5 tips to get the most out of your hole saw

Articles, Power Tool Accessories

By Lucas Whitmer, Product Development Engineer

Having the right tools is essential to the success of any project. Make sure you are getting the most out of your hole saw by following these five tips:

  1. Choose the right hole saw for the job. Whether doing general purpose work or cutting a very specific type of material, know the best hole saw for the applications you plan to tackle. MHS is the most effective general-purpose tool; good for regular electrical boxes, mild steel and wood, or even drywall. Carbide tipped hole saws perform in abrasive and hard-to-cut materials – stainless steel, fiberglass, or computer board, for example – that standard MHS blades can’t handle. Carbide grit is ideal for coarse, masonry-style material like cinder block, brick, and stone, and is perfect for recessed lighting. Diamond grit is for finer grit materials, like ceramic tile, granite, glass block, cast iron, or materials that can “tear out” like and laminate flooring.
  2. Use the correct speed. Not all materials are created equal; you must adjust your speed based on your application. When cutting wood, you can give it gas and run it wide open at 1500 RPM. As you move to harder-to-cut materials, slow down your RPM to let the teeth work optimally and to prevent tool failures like tooth stripping and excessive heat. Keep an eye on your speed setting on your drill. Aluminum is fairly easy to cut, so you can run around 400 RPM. Mild steel requires a little lower RPM, around 150. Stainless steel is hard to cut, so you should run at about 50 RPM. Not sure how to gauge? If you can still read the logo as the hole saw spins, you are going about 50-60 RPM.
  3. Don’t overlook lubricant. Whenever able, we recommend using lubricant to get better life out of your tool. Lubrication will help keep the teeth cool during the cut and prolong the life of the teeth. An easy application method is to use your hole saw to cut a slug out of a sponge. Dip the round sponge in lubricant and put it up inside the blade. As the hole saw spins, the lubricant will be drawn out of the sponge and down the sides to the teeth. You can still cut effectively without lubrication, but it will increase the life of your hole saw in certain applications.
  4. Understand pilot bits and their importance. A pilot bit gives you an anchor point when you start your cut, ensuring accurate hole placement and a smoother finish. There are several pilot bit types to choose from. A standard high-speed jobber style bit is the most general purpose. Spade carbide-tipped masonry bits are for going through cinder block and brick. A spring-loaded auto pilot bit works best with diamond grit hole saws.
  5. Avoid accidental thread lock. Thread lock can happen when you use a small (non-pin drive) arbor on a large diameter hole saw. The torque from the tool can twist the hole saw onto the arbor, making it challenging to remove. A pin drive arbor applies the torque from the drill into the pins, instead of the arbor threads, using it to spin the hole saw and prevent the arbor and holesaw from locking together.

Check out the hole saw options Morse offers here.