I have a very narrow kitchen cupboard I'd like to make some changes to (add shelves maybe). Almost any change will require drilling holes though, and there's not enough room for a standard electric or manual drill, so the first problem to solve is how to drill holes. It's only around 170mm wide.

How can I drill a hole with only around 170mm of space?

The holes would only need to be about 12-15mm deep.

  • What's on the other side of this cupboard? If you need the hole to go through to the other side, perhaps there you will have more room.
    – Eli Iser
    May 31, 2012 at 5:31

6 Answers 6


They sell what is called an "Offset" drill. Instead of the chuck being inline with the motor, it is turned 90°.

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They also make drills where the chuck can be turned to get into tight spots. They also make an offset attachment for most drills.

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If you have access to a Dremel, you can get a right-angle adapter for it:

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Disclaimer: I don't actually own this adapter so I don't know how big it is, and the specifications page doesn't say! Make sure it will fit if you decide to buy it.

  • 7
    They make these adapters for standard drills too
    – Steven
    May 28, 2012 at 19:33

If you are going into wood or drywall, you might be able to use a Bradawl, which wouldn't be much larger than a standard screwdriver.

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  • Thanks! The material is plastic laminated and is particle board underneath I believe, so I think it would probably work quite well. May 29, 2012 at 0:10

I've not used the Bradawl mentioned in another answer, but I have used a push drill. As you push down, the bit rotates clockwise, cutting the hole. When you release, the handle springs up and the bit rotates in the other direction. So you are making a push/pull motion.

A quick search turned up several different sizes of push drills.

Larger Push Drill

Small Push Drill

  • 4
    How does this let you get into a tight space like a right-angle drill?
    – auujay
    May 30, 2012 at 21:02
  • 1
    It doesn't... I have an old one of these and I think it needs a good 18" or so of clearance to work, way more than even a large electric drill. May 31, 2012 at 20:11

Maybe an electric drill flexible extension can be of use for you. http://www.amazon.com/Eazypower-30167-40-Inch-Flexible-Extension/dp/B0009XAFXU

And not answering directly your answer, but offering an alternative, you can think in using heavy duty adhesives and brackets instead of drilling.


Would an aviation bit work in this situation? An aviation bit is like a standard drill but but much longer, say 12" or 18" or so. Sometimes you can get the working end of the bit to where you need it when the drill itself is further away, beyond your obstacle.

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