How to Get Wood Out of a Hole Saw?

One of the most frustrating things about using a hole saw is the wood plug that inevitably gets lodged inside your saw. Prying this scrap piece of wood free can be a major headache, especially when you’ve got a lot of holes that need drilling.

Taking the time to pry this wood plug out of your hole saw can slow down whatever task you’re working on significantly, causing your progress to slow down to a snail’s pace.

There are numerous methods to get the wood plug out of a hole saw, with some of them being pretty creative and clever. I’ll take a look at a few of these methods, and see how well they actually work in everyday usage.

Removing Wood Plug from a Hole Saw – Guide

Method 1: Long Screwdriver

Most of us familiar with using a hole saw probably already know with this method, but it’s worth looking at anyways.

The basic idea is to use a long-shafted screwdriver to pry the plug free through the cutouts in the side of the hole saw. A long handle is helpful here as it lets you apply more force to the plug using the hole saw as a fulcrum.

You’ll need a hole saw with cutouts in its side for this method to work, luckily most newer hole saws feature these.

To do this effectively, simply insert the end of the screwdriver through the slot and apply downward pressure on the handle. You may need to reposition and pry from different angles in order to get it out completely.

The screwdriver method.

Overall, I’ve found this method works OK most of the time, but it’s not the best for seriously stuck wood plugs. Again, it won’t work if your hole saw doesn’t have cutouts in the sides, in that case, you’ll need to use a different method.

Method 2: Separate Arbor & Push Plug Through

The second method involves separating the hole saw from the arbor and then poking the wood plug out from below. This method is highly effective for most hole saws, but it can be annoying if separating your hole saw from your arbor is difficult or time-consuming.

using arbor to push wood plug through hole saw
Using the arbor to push the wood plug through the hole saw.

I’ve found this method works best on hole saws that are quick to separate from the arbor. Quick-release arbors like the DeWalt Quick Change Hole Saw Mandrel are particularly good for this.

If your arbor has a tendency to get stuck to the hole saw, then you’ll want to avoid this method. You don’t want to have to unstick your hole saw from the arbor each time you want to eject the wood plug.

Method 3: Fasten Screws to the Waste Area

This method is the most effective when you’ve got a seriously stubborn wood plug that’s challenging to remove. The basic idea is to drive one or two long screws into the wood plug on either side of the pilot bit. You want the screws to be a bit longer than the depth of your hole saw.

When the screws reach the bottom of the hole saw, they’ll start to push against the base causing the plug to lift out of the hole saw. You can then pull the plug free by hand or with a pair of pliers.

using pliers to pull wood plug from hole saw
Extracting the plug with a pair of pliers.

To perform this method, start by drilling two pilot holes on either side of the arbor’s pilot bit. The pilot holes will prevent the screws from further embedding the plug into the hole saw.

Next, use a driver to run screws into the pilot holes you just created. When the screws reach the bottom of the hole saw, they’ll push up against the metal base, causing the plug to pop out.

There are several variations of this method, one of which is to drive the screws into the wood before you make the cut with the hole saw. To do this you’ll want to scribe out the circle before you start cutting, and drive your screw(s) into the opposite side from where you plan to make the cut.

Denis Gardner

I've loved tinkering and fixing things for as long as I can remember. So, naturally, I gravitated towards DIY and home improvement when I bought my first home. Nowadays you can find me writing about my passions or messing around with my newest tool!

Leave a Comment