What Are Spade Drill Bits Used For?

A spade drill bit is a woodworking drill bit with two sharp tips and a flat drill bit. The 1968 design was meant for scooping materials from a borehole much faster.

They are ideal for drilling wood, plywood, chipboard, fibreboard, plasterboard, plumbing and some plastics. Spade bits are used in large projects due to the rapid need. It can be used through a handheld drill and is a simple average bit and easy to modify.

what are spade drill bits used for

 The spade drill bit shape and design offers drilling stability in that once its thrust into harder material, it will not slip off easily. They are manufactured primarily from high-speed steel, and some of them have iron or carbide tips.

Spade Bit Types and Theie Uses

The biggest advantage of these bits is that they are very versatile and can be used in various situations. Some of the most common uses include:

Self-feeding spade drill bit: You should use this when making clean, smooth holes on your workpiece. Screw them into place and start using them as soon as you want.

Fence drill bit: These are frequently used when cutting fence posts where you need straight and clear sides. They should be securely fixed on a heavy workpiece such as a table or router base to not move about during use.

Rabbeting spade drill bits: This type can be used for cutting rabbets in wooden case linings, molding covers, etc., with the help of a router table. The first step is to draw up the guidelines and then use them to make precise cuts once placed flush into the groove on the workpiece.

Row joint drilling bits: These are commonly found among modern woodworkers who like working with large materials such as flooring boards that require precise cuts and joints.

Top edge bits: These are used when you want to make square edges on tabletops, doors using a router. The first step is to mark out the guidelines and then place them flush into the groove on the workpiece using clamps. Once in place, use varying depths of cuts for precision and professional results.

We have published an article about the best drill bit for cabinet hardware last week. You can check that out.

Drilling a Hole Using a Spade Bit

Spade drill bits are very versatile and can be used for several drilling jobs. One of the most common ways of using them is to pre-drilling holes before screwing down a flat surface. A spade bit works best when the workpiece is supported by a block or router table.

The average speed at which you should rotate the drill bit for standard woodworking projects should be between 550 to 650 rpm. To cut through the wood efficiently, ensure the Bit is well sharpened. Sharpening can be done in DIY or by visiting a machining shop.

Explore these tips for an efficient whole spade bit hole cutter or drilling;

  • Hold the router securely and place it against the mark on the workpiece.
  • Make sure that you exert the right pressure from your hand or wrist instead of just your fingers.
  • Allow the router to sink into the workpiece, and then use your free hand to move it back. This will allow you to deepen the hole saw at the side of the mark.
  • Keep doing this in a clockwise motion until you have reached the required depth.
  • If there is too much sticking out from the hole cutter, use a chisel to cut it off.

How Do You Sharpen Spade Drill Bits

Regular drill bit sharpening is an essential maintenance tip. You can sharpen them in different ways through a grinder, and water stones are the most common and cost-effective.

Place the tip flat on the grinding wheel and slowly rotate until it becomes dull and rounded. This technique can be used for all types of spade bits except those with carbide tips.

When dealing with carbide spades, use a small, lubricated whetstone lubricated by diamond spray or water. Sharpen the Bit at a 45-degree angle to sharpen its edge instead of grinding it flat on a wheel.

The ideal sharpening process involves placing the tip against the whetstone and push it towards you in a clockwise motion.

Why is there a Hole in a Spade Bit?

The spur on the shaft of a spade bit is used as an anchor when thrust into a surface and will prevent it from slipping off accidentally. It ensures that the drill remains in place during use, thus increasing its efficiency.

Can I Use a Spade Bit On Drywall?

The wall’s thickness determines drywall drilling. Using a tape measure, accurately measure the thickness and after that establish whether a spade bit is long enough to penetrate. 

Spades work best on slightly harder materials like plywood or solid wood, but they have difficulty penetrating soft wallboards, making sure that your measurements are accurate.

What is a Spade Drill Bit Made Of?

Spade bits are mainly made up of high-speed steel tips that are welded to chromium-nickel or similar materials for the shank.

Can You Use a Spade Bit in A Drill Press?

You can use a spade bit in a drill press. However, you will have to set the depth using a collar or very accurately because they usually produce deeper holes than other drills. 

The shaft of spade bits is hollow, making them more effective at drilling through wood with less pressure and friction and eliminating slow speed.

Are Forstner bits better than spade bits?

Forstner bits are specially designed to create flat bottomed holes with perfectly parallel sides. They have a bearing mounted on the tip and thus can work longer than spade bits but do not have as much flexibility in terms of their usage.

Forstner bits are made in a unique design and have the ability to drill overlapping holes.

What are the best spade drill bits?

There are so many spade drill bits available in the market; however, you can look at the selection of top brands on our website to find out what works best for different common types of projects, types of wood, and materials. A spade drill bit set would be a great tool to help make holes of various larger diameters bit for wood. 


A spade drill bit is a must-have tool for homeowners. They are used in many projects as they save time and effort with their exceptional performance. Spade bit drills are a great way to drill clean holes. Clamping a sacrificial board on the other side of the workpiece aids a perfect hole.

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