drilling holes in pilings - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 08-31-2019, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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drilling holes in pilings

I have a new dock and bought some 1-3/4 rope I'd like to thread from piling to piling so I need to drill 15 1-7/8" holes through 10" pilings, should I use an auger or forester bit? Irwin makes a spedbor bit that's looks interesting.
Thanks
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post #2 of 16 Old 08-31-2019, 11:13 AM
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I would go with an auger in a 1/2" heavy duty electric drill
with a slow RPM and high torque.
a cordless drill is not the one to use for this project.
I have made a LOT of wood signs using 6x6" P/T posts for the
National Park Service and their code calls for 3 or 4 holes drilled 8"
above the ground level for "break away" in case of impact with a vehicle.
fortunately, I was able to do this on the drill press under controlled conditions.
in the field like you are, it will be a little more difficult.
but, with a high torque drill, sharp auger bit and a sure footing,
you can buzz right through them.
(can you share some photos of your dock) ???

if you don't have one, or access to one, check your local
pawn shops or craigslist. or your tool rental place.
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post #3 of 16 Old 08-31-2019, 03:14 PM
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Auger bits are "slef feeding" ... a good thing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Koda1 View Post
I have a new dock and bought some 1-3/4 rope I'd like to thread from piling to piling so I need to drill 15 1-7/8" holes through 10" pilings, should I use an auger or forester bit? Irwin makes a spedbor bit that's looks interesting.
Thanks
The screw point on a auger bit will feed the bit into the wood, unlike any other type, spade for instance. Forstners are not self feeding either as far as I know.

As to the drill itself, when I have drilled a few hundred holes for 12" spikes in landscape timers, I used a variable speed 1/2" drill like this from Harbor Freight. See more options at the bottom of this link:
https://www.harborfreight.com/power-...ill-69452.html

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 08-31-2019 at 04:34 PM.
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post #4 of 16 Old 08-31-2019, 03:32 PM
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Ship Auger and a BIG Slow drill. And HOLD ON! I’ve done 3/4” holes in pilings and it was a bit of a workout.
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post #5 of 16 Old 09-01-2019, 07:51 AM
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.
a few options to drilling holes. (and still have that nautical look)
for some really good ideas: google ”Pier and Dock Rope Rails Images
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post #6 of 16 Old 09-01-2019, 09:21 AM
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What John said ^

I also recommend a different way to do this. A "clove hitch" is the perfect knot for this application:
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The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #7 of 16 Old 09-01-2019, 11:48 AM
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If you are set on drilling holes I would suggest a heavy duty right angle drill similar to what plumbers use for boring holes for running pipe. I think you could rent one from your local home improvement box store or perhaps a plumbing supply store. The right angle drill is easier to control.
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post #8 of 16 Old 09-01-2019, 12:45 PM
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Yes, for certain ......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerrys View Post
If you are set on drilling holes I would suggest a heavy duty right angle drill similar to what plumbers use for boring holes for running pipe. I think you could rent one from your local home improvement box store or perhaps a plumbing supply store. The right angle drill is easier to control.

When I was running 1 1/2" holes in floor joists for heavy wiring cable I used this one which I still have. Don't let the handle slap you in the face, however ......

https://www.toolpartsdirect.com/blac...imberwolf.html
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post #9 of 16 Old 09-01-2019, 03:18 PM
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Wooden - speaking of "slapping" . . . .
when I was about 14 years old, I had a big cow horn,
about 14-18" or so and I was going to drill a hole in the end
so I could blow it like a trumpet.
using my Dad's 1/2" high torque drill that is shown in my above post,
I was on the front porch with an extension cord, drilling and
for some reason, I locked the trigger so I could hold the drill
between my legs and use both hands to apply more force on the horn.
well, as you can guess, the bit grabbed, started twisting.
now I was all wrapped up in the cord with the cow horn flailing wildly
and beating the bejesus out of me !!!! after about two dozen whallops,
I was able to get away from it and unplug it.
a very scary situation for anyone. I had cuts, abrasions, contusions and
bruises from my eyebrows to my belly button.
by the Grace of God, I did not lose an eye or anything else.
so yes, some of those high torque, low RPM machines can really mess
you up when you least expect it.
I now have 3 of those drills and I am always conscious of what can go wrong
in the blink of an eye.

.

.
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post #10 of 16 Old 09-01-2019, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the replies!
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post #11 of 16 Old 09-01-2019, 06:51 PM
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We used one of those drills a long time ago. We called it a "Hole Hawg" at the time. We used 'em to punch through house studs for electrical wiring and other house infrastructure needs.

Back then, other than me, studs were made from wood. :-p

Everyone is right, they can be scary tools. They can break your wrist in a heartbeat. Be careful when you use one.
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post #12 of 16 Old 09-01-2019, 07:11 PM
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Mark, since you are pretty much leaning towards drilling the holes,
I strongly suggest you round up a piling left over from your dock project
or get a short piece from the company that put it in for you and position the
extra piling in the same position as what is on your dock and PRACTICE
several holes before you go and possibly ruin one of your pilings that
is in place and not repairable or replaceable (cheaply, anyway).
option #2 would be to hire the dock company to come drill the holes for you !!

.

.

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post #13 of 16 Old 09-02-2019, 01:10 PM
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I had a Milwaukee Hole Hawg catch my arm and lift me up off the ladder, pinning my arm between the sub floor and the drill. I let go of the trigger as it pulled from my left hand, but the coast and low speed was enough to lift me up and pinch my right arm between the drill body and the sub floor. Switching to reverse and a quick trigger push was all that was needed to get back on the ladder and safe, but it taught me a lot of respect for the power of that drill.

If using one of these to drill pilings, make plans in your drilling method to keep the drill from throwing both you and it into the water. They will coast about 3/4 revolution, and with amazing force.

Charley
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post #14 of 16 Old 09-03-2019, 10:38 AM
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+1 on the auger bit. It a job for a right angle high torque drill. I wouldn't even attempt this job even with a good 1/2" drill you may very well burn it up. See if you can rent a Hole Hawg or similar type drill.
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post #15 of 16 Old 09-08-2019, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Smith_inFL View Post
I would go with an auger in a 1/2" heavy duty electric drill
with a slow RPM and high torque.
a cordless drill is not the one to use for this project.
I have made a LOT of wood signs using 6x6" P/T posts for the
National Park Service and their code calls for 3 or 4 holes drilled 8"
above the ground level for "break away" in case of impact with a vehicle.
fortunately, I was able to do this on the drill press under controlled conditions.
in the field like you are, it will be a little more difficult.
but, with a high torque drill, sharp auger bit and a sure footing,
you can buzz right through them.
(can you share some photos of your dock) ???

if you don't have one, or access to one, check your local
pawn shops or craigslist. or your tool rental place.
That short handle can be replaced with a longer length of pipe for a bit more leverage when using large bits.

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post #16 of 16 Old 09-08-2019, 01:24 PM
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Ships augers are great for thick wood, be careful when drilling thinner stock like plywood or drywall as the auger will catch on the edge and pull them through very quickly, sometimes coming out on the other side of the wall. DAMHIK

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