Drilling Half of a Hole

Juvenile minds please keep it to yourselves, because I’m sure I wont be able to avoid any innuendos.

Have you ever drilled a hole in the wrong spot? No big deal in most cases; just start another hole where it’s actually supposed to go, and ignore the first one.

But what if you only need to move the hole over just a tiny bit? For almost all drill bits, it’s nearly impossible to get started on a small slice of material (metal, wood, etc). This is particularly true if you have more than 50% overlap between the incorrect and correct holes, and there’s nowhere for the point of your bit to land.

Such was the case on this dry fit.

The simple solution

If there is nothing to guide your bit or hole saw on the material you are drilling, make your own guide.

With blackjack! And hookers!

While plumbing up our new bathroom, one of the drains for the sink got miscalculated with the type of elbow I was using. That, or I was real tired. Doesn’t matter; I ended up about an inch and a half too far away down the joist.

I could go buy yet another coupler and give myself issues when drilling up through the floor later, or I could fix the hole.

I made up this little template out of a scrap of 3/4″ stock, with enough meat on it to add a strong spring clamp out of the way.


I lined this up with the actual intended location for the pipe, which you can see below, would have been a real humdinger of a job without it.


The only thing left to do is drill the hole! I took the pilot bit out of this hole saw so it didn’t go off into the weeds (or break off).

Lucky that drill still fits!

Since this is a normal depth hole saw, it only cuts a little over 3/4″ before it bottoms out. This means that on a 2×8 joist like this one, I need to drill from both sides.

Easy enough to do, just put the template on the other side, in line with the hole you started. I left the drill bit in place while I aligned the template.

Ignore the gratuitous PEX fudge.

And wouldn’t you know it, once I put the hole in the proper place, the pipe fit perfectly!

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