drilling 4x4's???

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Forum topic by GaryBuck posted 03-13-2010 02:17 AM 6658 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View GaryBuck's profile


268 posts in 2642 days

03-13-2010 02:17 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’ve got some old used cca treated 4×4’s and I’m trying to drill holes in them for a project I’m doing. The trouble is these are as hard as rocks and I can’t seem to hardly put a hole in them before the bit is dull. I’ve even used some good expensive bits and they seem to go farther but I still can’t get a hole drilled through them. Any ideas or sugestions would be greatly appreciated. I’ve used my 1 inch hammer drill and my bench top drill press and its like cutting concrete with a butter knife. It isn’t worth the project if I have to resharpen or buy new bits every inch of drilling as I need to do about 60 holes just for the one project. Any ideas??? I know you L.J. members will have some clue to help me out. Thanks

Gary Buck

7 replies so far

View bobkberg's profile


420 posts in 2489 days

#1 posted 03-19-2010 09:45 PM

How big do the holes have to be?

Since you didn’t describe what the end product of all this is, I can only guess at possible solutions.

You might consider using a hole saw if it’s larger than 5/8” or so, to keep the actual wood cutting to a minimum – make sure you’ve got a dust collector running if you do though.

Or – even so, drill a series of small holes just inside the radius with “sacrificial” bits to keep it on the cheaper side

Have you tried carbide tipped masonry bits?

Or – to avoid throwing good money after bad – change the fastening approach to something like masonry screws that are self tapping.

Or – Just go buy some wood that doesn’t cause you all this grief.

-- Bob - A sideline, not how I earn a living

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5839 posts in 3001 days

#2 posted 03-19-2010 10:14 PM

Try some tungsten drills they work good and last a while.Are the drills you are using old and need sharpening?Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View bobkberg's profile


420 posts in 2489 days

#3 posted 03-19-2010 10:28 PM

Ok – This idea is WAAAAY out there, but I thought I’d suggest it anyway.

Try using a pressure washer on highest force – straight narrow stream of water to make the initial hole. Then use drill bits to clean it up.

I have NO IDEA if it will work or not, but I have seen pressure washers go through wood.

I actually got the idea from an old Paul Bunyan story.

-- Bob - A sideline, not how I earn a living

View araldite's profile


188 posts in 2820 days

#4 posted 03-19-2010 10:37 PM

Make sure your not dulling the bits by excessive heat build up due to too high a drill speed or not keeping the flutes cleared.

-- Failure is the road to success if you learn to learn from your mistakes - Vince, Greenville, SC

View RedShirt013's profile


219 posts in 3078 days

#5 posted 03-19-2010 10:43 PM

What kind of drill bit are you using? If the bit has poor chip extraction sawdust will just jam in the flutes, the bit won’t cut, and the high heat generated will dull the bits quick. If you haven’t yet try an auger bit and see if that helps.

-- Ed

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 2457 days

#6 posted 03-19-2010 10:46 PM

Auger Bit & Hand Drill IMHO

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View Deltawood's profile


40 posts in 2613 days

#7 posted 03-20-2010 12:00 AM

I agree with DaddyZ, an auger bit is designed for this purpose, they’re very aggressive. If you do use a electric drill, have a good grip and hold on.

-- - If it ain't broke, don't lend it!

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