Coat Hanger Drill Bit

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Introduction: Coat Hanger Drill Bit

Have you been looking to drill tiny holes straight through your floors or walls? Do you love 2 minute hacks? Have you been searching for a way to make sure you are running wire through the wall and not straight through to the ceiling or floor of another room? Have you been looking to use a piece of trash for something useful? Look no further! I'll show you how you can use a coat hanger to drill through flooring, drywall, or even solid hardwood. I stood there with my mouth open when my electrician pulled out an old coat hanger and used it to drilla hole straight through my closet flooring and into my basement. He used it as a guide to find where to drill with the larger bit, in order to be sure he was drilling inside the wall. The hole left behind is so small I didn't even bother patching it. Here's how to do it.

Step 1: Get a Coat Hanger

Find yourself a wire coat hanger, and cut the straight portion at both ends to separate it from the rest of the hanger. Make sure to taper one end so that its a chiseled point. Once that's done, chuck the other end into your drill.

Step 2: GO!

Press the tip of the coat hanger firmly against your piece. Use your free hand to minimize the wobble in the wire while you get the drill up to speed. You want a fairly high rpm. While you drill, keep as much downward pressure as you can without bowing your coat hanger. It is perfectly fine to touch the rotating wire as you push. Just make sure your wire is free of nicks and burrs, or wear some gloves. I've included a video so you can see it in action.

Video Link

Step 3: Do Something Fun!

Now that you have the ability to drill really long skinny holes, try doing something fun! I drilled a long thin piece of wood lengthwise and ran some wires through it and illuminated an LED. Try drilling through one end of a dowel to the other. It's not easy to stay straight, but this is surprisingly effective!

Step 4: A Few Tips

  • If you are drilling through a thick or hard piece of wood, be careful when you pull the bit out. It will likely be very hot, and probably flopping all around.
  • If you find that you are dulling your point, just snip a new point and keep going
  • If your coat hanger is bending too much, ease off and use your free hand to stabilize it
  • It's really difficult to drill in a perfectly straight line doing this. So this is not recommended for precision work unless you've practiced it a bit.

That's all there is to it! If you found this useful please consider voting for me!

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    62 Discussions

    My (ex) father in law was a cabinet maker.
    Whenever he was on a job installing his work, he would "pilot drill" the sometimes thin and easily split trim pieces with a finish nail of the size he was using to "brad & glue" the piece down with.

    3 replies

    My Father-in-law (now departed) taught me to chop the end off of finishing nails when using them on moulding. That way they didn't split the wood. The blunt end "pushed" the wood out of the way.

    Similar... my Dad (carpenter) always hit the pointed end of a nail with the hammer to prevent splitting (even when framing 2x4's). Prevents the nail head from acting like a wedge.

    That's what my Dad, the carpenter taught me: to hit the point of the nail with a hammer first, to make it rip through the wood, instead of wedge through it. This would help prevent splitting.

    Don't do this, not worth it. My dad did this when he was younger, cleaning a heater radiator, the 'bit' broke and went through his hand, took a piece of bone with it.

    10 replies

    I'm not sure exactly what you mean when you say he was using it for cleaning a heater radiator, but that doesn't really sound like the same application. From what I'm told this is a tried and true trick of the trade that many professionals have been using for years. Many of the other comments here support that info.

    Yes, there are post here that support using unsafe tools, just because there's a consensus doesn't mean that the consensus is correct or safe.

    Just buy an actual drill bit people, a few bucks is not worth losing chunks of flesh and bone.

    A 1/4" x 15" drill bit is more than a couple of bucks.

    Must have been pushing VERY hard and his hand shot forward impaling itself on the wire.

    This is a proven and common approach. I've even seen 1/2-inch threaded rod hammered to an "arrow point" at one end and used to drill through the ground with a 3/4-inch drill as a probe. By using threaded couplings they were able to keep adding 3-foot lengths and got down as far as 15-feet (checking for rock). The only thing they had to watch out for was to keep the drill spinning clockwise/forward, even while removing it from the ground, so that the couplings wouldn't unthread.

    Right, because half inch rod is the same as coathangars... You ever hear of metal fatigue? It occurs when you bend certain metals to much, it makes them brittle, so brittle, you can easly bend small (coathangar size) with your bare hands.

    Metal fatigue causes hardness and brittleness. Hardness means it won't bend, but metal fatigue is caused by bending. Try bending a coat hanger wire until it breaks - not so easy is it? You had to find a pre-stressed area (like the hook area where the wire is bent suddenly) didn't you? or hold the wire in a pair of pliers so that you could get a sharp bend, Hmmm?

    Not saying it didn't happen to your dad, but i'm not saying that manufacturing techniques haven't changed in the last 40+ years either...

    Actually, I got into trouble a kid for breaking coat hangers, would get bored and sit there and break half a dozen by bending them back and forth. I was 5. If a 5 year old can break them with his bare hands (not on the edge even, right smack in the middle of the straight) what do you think a power tool will do? You're right about the hardness making it not bend, once it's fatigued, it doesn't bend, it shears, as in it breaks in a way that gives it a nice sharp point to go through your, skin, muscle, nerves, bone, and/or cartilage. Whoever uses this way to drill, have fun losing the use of your hands, I hope you have good health insureance.

    And how many fingers did you loose as a 5 year old?

    yes, it could be dangerous, but eating a steak that's off the grill can cause cancer. It's a matter of degree of risk. You make it sound like plutonium when the risk is more like chest x-ray or cross country aircraft ride.

    None, I lost zero fingers. You know why? Of course you don't, so I'll fill you in.

    I DID NOT USE A POWER TOOL.

    how did you thread the two wires thru the hole? that's another feat!

    1 reply

    I'm not going to lie, I had to use really small wires and it took more than one try.

    Good idea if you need a long thin drill. Nails can be used in the same way. Long finishing nails are particularly good.

    How do you keep the wire from spinning in the drill chuck? Do you have to tighten the chuck really tight? This is a great idea nd I can see lots of potential with this idea!

    1 reply

    To Skylane and Uneektalent: Thanks for these comments, it helps a lot. I love Instructables and the community!