Ask WWGOA: Cutting Square Holes


What is the best piece of equipment you can buy to cut a square hole in a piece of wood and what is the best way to cut a square hole?–any size from 1/2″ to 2″ square?

Submitted by rwhayes323


There are many ways to cut a square hole. One method is to layout the hole and drill away most of the waste using a Forstner bit whose diameter is as close to the hole’s width as possible. If the hole goes all the way through the work piece, then use a scroll saw to cut the square sides. If the hole goes only part way through the work piece, then use a chisel to cut the square sides.


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9 Responses to “Ask WWGOA: Cutting Square Holes”
  1. Mike Zimmer

    I want to cut square holes through a 2″ thick piece of pecan I’m using as a desk top. And at a slight angle.

    • Customer Service

      Hi Mike. The easiest way to do this would be to use a mortising machine. If you do not have access to this, you can mark the outline of your square hole using a marking knife, and use a chisel to cut the hole. To get the angle that you want I would suggest cutting a block of scrap wood at the desired angle, and using that as a guide for your chisel as you get started.

  2. Judith S.

    I use a drill for most of the cut & then I use a Whiteside square corner chisel bit to square it up.

  3. J.R. Sloan

    What about using one of those reciprocating tools with the snap-on or bolt-on saw &/or grinder blades. I had a flooring subcontractor use one of those for trip around the footers in a room prior to installing moldings, and it worked like a charm, using a 2×4 as a shim/guide. If a single (or a few) square mortise(s) is/are needed, seems like one of these would be just the ticket.

  4. Robert Taylor

    Hi…I have a bench top that cme with square holes for use with the vice. I have not seen any in our local wood shops. I live in a small town in central WA. How would I keep the pegs from falling through after I make a few?

  5. Burton r Schriber

    I have a question, I just reviewed your video concerning finishing (2 Faces Mage Easy). I noticed all of the clamps mounted on the wall in the background. Do you have a video on building or mounting those clamps. Or could send me a few photos so that I can copy your technique. I have several clamps to mount and have been looking for a great method. Thank you

    • Customer Service

      Hi Burton. We don’t have any content that covers how this was built, but we will add this to George’s list of ideas, and perhaps he will make a video on this at some point. Thanks for your suggestion.
      Paul-Woodworkers Guild of America

  6. Ellie

    Is it worth the money for a casual woodworker to invest in a mortising attachment for a drill press. Some kits come with 4 square hole drill bits with chisels and the fence and hold down attachments. Here in Canada King sell a kit for about $100.00. Model MA-511.