I found that if I pushed the drill into the wood too hard I got more splinters. Lightly pushing caused less splinters. Might also be a full bit??? However Rockler sells a shelf pin sleeve to hide a less than perfect hole while giving a polished and professional look to your piece. Good luck and hope it turns out how you had envisioned
You really don't need but one of these since it comes with an alignment pin so you move it precisely to the next set of holes. This allows you to drill only 5 holes at a time, but it goes pretty quickly.
Hole depth is adjustable, and yes will work on 1/2" plywood
1/4in refers to the peg size. One kit is for 5mm and the other kit is 1/4in pegs. It includes the neccessary drill bit.