A power drill can be the most versatile tool in your kit. With a good selection of bits and attachments and a proper understanding of your own drill’s strengths and limitations, here are eight tasks or projects that you and your power drill can tackle. Some tasks are better performed by a corded drill, while others can be performed by a cordless drill.
1. Pilot holes That’s probably not why you bought it in the first place, but using a drill to make pilot holes not only saves you time and physical effort, it also keeps wood from splitting.
2. Driving screws Most drills come with a reversible bit for slotted or Phillips-head screws. If you have the right accessory bits, you can also drive nuts and bolts and even put together ready-to-assemble furniture without using the little wrench included with the package of furniture pieces.
3. Cutting large holes With a hole-saw attachment, your power drill can create the holes for doorknobs and locks in blank doors or create pathways through wood framing for plumbing lines or electrical wiring.
4. Stir it up You can buy a stirring attachment for your drill, but before you emulate a contractor and try to stir up some thinset or grout, make sure your drill has a heavy-duty motor that can handle it. Not all drills have the power to stir anything thicker than paint without overheating the motor.
5. Brush it off Wire brush attachments that are offered for drills can help remove rust from barbecue grills and outdoor furniture, but need to be used with care. The attachments work best with variable-speed drills with clutch control at a low speed to avoid removing too much metal. Wear goggles, too.
6. Use up scraps Small scraps of wood, metal or tile become fodder for crafts projects. Using the appropriate bit for each material, drill a small hole at the end of each. Depending on the size and design, pieces can be strung together to make wind chimes or decorations. Presto, you’ve recycled!
7. Dress it up When putting together a project that requires screws, countersink your screws by using a larger-bore or specialty drill bit to create enough space in the wood so that the screw head will sit below the surface. For a more professional effect, create a hole into which you can glue a precut bit of dowel.
8. Break it off Say you find yourself in a position — up a ladder, perhaps — with just your power drill and some hand tools and a piece of wood that needs to be trimmed is thicker than your handsaw (or muscle power) can handle. Forming a line of holes with your drill can create enough perforation that you can eventually tap the excess out of the way.
Always keep in mind that the clever accessories you see online that promise to let you create these and many more projects with your drill may, indeed, have the proper adapter to fit your drill but may not be suitable for your drill’s power or controls.