Home & Garden

Tool lesson: The drill

Tool lesson: The drill

Author: Canadian Living

Home & Garden

Tool lesson: The drill

Whether you're a weekend do-it-yourselfer or a professional, the drill is an essential part of any tool collection. Not only will the drill create the necessary hole, but with the appropriate bit it will also drive in screws faster and with greater ease than a manual screwdriver.

Many lightweight less expensive, no-frills models offer enough power and features for regular household tasks such as installing drapery hardware, hanging pictures or mirrors and constructing simple woodworking projects.

A number of accessories are available for drills. Sanding discs, wire brushes and buffing pads are useful for stripping and other refinishing and repair projects. Small grinding wheels can be used to sharpen carpentry and gardening tools. There's even a handy attachment that turns the drill into a paint or plaster mixer or paintbrush and roller cleaner.

The cordless drill
In the world of power tools, none have developed as fast as cordless drills. Battery-operated drills are convenient because they don't require an electrical outlet in order to operate (except to recharge the batteries). And if there is no outlet close at hand extension cords can be cumbersome.

However, some cordless drills don't have the torque (power) of electric drills. Purchase a drill with enough power to suit your needs and make sure the drill you buy has forward/reverse for both driving and removing screws, and variable speed, which allows the user to slow down to avoid stripping screws. A 9.6-volt or 12-volt drill is usually sufficient for a home workshop. Prices range from about $50 to $300.

Drill bits
Drills require drill bits and driving bits: drill bits create the holes for screws and driving bits turn screws into holes. Here are some of the more commonly used bits.
• Standard twist bits drill pilot holes for screws, and spade bits drill larger-diameter holes for bolts.
• Driving bits match standard screw heads, such as Robertson and Phillips.
• Specialty bits have unique uses: Forstner bits make clean-cut, flat-bottomed holes for dowels.

Page 1 of 2 -- Learn the basics on drilling a hole and driving a screw on page 2

To drill a hole
Traditional drills have a chuck key to lock in bits. Many drills now come with a keyless chuck, which is tightened by hand.

1. To insert bit: Hold chuck collar, twist manually or pull trigger to spin chuck counterclockwise (reverse), opening jaws to accept bit.
2. Centre bit between jaws, then tighten by spinning chuck clockwise (forward). For electric drill, use chuck key to tighten jaws.
3. Place tip of bit on wood. With switch in forward position, pull trigger. To remove bit, spin chuck counter-clockwise.

To drive a screw
Note: To avoid splitting wood, always predrill a pilot hole equal to diameter of screw shank (minus threads).

1. Insert driving bit.
2. Place a screw on end of bit.
3. Place screw point into drilled hole. Pull trigger. Stop drill when screw head is seated flush with surface.

Safety tips
• Wear eye protection.
• Do not wear loose clothing or jewelry while using any power tools. Tie long hair back.
• Keep tools out of reach of children. Put a miniature padlock through hole in one prong of plug when tool is not in use.

Eager to make a DIY furniture set? Try these easy home projects.
Do-it-yourself twig chair

Patio furniture: Make your own umbrella stand

Shane Eagen is the shop pro at Wood Chips — The Project Place in Mississauga, Ont.

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Tool lesson: The drill