DIY Drill Bit Depth Gauge

An easy way to drill a hole to a set depth is to simply wrap a piece of masking tape around the drill bit and stick the two ends together to form a “flag” on one side of the bit.

Stop drilling when the tape brushes away the shaving, indicating that the desired depth has been reached.

Since the tape will tend to wear out after a few holes, a more permanent solution is to drill a hole lengthwise through a piece of 1” x 1” stock and slide it over the drill bit to act as a stop.

Adjust the bit in the chuck so it protrudes the desired length from the end of the block, then hold the block firmly on the surface and push the drill through it into the wood until the bit bottoms out.


  1. No problem, Ray, glad you liked the hole-drilling tip. I use the 1×1 wood-block drill guide all the time, especially when boring shelf peg holes in bookshelves. Thanks for writing and good luck!–JT

  2. The video was very helpful – short and precise. I was wondering how deep I should drill by desktop hardwood. I was able to drill a perfect hole using the tape technique. Thank you!

  3. awesome. i was about to buy some bit stop collar things on amazon, but found this via google first. you saved me some dough! great tip. thanks.

  4. These are some great tips. But my question is how do you do this using a 3/8″ wood bit? This will enable me to use the center bit point to also give me a perfect center mark for my wood screw. When resurfacing my deck, I will be drilling about 1000 holes, setting the screw and using wood plugs to cover the hole and sand flush to the new deck boards.

    • Hi, Ronald,
      Here’s “Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford’s answer to your question:
      “If you’re using a paddle bit, consider making a depth mark on the paddle bit using a black Sharpie. That should allow uniform depth on all of your poles. Best of luck on your deck!”


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