Boring 3 1/2 inch holes in thick log slabs

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Forum topic by TZH posted 10-21-2009 08:19 PM 9343 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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532 posts in 2681 days

10-21-2009 08:19 PM

I just joined Lumberjocks and am looking forward to the network. Question: I’m trying to bore 3 1/2 inch diameter holes in 6 to 10 inch thick log slabs to hold wine bottles, and was wondering if any of you out there have any ideas on the best way to go about doing that? I’ve tried using a hole saw with mixed results (plus, this process is slow, labor intensive, and a little on the high pucker-factor side), and am considering using a self-feed drill bit of that diameter. I haven’t seen forstner bits big enough to fill the need, but have been able to find large enough self-feed bits. Other ideas are welcome.

-- Where The Spirit In Wood Lives On

18 replies so far

View Gary's profile


8978 posts in 2973 days

#1 posted 10-21-2009 08:28 PM

Welcome to the site. You’ll like it. I never tried what you are trying so no help from me but, someone will come to the rescue

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View TZH's profile


532 posts in 2681 days

#2 posted 10-21-2009 08:39 PM

Thanks. I hope so. I’ve surfed the Internet far and wide trying to find an example of what I’m trying to create and haven’t been able to find anything out there. Most wine bottles are a little over three inches in diameter, and I’m trying to make slabs (crosscut with a chainsaw from the ends of the log) with holes bored in the slabs to accommodate the bottles. I will cut off a portion of the slab so it will “stand on end”, and the wine bottles can then be inserted into the holes. Depending on the size of the slab, these “wine racks” can be used on a countertop or as a stand-alone rack in a home, cabin, or mountain retreat.

-- Where The Spirit In Wood Lives On

View SKFrog16's profile


661 posts in 2741 days

#3 posted 10-21-2009 09:12 PM

I think the easiest way woud be to use a 3/8” diameter drill bit and drill a series of holes to the inside diameter, leaving a1/16 to the line, then take a plunge router with a staight bit and carefully and gradually remove your interior to the desired depth and then use a chisel to finish the perimeter.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16252 posts in 3759 days

#4 posted 10-21-2009 09:33 PM

Have you thought about this type of bit?

Oops…looks like it only cuts up to 3 inches.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View SKFrog16's profile


661 posts in 2741 days

#5 posted 10-21-2009 09:34 PM

Another alternative wood be to make a hardboard template slightly larger than the hole and use a straight bit with a bearing above the cutters and make your holes that way. You could put guides on either side to correspond with the width of the thick stock. I’m assuming that we are not talking about drilling a really deep hole?

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View Timberwerks's profile


355 posts in 2701 days

#6 posted 10-21-2009 09:39 PM

My worry would be the movement of the slab. I doubt these holes will remain round and removing and inserting the bottle will be a problem even with the 1/2” of clearance you may have.


View gagewestern's profile


307 posts in 2891 days

#7 posted 10-21-2009 09:52 PM

i have a bit like charlie1958 said to use they work very well but a forstner would be better, they use them to dril wholes for plumbing that size

-- gagewestern

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17819 posts in 3216 days

#8 posted 10-21-2009 11:52 PM

Take a planetary bit or forsner bit on a Milwakue Hole Hog to drill the basic hole. Clean up with a straight cut router or sand as necessary or sand.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View a1Jim's profile


115497 posts in 3117 days

#9 posted 10-21-2009 11:52 PM

Welcome to Ljs
Here’s what I have used before. I think there are less expensive ones around.

-- Custom furniture

View bluchz's profile


187 posts in 2914 days

#10 posted 10-22-2009 12:04 AM

Now that sounds like a really neat idea that i haven’t seen before. I am looking forward to the finished project pics.

-- flash=250,100][/flash]

View TZH's profile


532 posts in 2681 days

#11 posted 10-22-2009 12:10 AM

Thanks to all of you. I like the suggestion from a1Jim and visited the website for the self feed wood boring bits. You’re right, Jim. I was able to find a bit that’s a little less expensive and will purchase it soon if none of my fellow woodworkers around here have one I can borrow (at least to get one of the wine racks done so you all can see a finished product). Again, thanks to all of you for your ideas and suggestions.

-- Where The Spirit In Wood Lives On

View a1Jim's profile


115497 posts in 3117 days

#12 posted 10-22-2009 06:02 PM

Hey Ted glad it worker out.
Your welcome notottman

-- Custom furniture

View Occie gilliam's profile

Occie gilliam

505 posts in 2836 days

#13 posted 11-10-2009 06:20 AM

Ted, for a cleaner hole. you could start out with a hole saw and switch to the bit that Jim suggested.

And welcome to Lj’s

-- OC down in Costa Rica. come down and see me some time. I'll keep the light on for you

View a1Jim's profile


115497 posts in 3117 days

#14 posted 11-10-2009 06:24 AM

That’s a good Idea Occie

-- Custom furniture

View GFYS's profile


711 posts in 3011 days

#15 posted 11-10-2009 06:27 AM

Are these holes angled into the wood or straight in? Look for the self feed hole augers with replacable lead bits…a less agressive lead bit can help make the self feed a little slower and it tends to make a little smoother hole side. If you are angeling the holes much you’ll need to fab a guide to get it started.

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