How to Line Up Screw Holes When Drilling Into Wood

July 16, 2023
David Sunnyside

When mounting equipment, it’s important that the screw holes line up. Otherwise, you could end up with hardware that’s not centered on the item and isn’t tight enough to hold it securely in place.

When you’re working with a drill/driver, it’s easy to make a pilot hole for each screw using the bit that matches the screw head. But if you don’t have a power drill or you’re drilling into a solid surface such as hardwood, it’s not so simple.

Drilling into wood without a pilot hole can lead to cracking or bending the piece you’re mounting. This is because it takes more force to drive screws into hardwoods than softwoods, and that extra pressure can cause the wood to deform in ways you don’t want.

A quick fix for this is to use a piece of tape. Put the tape on the surface you’re drilling into, then place your hardware or mounting strip on top of it. Then you can use a pen to mark the position of the holes on the tape, which gives you a reference point to help line up the holes when you’re drilling. You can also buy a bit holder that has a sleeve for holding long screws upright as you drive them in (bottom photo). This is great for projects like a goat milking stand where the hardware will be stood on by goats. The sleeve keeps the screws at a comfortable height to operate and also allows you to see when you’re about to reach the end of the screw’s threads.

David Sunnyside
Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator
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