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Workshop Words – Pre-drill and Countersink

December 16, 2015 by Scott - Saws on Skates

Happy Workshop Wednes-DIY! Today we are going to chat about two drilling operations… pre-drill and countersink.


I’ve bet you’ve done this (I know I have), you mark the location for a screw, start driving the screw and then you hear it. Crack! The screw just split the wood. Why did this happen? Imagine your piece of wood is a bundle of drinking straws. Now push your index finger into the side of the straws. What happens? They push apart, right? That’s what happens when you drive a screw into wood, except the wood isn’t flexible like the straws and it cracks. Pre-drilling removes some of the wood and gives the screw a place to go. Pre-drilling reduces the chances of cracking the wood.


A countersink bit takes your pre-drilled hole a step further. A countersink bit removes more of the wood and gives the screw head a place to go. It gives the screw head a seat and allows it to sit below the surface of the surrounding wood. Without using a countersink bit, the screw head crushes the wood and can even tear the wood. I love using a countersink bit because it gives a clean, professional look.

stocking holder countersink

The countersink bit creates a “seat” for the screw head allowing to sit below the surface of the surrounding wood. It makes for a clean, professional look.

stocking holder attach building to base 4

Here’s a look at driving a screw without pre-drilling a countersink hole..

Countersink comparison-001

The screw head tears the surrounding wood

Countersink comparison 1

That’s a quick explanation of pre-drill and countersink. Stay tuned for more Workshop Words.

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