History of Wood Drill Bits

Since the beginning of mankind’s rise to civilization, the need to drill holes in wood for constructive purposes has been a never-ending obsession. Developments of this technology have been going on for millennia, and the advances that are seen today are testimony of mans’ need for a bigger, better drilling product.

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Stone Drill Bit

The first wood drill bits were most likely made of stone. The sharp end of a rock would be twisted into the wood, boring a rough and large hole. This, of course, led to problems of having a hole that did not match the project, such as a shelter. Then a flake of stone was made to fit on the end of a straight stick, which in turn was spun by using a stick and string bow affair, intriguingly similar to the fire starting method.

Read More: Best Drill Bits for Wood

Iron Drill Bit

When iron was discovered, and ironworking began to develop, shaper instruments were developed to drill through a wood in a more controlled, specialized action. The screw was not invented yet, but holes could be bored by sharpened iron tips attached to the straight sticks. The drill tips could be forged in any size and could withstand much more work than stone.

When the screw was discovered, meaning the auger-type mathematical design, the wood drill bit was born. The first drill bits used for wood construction were quite large and only came in a small number of sizes. They were manufactured by twisting a heat softened flat bar of iron until the exact screw size was reached, and then the shank was hammer-formed to fit a hand drill.

Hand Drills

Hand drills have been in use since as far back as the 1400’s, and came upon a lull of development until the early 1900’s, when plastics were beginning to be realized. The hand drill was comprised of a simple U-shaped rod, the top having a rotatable handle, and the hand grip in the “U” made of wood and made to rotate as well. This gave the woodworker a fast enough spin for the cutting edge of the wood drill bit to bite into the wood. The screw action of the bit also brought out debris from the hole.

Electric Drills

The first electric drill was invented by an Australian, Arthur James Arnot, in the late 1880’s. It was heavy and hard to handle, and most times a harness had to be worn just to use it. Later developments brought the electric drill to what we know and love today.

Drill Bit sizes

Wood drill bits come in a variety of sizes and functions. The standard jobber-type drill bit is what is seen in hardware stores or anywhere wood drill bits are sold. These drill bits have a shank the same size as the bore, or hole, the bit will drill. The shank is also at a standard length about 3 1/2 times the size of the bore.

Wood drill bits are sold by Black and Decker, a trusted name in drill bit technology, Milwaukee tool, an American tool company that has been manufacturing wood drill bits for decades, and even Bosch, the German company that started manufacturing higher technology wood bits since the 1880’s. Wood drill bits come also in counter-sink versions, enabling the woodworker to sink the heads of a wood screw or nail for a flush fit.


Nowadays we have all the comfort to choose any required drill bit as per our project. We got many innovative tips, flutes sizes, speed, strength and almost everything in wood drill bits.


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