What are the Differences Between a Wood and Metal Drill Bits?

What is a drill bit first? —A drill bit is a cutting tool with various sizes and shapes depending on the application of the material used. It’s fabricated for drilling holes in materials like wood, metal, tiles, ceramics, concrete, and many more. 

Usually, holes are depending on the drill bit being used, it may either be circular or cross-sectional forms. Also, drill bits are designed depending on the surface that you will be drilling. Thus, it is important to know the differences between wood and metal drill bits.

If you are looking out for perfect drilling bits of wood and metal–read further!

Understanding the Difference Between a Wood and Metal Drill Bits

Identifying and selecting a drill bit is not that hard for a craftsperson, however, for beginners—everything might look alike and so the model applications are indistinguishable. Misuse of these cutting tools can lead to disastrous circumstances.

Here are the ways to recognize a particular drill bit for a specific material (metal or wood) application—the ADD acronym will be helpful in choosing the right drill bit.

i. Appearance:

Appraising the appearance is one key point in identifying—a wood drill bit has a brad point, a protruding tip that serves as the center point when drilling, while a metal drill bit is ‘twisted’ with the center point but not protruding. Another way to identify is through the engraved markings on the drill bit. Codes such as TIN for metals and HHS for woods—are being written along with the sizes.

ii. Design:

Next to the appearance is by looking at the design of the drill bit. Every type of bit is having a unique design, some are wider, like a flat drill.

iii. Drill Test:

The last way to identify a drill bit is through testing. Testing doesn’t harm at all, it is the best way to determine the right bits—you can check the drilling process quality. 

Types of metal drill bit 

There are four (4) categories of recommendable material drill bits of metal/steel—HSS, Titanium Coated, Cobalt Steel, and Step Bit (Unibit). These bits are perfectly designed for metal hole drilling.

HSS Drill Bits:

Known as High-speed steel, manufactured with elements that are suitable for metal or steel cutting. They made these bits for heavy drilling work, although they can also be used for normal drilling.

Titanium Coated and Cobalt Steel:

Somehow similar to HSS, however, these bits are more firmly enhanced and sturdy compared to the HSS. Any materials that can’t be drilled using HSS preferred these bits.

 Step Bit. Or called ‘unibit’:

a conical-shaped bit that comprises various types of cutting edges. They designed these for drilling any size of a hole changing no bits and for thin drillings such as metal sheets, boards, or softwoods.

Variety of wood drill bits

Wood comes in varieties—so different types of wood bits are also created corresponding to the shapes and sizes. Here are some common variations of wood drills you can easily use.

Brad Point Drills:

Mostly identified with the protruding tip that keeps into the surface. These are ideal for dowels or small hole drills and are suitable for composite, hard and soft woods.

Paddle Bits:

Also known as ‘spade bits’, they recognized this through its wide cutter design—as this bit is perfectly used for large bore drilling.

Auger Bits:

Is a spiral body-like bit with a screw tip, that is suitable only for deep-hole drilling.

Can we use metal drill bits on wood?

Common misconceptions about drill bits are the interchange of usage between wood and metal bits—there is some confusion respective to choosing the right drill, especially for those who are unfamiliar with it. 

Although metal drill bits can be also applied to wood drilling, nevertheless, is inefficient relative to the outcome. And it always differs in appearance, such as the twist drill bits (metal) which don’t have any protruding center-point compared to the wooden drill bit.

Tips to Avoid Breaking Drill Bits

Drill bits also break though it’s designed for metals—particularly for narrower bits. Experts also suggested taking extra care upon using these cutting tools and here are some tips you could apply before going into drilling actions.

  • Narrow bits break easily when hitched into the wood or metal surface while attempting to venture. It’s better to use a cordless drill for these circumstances to aid hazards during the drilling process.
  • Holding the drill steadily is a must—as the drilling process exerted greater forces and pressure. It requires a substantial amount of strength to keep it perpendicular in angle to keep away from breaking the bits or the drilled material.
  • Reduce the pressure when the drilling is about to break through from the other way around. It’s recommended to leave a gap at the bottom by placing blocks under, to avoid snagging the bits.