choose a side to be front and make that side as even as possible. No one will see the back and if it’s a little un-even that’s OK.
  2. We used blue tape before drilling into the wood to help prevent splitting and cracking around the screws.
  3. Do not over-tighten the screws, the ends will be held together with nuts. The over-tightening can cause splits in the wood.

Step Five: Drilling the holesDrilling Holes in Pallet Shelves

The next step was to measure the corner of the first shelf board, find the center and drill a hole with a 1/2″ spade bit. Do this for all four corners. We recommend drilling down into another piece of wood to avoid damaging the drill tip if you drill too far.

Once all four holes are drilled, make sure you have all 6 shelves with the front identified. Line up 1 or two of those shelves by the front making sure everything is flush, then take the first shelve (the one you already drilled through) and use it as a guide to drill even holes all the way down through your shelves. Once through, switch our the shelves with 1 to two more and continue until all six shelves have holes.

*Once completed line up all six and hold them up in the air. You should be able to see all the way through the hole.

Step Six: Putting it all together

Take four flange bolts and screw them onto the end of the threaded rod. Have two flipped upside down. These flanges will act as the feet and the first shelf will sit on the other two. Then begin Flange Nuts as feet for pallet shelfscrewing on four more in the same fashion from the top. One to push down against the first shelf and one to support the next shelf. Make sure you measure the gaps to know where to stop. Repeat this process until all of the shelves are sitting on four flange nuts and have four pressed down against the shelves as well.

Pro Tips:

  1. Our fastener Expert told us using coupling nuts and washers may be easier to install than using flange nuts.
  2. Don’t worry if the fixture seems unsteady. Once we tighten down the flange bolts it will be very strong
  3. The measuring at this stage is a loose indicator, we will fix that in the next step

Step Seven: Make the Shelves Equidistantmeasuring shelf height

Take a tape measure and from the bottom shelf, measure up to the next shelf. Decide on what distance you want for the shelves(we chose 13 inches). Measure each corner and adjust the bottom flange bolts as necessary until all shelves are even. Then take a level, place it on the bottom shelf and adjust the feet to even out the bottom shelf. From here you can work your way up the shelves and adjust the lower flange bolts accordingly to make each shelf level.

Step Eight: Tighten Up

At this point your threaded rod pallet shelf should still be a little wobbly. Take the 3/4″ wrench and tighten the top flange bolts down onto the shelves. Make these bolts very tight and then also tighten the bottom. Your shelf should stiffen up significantly at this point. From here on out there is only one more step.

Final Step: Decorate Your New Threaded Rod Pallet Shelf and LOVE IT!

Now that you have your completed and amazing looking shelf, its time to use it! We recommend keeping heavy weight on the bottom and lighter weight on top. Check out our decorations and tell us all about how your project turned out below!

Completed and Decorated Threaded Rod Pallet Shelf

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