Different Types Of Drill Bits And What They Are Used For

To drill a satisfactory hole in any material, the correct type of drill bit must be used.

Many jobs around the house require a hole of some kind to be drilled - whether it is putting up a shelf, building a cabinet or hanging a light fitting.

For basic requirements, a set of high-speed steel twist drills and some masonry bits will probably be sufficient for the average handyman. But for more sophisticated jobs/material, others bits will be required - perhaps larger, or designed for a specific material/purpose.

Learning how to sharpen drill bits is cost effective, it better to keep a bit sharp by occasional sharpening rather than waiting until it becomes really blunt. A sharp bit cuts better with less effort whether used in a power or hand drill. A sharp bit will also give a cleaner hole.

Twist bits

Twist Drill Bit

Usually referred to as twist drills, twist bits are probably the most common drilling tools used by the handyman with either a hand or electric drill. The front edges cut the material and the spirals along the length remove the debris from the hole and tend to keep the bit straight.

They can be used on timber, metal, plastics and similar materials. Most twist bits are made from either:

  • 'high speed steel' (HSS), these are suitable for drilling most types of material, when drilling metal the HSS stands up to the high temperatures.
  • 'carbon steel', these bits are specially ground for drilling wood and should not be used for drilling metals, they tend to be more brittle, less flexible than HSS bits.

Twist bits are also available coated with Titanium nitride (TiN), these are easily identified by the gold like colour. This coating increases the hardness of the bit and adds a self-lubricating property. The coating is only really effective when metal is being drilled, it has little effect when working with other materials.

Twist drills are usually available in sizes 0.8-12 mm plus. They are designed for drilling relatively small holes, they sometimes tend to clog quickly especially when the wood is 'green' so when drilling deep holes (especially in hardwood) the bits should be withdrawn regularly to remove the waste.

Special care is required when using the smallest sizes since these bits are thin and brittle. Always hold the drill square to the work and apply only light pressure when drilling.

Sharpening - use a drill sharpener, a grindstone jig or an oilstone.

Titanium nitride bits cannot be sharpened without destroying the coating (although if the drill needs sharpening, the coating will probably have already been destroyed). Forming the correct angle at the tip is important for efficient cutting.

Masonry bit

masonry drill bit

As the name suggests, these are designed for drilling into brick, block, stone, quarry tiles or concrete. The cutting tip is often made from tungsten carbide bonded to a spiralled steel shaft. Some masonry drills are described as 'durium tipped', this term refers to a highly durable silicon bronze alloy used instead of tungsten as the cutting point.

Masonry drills are usually used in a power drill; although they can be used with a lot of effort in a hand brace. Most masonry bits can be used with a hammer action power drill, but always check as the action is quite punishing on the bit and cheaper bits have been known to shatter when subjected to the pounding. Always use a slow rotational speed for drilling into harder materials to avoid overheating the tip, and frequently withdraw the bit to remove dust.

Long Masonry bits (300 to 400mm) are available for drilling through masonry walls.

Bit sizes range from 4 to 16mm.

Sharpening - use a drill sharpener or grindstone to sharpen the tungsten carbide tip.

Spur point bit

spur drill bit

Also known as a wood or dowel bit, they have a central point and two raised spurs that help keep the bit drilling straight. The bit cuts timber very fast when used in a power drill and leaves a clean sided hole. They are ideal for drilling holes for dowels as the sides of the holes are clean and parallel. Sizes range from 3 to 10mm. Spur point bits should only be used for drilling wood or some plastics.

Sharpening - a bit fiddly as it has to be done by hand. Sharpen the point and spurs with a fine file or edge of a fine grindstone; the angle between the point and spurs should be 90°.

Bullet Pilot Point

With their central point and two spurs, Bullet drills resemble spur point bits, but can be used in metal, wood and plastics. Unlike normal twist drills, the twisted flutes are ground away; making a truer, more accurate bit than normal twist bits. They cut a clean hole and cause little damage when they break through the back of the workpiece.

Bit sizes range from 1.5 to 13 mm.

Sharpening - cannot be carried out satisfactorily.


Although not a true 'drill', it is used in a power or hand drill to form the conical recess for the heads of countersunk screws. These bits tend to be designed for use on soft materials such as timber and plastics, not metals. When used with a power drill to counter sink an existing hole, the bit tends to 'chatter', leaving a rough surface. Better results be will obtained if the countersink bit is used before the hole is drilled, then take care to ensure that the hole is in the centre of the countersunk depression.

Countersinks are available with fitted handles so that they can be used by hand twisting, often easier than changing the bit in the drill when only a relatively few holes need countersinking.

Sharpening: difficult, but can be done with a fine triangular file.

Countersink with clearance drill

These combination bits are quite clever, they drill the clearance hole and countersinks it all in one stroke. Can be used in a power drill or some routers. Different bits are required for different size of clearance holes and they are probably not cost effective unless a large number of a given hole size need to be drilled and countersunk.

Sharpening - difficult, due to shape of spur points.

Tile Bit

tile drill bit

A bit for drilling ceramic tiles and glass, it has a ground tungsten carbide tip. They can be used with a hand drill, but are best used in a variable speed power drill on a slow speed. When drilling glass, some form of lubricant (i.e. turpentine or white spirit) should be used to keep the tip cool.

Ceramic tiles can also be drilled using a masonry bit if it is used at slow speed and without hammer action.

Sharpening - difficult because of the hard tungsten carbide and curved cutting edge. With care and patience, a blunt edge can be made good using an oilstone.

Flat wood bit

flat drill bit

Intended for power drill use only, the centre point locates the bit and the flat steel on either side cuts away the timber. These bits are used to drill fairly large holes and they give a flat bottomed hole (with a central point) so are ideal where the head of a screw/bolt needs to be recessed into the timber - always use this bit before drilling the clearance hole for the bolt.

The larger bits require a fairly powerful drill to bore deep holes. The bits cause a lot of splintering as they break out the back of the workpiece - using a sacrificial backing board will reduce this. Flat wood bits are not really suitable for enlarging an existing hole.

Sizes range between 8 and 32mm.

Sharpening - use a fine file, oilstone or grindstone.

Hole saw

hole saw drill bit

Used for cutting large, fixed, diameter holes in wood or plastic. They will usually cut up to a depth of 18mm - deeper versions are available. Best used in a power drill at low speed as the blade saws it's way through the material.

Sharpening - could be done with a fine triangular file - as for an ordinary saw.

Combination hole saw

Like the Hole Saw above, these combination saws can cut large holes but they consist of a number of different sized round saw blades, usually ranging from about 25 to 62mm in diameter. Normally the blade are secures by a radial screw in the 'head', all blades other than the desired sized being removed before the screw is inserted to secure the required diameter blade. Best used in a power drill at low speed as the blade saws it's way through the material.

Sharpening - could be done with a fine triangular file and 'setter' as for an ordinary saw.

Forstner bit

forstner drill bit

Used to form holes with a flat bottom, such as for kitchen cupboard hinges. Best used in a power drill held in a drill stand as there's little in the way of a central point. If used freehand, the positioning is difficult to control as there is no central pilot bit.

Sharpening - on an oilstone or with a fine file.

Wood Auger bit

wood auger drill bit

This is ideal when drilling large-diameter, deep holes in wood or thick man-made boards. Generally an Auger bit should only be used in a hand brace. The bit will cut a clean and deep, flat bottomed holes. The single spur cuts and defines the edge of the hole while the chisel-like cutting edge removes the waste within the previously cut circle. The threaded centre bites into the wood and pulls the bit into the timber. This 'pulling' action means that the bit is really unsuitable for use in a power drill.

Sharpening - use a fine file or oilstone to keep the spur and main cutting edges sharp.


Paint vs. Varnish

Paint and varnish are two commonly used finishes applied to wood and other materials. Here is a comparison between them in terms of appearance, application, protective properties, and drying time.


Paint consists of a colouring pigment suspended in an oil or water solvent (the "vehicle"), a resin that binds the pigment particles together and provides adhesion to the surface being painted. Paint is a "film-forming finish" in that it forms a thin layer that lies on top of the surface to which it is applied with minimal absorption below the surface. It is used to both protect and decorate surfaces.

Paints fall into two broad categories: water-based latex paints, and oil-based paints or "alkyds." Most of the liquid portion of latex paints is water and for oil-based paints, the liquid component consists of petroleum distillates and other organic solvents. About three-fourths of all paint sold today is of the latex variety. Advantages of these paints include easy clean-up with soap and water, faster drying, and less likelihood of cracking.


Varnish is a clear film finish that is made from oils and resins. It is one of the more durable clear finishes, providing excellent protection against water, water vapour, chemicals, and heat. Varnish is applied as a topcoat to stained wood to protect the wood, to make it easier to clean, and to impart a nice shine to the surface. It is used when one wishes to retain the natural beauty of the wood. The characteristics of varnish are determined by the type of resin, type of oil, and the proportion of resin to oil. The oils used in varnish include linseed oil, tung oil, soybean oil, walnut oil, and safflower oil.

Most varnishes use a synthetic resin, usually alkyd, phenolic, or polyurethane. Alkyd is the most common type of varnish for interior applications. It is not as tough as phenolic varnish, but it is cheaper and doesn't yellow quite as much.


Varnish imparts a sheen to stained or bare wood and does not obscure the wood's grain or texture. Some varnishes, particularly oil-based ones, have a slight amber colour that gets more pronounced over time. The effect is most noticeable with light-coloured woods such as maple or pine. Varnish comes in three different sheen levels: satin, semi-gloss, and gloss.

Paint can transform the appearance of an object. Depending on the colour and concentration of the paint, it can completely obscure the grain and texture of wood. It also covers up knots and other irregularities. Paint comes in four basic sheens: flat, satin, semi-gloss and high gloss.

Protection and Durability

For interior applications, paint and varnish perform both provide decent protection against water and solvents.

For outdoor applications, paint is more protective and longer lasting than varnish. The pigments in paint provide superior UV resistance compared to varnish and other clear finishes. Varnish will last only 1 to 2 years on wood exposed to the full sun compared to 7 to 10 years for paint.


A primer paint coat is usually required before applying topcoats of paint. If the surface is not primed, the paint will not adhere to the surface and it will peel off very easily. Paint can be applied with a brush, a roller, or a spray gun.

Varnish can be applied directly to bare or stained wood that is free of dust. The traditional way of applying varnish is with a brush but it can also be sprayed or wiped on. Many varnishes require two to three coats for a smooth finish.

Drying Time

Paint varies considerably in drying time, depending on how it is applied (spraying versus brushing) and whether it is water-based or oil-based. A brushed-on oil-based paint can take up to 8 hours to dry whereas a sprayed-on paint may dry in less than 1 hour.

One of the biggest challenges with varnish is its long drying time which allows pesky dust particles to settle on the surface. You can generally figure on 24 hours for varnish to dry although newer water-based formulations and polyurethane often dry more quickly.

Glitter and Sparkle

When life gives you an empty wall, dip it in glitter and sparkle all day.

Transform any wall paint to glitter magic.

Glitter is a great way to add some fun to a young child's bedroom wall or the wall of a craft room, or as we like to say, glitter doesn’t have an age cap because even adults likes it too. A glitter wall even adds a great finishing touch to a living room wall which will leave your guests with an everlasting good impression.

You can use any colour paint and any colour glitter. We recommend using a washable sheen like Vinyl Silk or a wipeable matt like super acrylic mixed to colour of choice colour/type from our Panache Paint range. Then mix Bastion’s paint glitter, colour of choice with our Panache acrylic bonding sealer, add little bits at a time till you have the correct measure and finish you require you can rather add more coats of the sealer than having to much glitter in the paint. When adding glitter also note that you will have to mix the sealer constantly otherwise the glitter will just settle to the bottom.

When adding glitter to paint it is important to evenly distribute the glitter throughout the paint, so that the amount of glitter remains constant on all parts of the wall. Improper mixing can lead to the glitter settling and the last part of the room painted having a lot more glitter than the first part. For this reason, there are a few things to keep in mind

Mix Small Batches

Mixing smaller batches of paint can help prevent settling. If you mix the entire can of paint, it may be many hours before you reach the paint at the bottom of the can. If you mix a smaller batch, you can mix and use up the paint inside of a couple of minutes. Be sure to mix the entire can of paint thoroughly first, then pour a small amount into a smaller container along with the proper amount of glitter. Mix the paint and glitter and do a test run on a small section of wall. Adjust glitter and paint ratio as you like.

Use the Right Glitter

If you are going to mix glitter into your paint, use glitter that is specifically manufactured for painting applications. Paint glitter is designed to be mixed with paint and will be more apt to remain in suspension in the paint, rather than settling to the bottom of the can. Craft glitter may not mix evenly and may even flake off the wall once the paint dries.

Mixer Drill Attachment

Ideally you would pour your glitter in to your paint can and put the can into an industrial paint mixer. Rare is the homeowner with a paint mixer in his home, however, so a mixing attachment on a drill is the next best thing. Mix your paint thoroughly first, then pour in small amounts of glitter, mixing as you pour. Mix and remix the paint every couple of minutes to keep the glitter from settling.

And there you have it, a shiny wall to match your diamond personality. 😊

Woodworking basics Blog May2021

jacks paintJack’s Paint & Hardware Website Blog

May 2021


Woodworking Basics for Beginners: How to Get Started Building with Wood.

If your wife asks for it, you build it, unless you are a wife because women can build too!

Fancy a DIY drawer or cupboard? If your answer was yes, then you need to follow this easy beginner guide on how to get started to build with wood.

WoodworkIf you are new to woodworking, there are some very important things to know as a beginner. Many people who start woodworking often struggle so this guide of the woodworking basics for beginners will help you avoid all the possible pitfalls new woodworking beginners can face.

This guide to woodworking for beginners will help you get on the fast track to building your own furniture and making home repairs in no time!

The first thing you should remember as a new woodworker is that everybody had to start somewhere. Most people do not become master carpenters the first time they pick up a hammer. It can be easy to feel discouraged at first, but with some practice you will soon be building things you never thought would be possible.

Like most hobbies or even professions, the more time you put into learning the basics and practicing the skills, the better results you will see.

Here are 10 Wood Working Basics Beginner Woodworkers Should Know When Getting Started:

  1. Know Your Wood: Understanding Lumber and Types of Wood for Building
  2. Set up a Dedicated Workspace
  3. Respect the Tools and Practice Woodworking Safety
  4. Learn the Different Types of Tools and Their Uses
  5. Start with a Project & Learn to Read Woodworking Plans
  6. Understand the Woodworking Process
  7. Master the Cut: How to Measure and Cut Wood Accurately
  8. Learn How to Assemble and Join Wood
  9. Protect Your Creations: Best Practices for Sanding & Finishing Wood
  10. Clean Up the Mess and enjoy the sight of your new creation!

While every woodworker has their own workflow and way of doing things, most generally follow these steps when building a project:

• Choose a Project and Gather Supplies & Materials
• Make a Cut List
• Review the Build Strategy
• Measure & Cut the Wood
• Assemble the Wood
• Apply a Protective Finish to the Wood AND you are done!

Who wood have thought that wood work wood be THIS easy? 😊

DIY Advice: Children’s Bedrooms

childrens bedrooms

Children love their bedrooms, it is the place where they play, sleep and entertain their friends, real and imaginary. Whether you’re sprucing up your tot’s room, or preparing a nursery for your impending new arrival, we have some great DIY tips and painting advice to help you turn their room into their favourite part of the house!


A new coat of paint easily transforms a room. Chat with your little one, if they are old enough, and find out which colours they would like to feature in their room. Varying shades of blue work well in a little boy’s room, and you can even get creative with masking tape and paint strips of navy blue to emulate a nautical theme. Little girls will enjoy most pastel colours, perhaps with a more striking trim. If you are painting for a nurseryyou don’t need to be gender-specific in your colour choices. The trend lately is to make use of cool colours in the form of whites, pale blues and greens, yellows and even grey, complemented with splashes of colour in your décor.

Get creative

Chalkboard paint can also be an amazing feature in a child’s bedroom, giving them an entire wall space on which to draw – and this can help stop them from creating a masterpiece with kokis on the walls in the living room! Get creative in your little one’s room, perhaps painting a blue sky with sponged-on fluffy white clouds on their ceiling. If your little one wants to gaze at the stars, you can paint them a beautiful night’s sky with black paint dotted with stars using our Glow-in-the-Dark paint. There are various other ways to get creative with painting techniques, from sponging and colour washing to cool stencils and wall art.


Creating storage space in your child’s room is very important for creating a neat-ish (they are young after all) and fairly orderly space. Install sturdy floating shelves for storing small stuffed toys and knick knacks. If you’re up to using your DIY skills, you can even buy some wood and build a special box just for your tot; something beautiful and handy to perhaps pass down to their own kids.


Get that drill out and hook up a mosquito net over your child’s bed. This creates a beautiful ‘princess-bed’ feel for little Queens-in-the-making or a safari/adventurer sleep sanctuary for your little gentleman.

A small table next to their bed with a nightlight will create a cosy atmosphere for nightmare-free nights, and a low, easy-to-access bookshelf that will work fantastically for storing books and other toys that need to be on hand.

Get your little one involved in the decorating of their bedroom! If you are stencilling on murals or using the sponging technique, this is something that they can easily be taught. And you can simply paint another layer over it if their Van Gogh attempts land up looking more like a skewed Picasso. Sometimes all a room needs to be transformed is a new lick of paint; and this transformation is only enhanced if you bring new life to the bedroom’s furniture with paint. Don’t forget to include a snug reading corner in their room, with a comfy sofa or bean bags. A cosy reading area means more reading!

If you’re going to redecorate, put on your DIY hat and pop down to your nearest Jack’s Paint & Hardware store to create your little one’s mini-paradise.