To prevent dulling and binding when drilling holes with a hole saw:

  1. Use the hole saw to drill 1/8” deep into the surface.
  2. Remove the hole saw, and drill a series of 1/4″ diameter holes around the outside of the hole saw hole.
  3. Drill the rest of the way through using the hole saw, making sure to clamp a piece of scrap wood on the bottom of the work to prevent splintering.

The smaller diameter holes around the perimeter allow the sawdust from the hole saw to clear and prevent the hole saw from overheating.

Watch the video above to find out more.


Danny Lipford: The hole saw is the perfect tool for drilling those large diameter holes, like this doorknob hole.

Joe Truini: That’s right, Danny. The problem with most hole saws, though, is that they dull really quickly. Here’s a great way to cut holes much quicker and cleaner.

Danny Lipford: Now this is a good one, you need to watch this.

Joe Truini: The first step is to use the hole saw to cut just about an eighth-inch deep or so. Then switch to a drill with a quarter-inch diameter bit, and drill around the perimeter of the hole. These holes create spaces for clearing out the wood chips, which keeps the hole saw cooler and cutting faster. Then switch to the hole saw, and finish drilling through the rest of the door.

Another benefit of the relief holes is that they help prevent binding, which can really twist your wrist.

Danny Lipford: Now this could be really helpful if you’re drilling in a hardwood door, or a plastic laminate countertop that may have two layers of particleboard.

Joe Truini: That’s right. And don’t forget whenever you’re using a hole saw to always clamp a piece of scrap wood underneath to prevent splintering on the backside.

Further Information

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Joe Truini

Joe Truini

Radio Show Co-Host

Joe Truini is a contractor, author, and the host of “Simple Solutions” on Today’s Homeowner TV and the weekly Today’s Homeowner radio show. He has worked on both large commercial projects and residential remodeling, and has written for national publications such as This Old House and Popular Mechanics. He has also written eight books, including three best-selling shed-building books. Joe lives in Connecticut with his family and enjoys hiking, traveling, and baseball in his spare time.

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