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What is a Bushcraft drill / snake drill

Learn what a bushcraft drill and mortise joints are. With a snake drill for bushcraft, you can create stable connections for your camp and shelter.

from Martin Gebhardt | Bushcraft | no comment yet | reading time 4 Min
Updated on 13 June 2024 40.431 views 100% found this guide helpful
What is a Bushcraft drill / snake drill

Martin Gebhardt

From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.


👉 The key facts from this guide

  • A bushcraft drill, also known as a snake drill, is a tool that you need to create stable connections, called joinery, in the wilderness.
  • The snake drill is a wood drill that drills into the wood like a snake, creating perfect holes for joinery.
  • Joinery is essential for stable connections between two pieces of wood, for example when building a bushcraft shelter or a wooden table.
  • Creating a connection with a snake drill is done through a pin connection, where you connect two adjacent pieces of wood with a carved pin.

You need a bushcraft drill if you want to make strong connections.

These connections are also called joints, and you require them for your shelter. Maybe you even build a small hut, then they are even more important.

The Bushcraft drills are also called "snake drills". Today, you will learn what a snake drill is and how to use it to create joints.

What is a snake drill bit?

A snake drill is a wood drill that bores into the wood like a snake. The drills are usually quite long and built like an Archimedes' screw. This allows the chips, i.e., the removed wood shavings, to be transported upwards more effectively.

A snake drill bores into the wood like a snake
A snake drill bores into the wood like a snake

The great thing about these Bushcraft drills is that you don't need electricity to use them. You can drill perfect holes in the wilderness that you require for joinery.

The joints are essential for solid connections between two pieces of wood. This allows you, for example, to build a really sturdy Bushcraft Shelter or a Bushcraft wooden table with solid legs!

Close-up of a snake drill
Close-up of a snake drill

Application of a snake drill

How do you now create a proper connection/link with a bushcraft snake drill?

This is what you do with a dovetail joint. A dovetail joint is a wood joint that originated in carpentry and joinery.

With a dowel, you connect two colliding pieces of wood with each other.

You may already know these cone connections, or at least have seen them. They are often made in the shape of a T or a corner connection (L-shape).

For example, for chairs and tables. However, mainly dowels are used for this.

The Round Pin

Today I want to discuss the conical pegs, which you can wonderfully create with a snake drill.

As the name suggests, in this technique the peg is round. It must also be round, as we are drilling a round hole with the auger bit.

This round peg is also called a wooden nail and dowel.

With the Bushcraft drill, you can drill holes by hand
With the Bushcraft drill, you can drill holes by hand
A carved cone that is inserted into the hole of the drill
A carved cone that is inserted into the hole of the drill

Manufacturing a Round Tenon Joint

With a mortise and tenon joint, you connect two pieces of wood. In Bushcraft, usually two small tree trunks.

  1. Drill a hole in every trunk with your auger bit.
  2. Carve a peg that fits almost perfectly into the drilled holes.
  3. Place both trunks on top of each other so that you can insert the peg through the drilled holes.
  4. Hammer the peg in with a type of hammer so that it sits firmly.
  5. Remove excess wood from the peg.
A simple tenon joint, drilled with the auger bit
A simple tenon joint, drilled with the auger bit

Tips for using a snake drill

Here are a few tips for application.

  • Do not make the cone completely round. Leave it slightly angular, then it will wedge in tightly.
  • You will also notice that you need quite a bit of strength to drill holes manually. If the effort is too great, then extend the turning lever.
  • Your drill will appreciate regular lubrication. This keeps it rust-free and makes it easier to turn into the wood.

Buy Auger Bits

There are two ways to get a snake drill for your bushcraft.

You can easily buy one on Amazon that is ready to use immediately. These are hand drills with different diameters:

KOSIBATE Bushcraft Gear, Hand Auger Wrench for Easy Wood Drilling - Settlers Wrench and Bushcraft Tools Perfect for Camping and Woodworking Tasks-Scotch Eye Wood Drill with Leather Case Brown

Data updated 6 hours ago

KOSIBATE Bushcraft Gear, Hand Auger Wrench for Easy Wood Drilling - Settlers Wrench and Bushcraft Tools Perfect for Camping and Woodworking Tasks-Scotch Eye Wood Drill with Leather Case Brown

  • High-Quality ConstructionOur Bushcraft Auger is made from sturdy thick high carbon steel and electrophoresis and stays sharp, ensuring durability and strength for all your drilling and borehole needs.
  • Leather SheathMade of durable thick genuine leather and good stitching, strong snaps are easy on and off. Leather sheath adds protection for the blade and your body. Easy carry under your belt or on a ring on pack when you hiking.
  • Settler's WrenchAlso known as a Scotch Eye Wood Auger or Hand Auger Wood Drill, our Bushcraft Hand Auger Wrench helps you dig precise and clean holes whether on campsite or in the wilderness.
  • Ergonomic DesignOur Bushcraft Hand Auger Wrench is designed with an ergonomic handle for a comfortable grip while you work.
  • Multipurpose UseOur hand auger wrench can also be used for planting, gardening, carpentry, and other outdoor activities, making it a versatile addition to your bushcraft gear.Kosibate offers life time warranty on our scotch eye wood drill peg and leather sheath , guarantee with 100% satisfaction service.

$30.99

View Product

I can also recommend this one:

Olaismln Settlers Tool Survival Hand Auger Wood Drill, Scotch Eye Auger Drill and Bushcraft Settlers Auger Tool for Camping, Outdoor, with Protective Box & Hook

Data updated 6 hours ago

Olaismln Settlers Tool Survival Hand Auger Wood Drill, Scotch Eye Auger Drill and Bushcraft Settlers Auger Tool for Camping, Outdoor, with Protective Box & Hook

  • Built ToughOur bushcraft auger drill, forged from heavy-duty steel and coated for resilience, ensures unwavering durability. Each razor-sharp spiral, a testament to advanced welding, stands ready for any wilderness challenge.
  • Jungle Survival EssentialThis survival auger tool, a fusion of drill bit and scotch eye design, offers unmatched versatility. With a self-tapping lead screw, it's your go-to for camping, crafting, or navigating the wild jungle.
  • Effortless OperationNo complicated instructions here – simply insert a wooden stick through the Scotch Eye Wood Auger and start drilling! Effortlessly create precise 1-inch diameter holes, and when you encounter stubborn branches, the scotch eye auger is there to lend a hand.
  • Adventure-Ready PortabilityWhether you're scaling mountains or navigating dense forests, our bushcraft auger is designed to accompany you on every adventure. The protective sleeve keeps it safe during transport, and the settlers wrench comes with a convenient belt loop and hook, so it's ready to go wherever you go.
  • Legendary Customer SupportYour satisfaction is our top priority, and we're dedicated to ensuring you're completely thrilled with your purchase. Don't hesitate – seize the opportunity to grab your manual auger drill today and embark on a journey of unparalleled adventure. It's not just a tool; it's a gateway to exploration for the outdoor enthusiasts in your life.

$13.99

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Or you can put together your set. This is usually cheaper if you require multiple drills.

First, you will need regular snake drills in various sizes:

Mazmer Wood Drill Bit Set - Auger and Spade Drill Bits for Wood, Long Inch Bits, Bore Brace Hand Drill - Perfect for Woodworking and DIY Projects (Auger Drills)

Data updated 6 hours ago

Mazmer Wood Drill Bit Set - Auger and Spade Drill Bits for Wood, Long Inch Bits, Bore Brace Hand Drill - Perfect for Woodworking and DIY Projects (Auger Drills)

  • COMPREHENSIVE: 6-piece wood drill bit set with a versatile range of sizes from 1/4 inch to 1-1/2 inch, including a 1-inch auger bit, long inch bits, and bore brace hand drill.
  • HIGH QUALITY: construction with durable materials for long-lasting performance, ensuring precision and reliability in woodworking and DIY projects.
  • PERFECT DRILL SET: Perfect for drilling holes in wood, plastic, and aluminum, making it ideal for various applications such as furniture making, cabinetry, carpentry, and more.
  • SMOOTH DESIGN: Self-feeding design for efficient drilling, minimizing chip-out and providing smooth and fast results, saving you time and effort.
  • MULTIPLE USES: Suitable for use with corded or cordless drills, hand braces, and drill presses, providing versatility and flexibility in your drilling tasks.

$39.97

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However, since you cannot use these drills as hand drills yet, you require an adapter that is attached to the auger bits.

And then you attach an adjustable brace to this adapter. This allows you to use any auger as a hand drill.

BGS 1900-2 Tap Wrench M6-M20

Data updated 6 hours ago

BGS 1900-2 Tap Wrench M6-M20

  • Tap wrench, M6 - M20
  • Professional quality tools.
  • Original BGS quality.

$28.38

View Product

Summary

Do you require more stable connections in bushcraft than those with ropes?

Then a snake drill is just the thing for your craftsmanship!

Drill holes, carve pegs, and make connections. Done.

With a bushcraft drill, you can create rock-solid connections between your woods.


How do you like the auger bit? Or do you even have one?

Write your thoughts in the comments!

Take care, Martin
Sources for the guide

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlangenbohrer

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zapfenverbindung

Martin Gebhardt

Author of the guide


Martin Gebhardt

Hey, I'm Martin. On my blog, you will learn the basics and numerous details about living in the wild. I think survival, bushcraft and the good life in nature are the keys to happiness. Find me here on Instagram or on YouTube. You can find more about my mission on the About Me page.

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Free 35 Survival Hacks you'll love!

You will get 35 easy-to-implement survival hacks so that you don't have to stand aimlessly in the forest from tomorrow when things get tough. Take your skills to the next level!

DOWNLOAD HERE FOR FREE