I drilled a pilot hole in some wood using a size 5 wood bit. I screwed in a screw. It got stuck.

So, I thought I'll try a bigger pilot hole, size 6. The drill bit is now stuck. My drill is a Ryobi RB18L13 and has decent torque and I've put the drill into reverse to try to extract it!!

The wood is thick around 20cm and is the sort sold as "sleepers" and is damp. Is the dampness the issue?

What am I doing wrong to fail so bad???

  • If bits get stuck use the reverse switch to get the bit out. Damp wood will stick more and not clean the hole as well.
    – crip659
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 12:05
  • I've updated my post to say I put the drill into reverse mode!! Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 12:11
  • 2
    Can try just drilling a bit at a time and pulling the bit out, then drilling a bit deeper. Cleaning the hole and bit each time.
    – crip659
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 12:52
  • Yes, you need to drill a bit (no pun intended) at a time. If you don't pull the bit out, especially with wet wood, the shavings can cause jams. If it's stuck, remove the chuck and use vise grips to work it CW and CCW. You'll get more tq than your drill.
    – Huesmann
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 14:38
  • Are you using an 'old fashioned' twist drill or a more modern brad point? I don't know how big a 'size 5' is. We measure in mm, not 'sizes' & google for me buries any reference to 'size' under a myriad hits for things measured in mm so it eludes me. Larger holes you may fare better with an auger or a spade bit. An auger will need a high-torque drill.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Apr 9, 2023 at 14:55

1 Answer 1


This is more an issue with the newer drill chucks than with drills or wood.

Many of the chucks have the 3 fingers that are too smooth and do not hold the bit as well as they should.

I opened my chuck as far as it will open and used a small machinist file to gently remove the shiny glaze from the gripping surface of the fingers. This helped with the bits spinning and slipping out of the chuck.

As far as you current problem, wiggle and pull with pliers will get the bit out, but the file on the chuck fingers is the cure.

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