December 03, 2021

How to Enlarge a Hole with a Hole Saw

How to Enlarge a Hole with a Hole-Saw

Whenever you need to drill large diameter holes quickly and cleanly, a hole saw is often times the tool of choice. It makes perfectly round holes in wood, sheetrock, and other materials. It can cut holes with much larger diameters than traditional drill bits. Because it cuts out the perimeter line of the hole, it is also much more efficient than a spade drill for example. 

The way a hole saw works, is that they are guided by a center pilot bit. With the pilot bit at their center, it keeps the saw teeth in place. Because of this, they are seemingly unhelpful if you are trying to enlarge an existing hole as the bit has nothing to drill into. Man attaches hole saw to Ryobi drill

So, what happens if you’ve made a hole with your hole saw and now you realize that you need the hole to be bigger? The problem now is that there is nothing for the pilot bit to hold onto. So, how do you enlarge a hole with a hole saw? What do you do if you’ve already made a hole and now you want it bigger? Not to worry, I have a solution for this problem…

The solution is to make a hole template that will act as your guide. In this post and video, I will show you how to make a template so you can easily enlarge a hole with a hole saw. 


First, determine how large you want your hole and select the appropriately sized hole saw to install on your drill. Your hole saw kit may come with multiple sizes. Find a scrap piece of wood - any piece of wood will do. Then, bore a hole in the scrap wood. 


The next step is to center the guide over the hole that you want to enlarge. An easy way to secure this is with a pin nailer or small finish nails. It doesn’t have to be perfect or pretty as we will be taking this template off as soon as we’ve bored the larger hole. I prefer securing the guide, opposed to holding it in place or using a clamp, because it is more firmly in place and also safer. 

For tips on the best technique to use, see my article on how to bore clean holes with a hole saw.


Lastly, you’re ready to bore. Drill the larger hole saw inside the template. Then, simply pry off the guide --  and now you have a clean, large, and perfectly round hole.Man uses a hole saw to cut a hole in wood

Tip: If necessary, you can fill the small pinholes with wood putty or spackle (depending on what material you are drilling into)

Speaking of different materials to drill into, the hole saw is versatile in that it can be used across various materials. These include wood, drywall, plastic, and even stainless steel. There are several different types of uses and scenarios where you would want to use a hole saw. 

Using a hole saw into drywall is a popular and appropriate use. For example, a hole saw can be used when installing light fixtures,  whether it is a hole for a ceiling fixture or wall sconce. 

Using a hole saw to bore into wood is useful for door hardware installation, for example. In my video about how to replace an interior door, you can see how I bore a hole for the lockset. 

Other uses with wood include cutting holes for electrical cables and wiring. 

And if you are an avid bird-watcher, or know someone who is, a hole saw is perfect for making a DIY birdhouse. 

So now you know that if you’ve made the hole too small with a hole saw, you can always use my solution to enlarge it. 

For more information on hole saws, check out my article on how to bore clean holes and how a carbide hole saw saves time and effort.

Posted in: News Projects Tools & Know-How Power Tools Woodworking & Workshop Carpentry Workshop Techniques
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