Drilling 2" hole

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Forum topic by deadherring posted 11-19-2018 03:55 PM 913 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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83 posts in 2421 days

11-19-2018 03:55 PM

Hi all,

I finished a floating desk and need to drill a 2” hole to run the wires. The desk is made of oak, mahogany, maple and walnut butcher block style (glued together with the side grain up).

The desk is 2” thick. What is the best way to drill the hole and avoid tear out? I have a forstner bit and hole saw bit.

Should I put down blue tape before drilling through? If the forstner bit is the right way to go, can I drill with the 2” bit or do I need to go smaller first?



12 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2442 posts in 940 days

#1 posted 11-19-2018 04:24 PM

are you going to drill the hole free-hand or put it in a drill press ????
either will work fine – depends on your skill level.
of course cutting the wood with an X-Acto knife, box cutter, sharp gauge, etc.
will help minimize splintering. so will VERY sharp tools.
(nobody likes or supports my personal choice of the fly cutter).
no, you can not drill a small hole then go bigger. you need the center
section to guide the drill bits.

if you want to give it that professional look, purchase the bung caple protector
prior to drilling the hole. [to make sure it fits]. the outer ring will cover any minor flaws.
or, if you have a wood lathe, you could make your own personal slip-in bung/grommet protector.
or, for pay for the postage and a member here may volunteer to turn one for you.


-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View GrantA's profile


2573 posts in 2185 days

#2 posted 11-19-2018 04:27 PM

First off either of these options is a one -shot deal, you can’t accurately make a hole bigger with a hole saw or forster bit, there will be no more center to use.
I would use the hole saw from both sides. Once the pilot bit comes out the bottom flip it and meet in the middle. Blue tape is never a bad idea, however I assume (and recommend)you’re using some sort of grommet which will cover any tear out on top

View MrRon's profile


5913 posts in 4020 days

#3 posted 11-19-2018 05:07 PM

I think a 2” forstner bit would be too much for a portable drill to handle unless you have a Milwaukee magnum drill. A hole saw would be better, but doing it on a drill press would be necessary.

View deadherring's profile


83 posts in 2421 days

#4 posted 11-19-2018 06:16 PM

Sorry, I should have said, I have to do this with a hand saw, the desk wont fit on the drill press.

@John Smith: Yup, that’s my plan to use one of those inserts.

So, it sounds like the hole saw is the way to go?

View Fresch's profile


489 posts in 2698 days

#5 posted 11-19-2018 06:49 PM

drill the 1/4” pilot hole first all the way threw. Try on a scrap running the holesaw backwards first to score the fibres , then run it normal. Cut from both sides.

View ChefHDAN's profile


1659 posts in 3627 days

#6 posted 11-19-2018 08:10 PM

YEP ^^^ What Fresch said!

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View EdDantes's profile


74 posts in 688 days

#7 posted 11-19-2018 10:04 PM

I’d drill a pilot hole, then use a router with a carbide downcut spiral. Go halfway through on one side, then flip and finish. You can make your own jig or just buy a Jasper jig.

View JCamp's profile


1182 posts in 1328 days

#8 posted 11-19-2018 11:29 PM

If your using a saw then why does it have to be round? With a saw a square hole would be easier to make then a round one

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7577 posts in 1489 days

#9 posted 11-19-2018 11:53 PM

why not just clamp scrap underneath and use forstner bit :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View BFamous's profile


341 posts in 898 days

#10 posted 11-20-2018 12:56 AM

I’d use the hole saw and tape… But I’d also plan to follow up with a router and a small round over bit so there weren’t hard/square edges if I wasn’t planning on using an insert.

You can also pre-score the circle as John states. That’s probably the best thing to eliminate tear out.

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC ::

View bigblockyeti's profile (online now)


6580 posts in 2498 days

#11 posted 11-20-2018 01:33 AM

A hole saw likely won’t have the depth to cut through 2” without the mandrel contacting the work. You’ll probably have to approach it from both sides.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Bill_Steele's profile


708 posts in 2509 days

#12 posted 11-20-2018 07:29 PM

I’d drill a small hole and then use a jig saw to get close (1/16” – 1/8”) to the final size. I’d make a template of the 2” hole and using a router bit with a top mounted bearing I’d trim to the final hole size.

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