Here is a quick video tip showing a simple technique for drilling pilot holes in wood trim. First, I’d like to dedicated this video tip to my brother-in-law, Robert C. Collins. He taught me this one several years back, and it’s come in handy time, and time again.
When you are nailing a thin piece of trim (cove molding or crown moulding for example), or nailing toward the end of the trim board (such as window or door casing), you definitely want to drill a pilot hole first. This will help prevent the wood from splitting. Typically, you will be working with 4p or 6p finish nails. The question is, what size bit should I use to drill the proper size pilot hole?
And the answer is… you don’t need one. The solution is to take an existing finish nail and cut, or file off its head to create the bit. You will now have a perfectly sized bit for your pilot hole and it can be used many times over. Remove the nail’s head with bolt cutters or a good pair of tin snips. If you have a bench grinder, just grind off the top. Once your pilot hole is drilled, you can nail in the corresponding size finish nail, and its head will act as the fastener, with no splits in the wood.