I am considering buying a table (Flash Furniture 24" square top with 18" round center pole base). The table top is reversible, which means that it comes with no holes drilled in it. It attaches to the base via screws. Here are the instructions for assembling the table. It's showing a different bottom of the base, but I'm concerned about the top of the base, where it attaches to the table.

The instructions, being graphics only, don't say what drill bit to use or how to make sure I don't drill too far into the table. I think I can handle the drill bit selection part - choose a bit the thickness of the screw shaft - but what I don't know is how do I make sure I drill deep enough but not so deep that it comes out the table top. How do I drill a table top without drilling too far through it?

  • There are loads of questions here already that will address how to pick the proper size drill bit to make your pilot holes. Here's the first one I found in a search for "pilot hole".
    – FreeMan
    Jan 22, 2021 at 12:44
  • To me those instructions imply that drilling a pilot hole is not required. Can you add a pic of the screws supplied? They may well be the self-drilling kind.
    – brhans
    Jan 22, 2021 at 17:27
  • I haven't bought the table yet. I was hoping the answers here would help me decide whether to buy the table. That said, I wasn't aware of self-drilling screws and will post if I move forward with the purchase. Thank you.
    – Chas Belov
    Jan 23, 2021 at 8:59
  • drill into the table through a Styrofoam block or even just a paper cup that keeps the bit's chuck well away from the table surface.
    – dandavis
    Jan 24, 2021 at 10:27

1 Answer 1


There are drill stops that are available that clamp to the drill bit or other stops that mount on the drill as an attachment.

For little jobs like that I have always found that some tape wrapped around the drill bit is sufficient - but don’t be pushing hard.

For precise jobs then a pillar drill gives accurate results.

  • 1
    For reference, in the US, a "pillar drill" is usually called a "drill press".
    – FreeMan
    Jan 22, 2021 at 12:40
  • I often use tape as a depth gauge. For something critical like a table top, I'd suggest putting the tape about 1/16" short of your desired depth, especially since it's the first time you're using this. There's a tendency to go to the tape, and after several holes, the tape can get pushed a bit higher up the bit. By marking your holes to start shallower, you'll account for that creep, and 1/16" shallow won't impact driving the screws at all.
    – FreeMan
    Jan 22, 2021 at 12:42
  • Thank you. I didn't know about drill stops. They seem cheap enough, a lot cheaper than replacing a table top. If the screws turn out not to be self-drilling, I would definitely buy a set.
    – Chas Belov
    Jan 23, 2021 at 9:03

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