So, friend don’t have actually a drill. Or perhaps you’re halfway with a project, and your drill die (permanently, or till you charge it again.) What carry out you do?

Honestly, your finest bet is probably to go buy a drill. However if for everything reason, that’s no an option, ns tested a bunch of ways to drill a hole without a drill. Spoiler alert:

The best means to drill a feet without a drill is to take it a pond or an awl, and hammer it right into the material. Then pull the awl or nail out of the material, and use the hole as intended.

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(And, FYI, if money is the reason you can’t purchase a drill, might I recommend Harbor Freight’s DrillMaster drill? I had it for years, and also it’s straight up awful, yet it go drill holes and also at $15 the price can’t it is in beat.)

Note: This blog consists of affiliate links. If girlfriend click and make a purchase, I might receive compensation (at no extr cost to you.)


Method 1: use an Awl

Grab an awl, and also place it whereby you want your hole to be. Then take a hammer and also hammer the awl through the wood.


Awls room small, so this hole won’t be terribly large, however you’ll have a hole!


Recognize the the ease of this technique (and every the other methods) is directly related come the material you’re working with. Drywall? Easy-peasy. Softwood? no so bad. Hardwood? You’re in for some work. Masonry? go buy a drill.


I experiment this an approach on 1/2″ plywood, and it to be pretty easy. 4 stars; minus one mostly for the reality your feet is just as big as her awl (although I have actually some methods later in the write-up for do the feet bigger!)

Method 2: use a Nail

This technique is practically identical come the awl method, other than use a nail instead of an awl. This has actually the advantage that if you have actually a range of nails to select from, you have the right to pick a nail that’s the dimension of the feet you’re feather for.

However, you have actually the extra action of pulling the pond out that the material at the end.

Be certain to choose a nail through a large head, otherwise you can just obtain the pond stuck in the material. Alternatively, if you only have actually nails with small heads, grab a nail set, and hammer the nail all the method through the material.

To do the hole, hammer her nail right into the wood.


(If you’re wondering around the splint and also the weird means I’m stop things… I reduced my thumb off through a table saw. It was oodles of funny (not) and you deserve to hear the whole story in this (not-graphic) Youtube video.)

If your pond breaks through the various other side before it’s every the means in the wood, awesome! Don’t bother hammering any further; just pull the pond out v the various other side of your hammer.

If you have to hammer the nail all the method into the wood, bummer. It’s more tough to obtain out that way, yet not difficult by any kind of means. Gain the claw side of the hammer underneath the head that the nail, and remove the pond from the wood.

Now you have actually a hole!

This was additionally pretty easy. I’ll give it 4 stars; minus one for having to pull the nail back out in ~ the end.

Method 3: Self-Driving Screws

If you have actually self-driving screws around, you deserve to use those to do a hole. To tell if your screws space self-driving, look at the object of the screw. Go it have actually a notch in it choose the photo below? If so, it’s a self-driving screw.

And if you’re super desperate, you can take a common screw and shot to do a notch in it with a file. This is probably more trouble 보다 it’s worth, yet it’s one option.

To in reality “drill” the hole, place the self driving screw at the ar you great to do the hole. Journey the screw into the material using a screwdriver. Once it goes all the way through the material (or together deep as it will certainly go,) earlier the screw out by transforming the screwdriver the other direction.

If the screw went all the means through the hole, awesome! If not, you deserve to use one awl (or other lengthy pointy thing) and also a hammer to complete the hole.

I tested this technique on 1/2″ plywood, and also once the feet is started, it’s quite easy. Beginning the hole to be the toughest part, however even that just took 30 seconds or so.

It is precious noting that this produced a smaller hole than the awl and also nail, since the hole part is the shank diameter of the screw, not the totality diameter that the threads. 3 stars.

Method 4: Metal and Heat

This next method can be summarized together “burn through the wood.” ns did this one outside, because setup off the fire alert is a actual concern.

I used an awl again, basically due to the fact that a pointy finish makes things easier, but skipped the hammer this time (since this method should be different from technique one!)

But any hot steel thing should work – a cable or fifty percent the finish of needlenoise pliers should have actually the exact same effect.

To do the hole, warmth your steel in a warm source. I supplied a candle.

Push the heated finish of the metal right into the wood*. The wood should burn, producing a hole.

Repeat till you’ve got to the other side that the wood.

*Note the I store talking about wood below – i wouldn’t try this technique on drywall. The last point you require is come burn under your house.

It is great method because that plastic, however, because the heat will melt the plastic reasonably effortlessly.

You can’t yes, really tell since of every the burned wood and also soot, however I swear the feet went every the means through!

As for exactly how well the procedure actually go – this to be easy, however was by far the many time-consuming method. It more than likely took 5 minute or so for me come burn every the way through the wood. Probably it would’ve gone much faster with a name is heat-source, ns don’t know, however I’d probably only go with this an approach if it to be the just one I could use. 2 stars.

Method 5: Chisel

The quite thing about the chisel an approach is that it have the right to be used to make bigger holes 보다 the other methods listed here.

Sketch a circle on your wood to offer you a good idea the what dimension circle you’re looking come make.

Then take your chisel and place it perpendicular to the wood on your sketched circle. Hammer down, producing a dent in the wood.

Rotate your means around the circle, do a bunch of little dents.

Then chisel the end the center of the circle, picking far at the wood until you’ve finished the hole.

This was simple enough, but the hole I created was really messy. Ns don’t have actually a many chisel practice, though, so possibly with a bit much more skill that would’ve looked neater. That did develop a larger hole, though, so the was nice. 3 stars.

Bonus: The technique I Didn’t Try

So, earlier before power devices were a thing, civilization used something dubbed a “bow drill” to do holes. If you have actually a hacksaw, you could make among these relatively easily by instead of the blade v some string, and wrapping an awl or other pointy thing in the string.

(Can friend tell I’m a large fan that the awl?)

But, ns didn’t try this one, frankly since it looked choose a gigantic pain come both make and also use, and I’m make the efforts to compose a post about ways to drill a hole without a drill that room actually easy.

So i skipped it. However know the it’s an option if friend couldn’t uncover something that functioned here!

Power tool Methods

Maybe you don’t have a drill at the moment, however you still have actually other power tools at her disposal. Awesome! below are some other less-obvious tools that can additionally drill a hole for you:


If you have actually a Dremel (or similar tool) available, they have the right to drill holes v the correct attachment. The size of the feet is pretty restricted to drill bits the fit in the Dremel, yet it’s certainly much better than nothing!

Attach a twist drill bit made because that a Dremel to your tool, and hold the tool perpendicular come the lumber you’re trying to cut. Then start the machine, and also drill the hole.

If there’s a particular depth you’d favor your hole to be, you can additionally use the cut depth attachments to develop that.

Plunge Router

Plunge routers are really straightforward to transform into mini drill presses (which can additionally drill holes, but I believed that was so obvious that ns didn’t perform a ar on them.)

The large downside of this technique is the you might struggle to acquire the depth girlfriend need, due to the fact that you deserve to only obtain as deep as your router bit will reach.


Now, regrettably a jigsaw isn’t going to drill a feet on that own. However, it’s good for enlarging feet that room too small. Many of the hole-making methods above will create a small hole, but you might need a bigger one.

The chisel an approach in specific would be good to use through this.

Sketch the hole you great you had actually on your material.

Then insert the jigsaw blade into the small hole you’ve currently made, and also cut the end the hole you sketched.

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I use this an approach all the moment (although usually v an yes, really drill first) to cut holes of all shapes and sizes. The over hole, together you might have the ability to guess, is for a junction box.