Tips & Tricks Issue 90: Drilling on the Level

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This article is from Issue 90 of Woodcraft Magazine.

A recent job required drilling a couple of large holes in the walls of an installed cabinet to accept the ends of a large dowel rod. For the rod to span the two holes, they both needed to be horizontal in order to align with each other. Unfortunately, it’s hard to gauge level with a spade bit, which is the tool I had for the job. After some head-scratching, I realized that I could employ the same sort of balancing principle used by a toy I had as a child. I strung together a couple of washers, which I then hung from the shank of the bit as shown. When drilling, the shank-hung washer would “walk” as a result of any drill tilt, providing a great leveling gauge. The side-to-side perpendicularity wasn’t too difficult to maintain, gauging it by eye with the help of a small square placed nearby. 

—Bill Shapwell, Fargo, North Dakota 


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