Clamped plywood guide Hole lined up

I have a steel door in which I'd like to replace the deadbolt lock with a newer keypad type lock. The door is a bit older and the hole is 1 1/2 inches. The keypad deadbolt requires a 2 1/8 inch hole.

I've created a guide out of plywood as described in this thread and I have it lined up as best as I can. My question is, do I go all the way through to the other side of the door in one shot? Or do I do one side, then move my guide and try to line it up on the other side door?


It's a metal door, so I wouldn't be concerned about it spalling out the other side; so yes, go through in one shot (same as a wood door: don't push too hard while finishing the cut coming out the other side).

If it does spall a little, peen it back flush with a hammer. It's better than the chance of miss-aligning it (then what?).

  • @Greg - If I hadn't been such a wuss and thought about it for so long, I'd have posted this answer that I wrote an hour ago, suggesting what you ended up doing.
    – Mazura
    Sep 8 '15 at 21:29

For this scenario, since it's a hollow core door, I'd get your plywood templates aligned on the outside, and drill in from each side of the door.

If you had a solid core door, I'd worry about not being aligned from each side and suggest holding the drill perfectly level and going all the way through from one side only.

  • 1
    Fwiw, there are professional guides which will guarantee alignment of everything
    – keshlam
    Sep 8 '15 at 20:06
  • 2
    Thanks BMitch and keshlam. I ended up going through from one side only, only because the baseplate on the new lock is larger and would cover up any flaying. I filed a little bit down, but it wasn't too bad. I used the level on my drill to make sure I was keeping things level. So the plywood technique worked like a charm. Very happy.
    – Greg
    Sep 8 '15 at 20:58

Also if this hasn't been pointed out: You'll be using a hole saw bit so you need to have the pilot bit drilled into a solid piece of wood before the hole saw bit can begin cutting. Clamp a solid piece of plywood to the opposite side from which you will begin drilling so as to keep the hole saw from wobbling.


If you are trying to embiggen a hole with the same center point you can do the holesaw in a holesaw trick. Not all arbour have long enough threads to facilitate the method but it works great. I've been doing it for over a decade now. I actually keep a separate arbour just for this purpose.

This fella on YouTube shows exactly how it works. What you have setup is fine but in the future you can save yourself a lot of time using this method. You don't need to worry about the jig moving either.

To answer your questions, you will want to drill from both sides. Even on a solid door you would drill until the pilot bit pokes out and then finish off on the other side.

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