Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index
Lining Up Counterbores

I'm sorry to admit that I've gotten ahead of myself more than once when working on a project. The trouble usually occurs when the end is almost in sight. I'm anxious to get on to something else and make a mistake.

Just the other day, I drilled the through holes for some carriage bolts, and then realized I needed to counterbore the holes so the washers and nuts sat below the surface of the wood.

CounterboreI tried to drill the counterbore with a spade bit, but it chattered and skipped, and the counterbore wound up slightly out of line with the bolt hole. If I'd had a Forstner bit in my tool box, I could have used it to correct this problem, but all I had was the spade bit. Fortunately, the workpiece was a short length of 2x4 and was easily replaced.

The second time around, I did what I should've done in the first place: start with the counterbore. That way, you can use the centerpoint of the larger hole to center the bit when you drill the through hole.

Through HoleI've got stop collars for my most commonly used twist bits, but for spade bits, I just stick a short piece of masking tape at the proper depth. (If you don't have tape handy, you can mark the bit with a felt-tipped marker, but tape is a lot easier to see.)

Hopefully, these simple tips will serve as a handy reminder that there's a proper sequence for doing things. Follow that sequence, and you'll get much better results. (And get your projects done quicker, too.)
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