Hey guys. I have a project I am starting on next week. The customer wants to remove wroght iron ballusters and replace them with white poplar ballusters. I think I have everything worked out except...the holes in the treads that accept the balusters might be a smaller diameter than I need for the wood. They also might have epoxy in them. My question is this: if I need to re drill to a bigger size, or re drill to remove epoxy, is there a type of bit I can use? Thanks in advace.
If the wrought iron ballusters are epoxied in place, they may be difficult to remove. Have you removed a section? Are the treads finished hardwood? This seems to be the biggest problem to me. I would be concerned about removal without damage.
Once out, if there is epoxy left in the hole, the holes will likely be irregular and the bit will try to grab and tear. I would fill the holes level with 5 min epoxy. If the holes are deep, you may want to put some kind of backing at the bottom of the holes, something like bits of foam, cotton... as long as they seal the bottom of the hole and don't react with the epoxy. Center punch when the epoxy is almost set, or after fully hardened. Once the epoxy is set you should have no trouble drilling out the holes with a sharp standard twist bit. Drill the holes in steps with each step being larger. I suppose you could use a bradpoint also, and drill right to the finished size. My only concern here would be the spur catching on a bit of epoxy, or on an uneven surface around the hole on the tread. A forstner will dill the cleanest hole, and while it does have a center point, it is small and is guided largely by the outer rim requireing a flat consistant surface. I would be concerned that the brad, or forstener could grab. I don't think the forstener would cut that well in epoxy either.
I would strongly suggest that you work out your procedure on a similar piece of scrap wood first using you hand drill, not a drill press. Let us know, and post pictures if you can. Good luck.