How to Remove a Drill Bit From Wood

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Things You'll Need

  • Pliers

  • Calipers or tape measure

  • Screw extractor set

  • Power drill

  • Metal drill bit, same diameter as stuck bit


Use the drilling-out method only as a last resort; drilling out often damages the wood material surrounding the stuck bit.

Drill bits have varying lengths and diameters.

If you have a drill bit stuck in wood, you're probably facing one of two scenarios: either the drill bit's shank is protruding from the wood, or the bit's shank snapped off and left the bit fully embedded in the wood. If the bit's shank is sticking out of the surface, you can easily remove the bit with basic hand tools. If the drill bit is fully embedded in the wood, you must either use a specialized extractor tool or simply "drill out" the entire bit with a metal boring drill.

Bit With Shaft Protruding

Step 1

Open the jaws of a pair of pliers. Compress the jaws around the shank of the drill bit that is stuck.

Step 2

Grip the pliers' handles and twist the drill bit counterclockwise.

Step 3

Turn the pliers counterclockwise to loosen the drill bit and draw the bit out of the wood.

Embedded: Screw Extractor Method

Step 1

Measure the diameter of the stuck drill bit with calipers or a tape measure. From the screw extractor kit, select a drill bit and screw extractor of smaller diameter than the stuck bit. Attach the bit to a power drill.

Step 2

Center the power drill's bit at the center of the stuck drill bit's shank. Drill approximately halfway through the stuck bit's shank with the power drill.

Step 3

Attach the screw extractor to the screw extractor wrench. Press the tip of the screw extractor into the hole that you drilled through the stuck bit's shank. Twist the wrench to thread the extractor into the bit. Continue to thread the extractor into the bit until the bit loosens and begins to turn counterclockwise.

Step 4

Turn the extractor wrench until the stuck bit comes free from the wood.

Embedded: Drilling Out the Bit

Step 1

Measure the diameter of the stuck bit with calipers or a tape measure. Select a metal drill bit the same diameter as the stuck bit to a power drill.

Step 2

Position the tip of the power drill's bit directly over the exposed end of the stuck bit.

Step 3

Drill through the shank of the stuck drill bit. Occasionally back the bit out of the hole to remove metal shavings. Drill straight through the stuck bit's shank to reduce the bit to metal shavings.


Shane Grey

Based in Hawaii, Shane Grey began writing professionally in 2004. He draws on his construction experience to write instructional home and garden articles. In addition to freelance work, Grey has held a position as an in-house copywriter for an online retailer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater arts from Humboldt State University.