How to Use a Hand Reamer

Updated February 21, 2017

A reamer is a tool that is used to finish holes that will hold bolts, pins and other smooth attachment devices. The end of a reamer looks very similar to a drill bit and has grooved edges. Reamers create a perfectly smooth interior to the hole and are used after creating a hole with a drill bit. Reamers are available in both machine varieties and hand-held varieties and come in a variety of sizes to fit different hole diameters.

Place the item into a vice or clamp to secure it and prevent it from moving. Position the vice so that the hole you are reaming is perpendicular to where you will hold the hand reamer.

Insert the centre hole of a tap wrench onto the square top of the reamer by pushing down until it is firmly in place. Twist the end of the tap wrench clockwise to tighten it on the hand reamer.

Place the tip of the reamer into the hole in the object, but do not press down. Place one hand on either side of the handle and turn it clockwise two to three times until you feel the blades of the reamer start to grip the object.

Continue twisting the reamer handle clockwise and apply firm downward pressure to bore into the hole. Continue this process until the reamer reaches the bottom of the hole.

Remove the reamer by turning it clockwise once more and simultaneously pulling the reamer straight up and out. Removal will be fairly easy since the inside of the hole will be smooth.


Never turn a hand reamer counterclockwise, as this will dull the blades on the reamer. When you are using a hand reamer on steel, apply 1/2 tsp of cutting oil to the reamer before using it.

Things You'll Need

  • Vice
  • Tap wrench
  • Cutting oil
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About the Author

Kimberly Johnson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in various online publications including eHow, Suite101 and Examiner. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and began writing professionally in 2001.