Drilling holes in rock

juniorballoon(Z8a WA)February 15, 2005

If you've priced having someone do this for you, you know why I'm asking. Have any of you done this yourself? Hints techniques and clues appreciated?

I want to drill through some rock that will be part of a water feature. The holes will alllow the water to come out of the rocks.



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What kind of rock is it?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 10:17PM
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BobbyFC(z5 KY)

I've done it, rent a hammer drill from Home Depot or equivalent. I think I used a 5/8 bit. They will make you pay for excessive wear but that was not a problem. At the last of the hole it will break out,forming a basin, so you have 2 choices, drill from both sides and hope they hit, and that the drill doesn't wrap you up with it, or be concious of which side you want a neat hole in. Actually the break out is a nice effect, so I guess a few practice holes are in order. I only drilled Limestone and Sandstone,they are to the soft side, but I will need to drill a piece of granite soon.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2005 at 11:03PM
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You need a rotary hammer drill and diamond bits to make a clean job. It is the same set up as drilling a hole through a concrete foundation apron so a good rental shop should have it, you can supply the elbow grease yourself. Goggles, ear muffs and regular breaks essential.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 9:19PM
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juniorballoon(Z8a WA)

That's great. I was hoping that you didn't need special equipment that wouldn't be available to rent or prohibitively expensive to do so.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 1:53PM
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matteow(z8 WA)

Also use water while drilling, it cools the bit and keeps the dust down.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2005 at 4:14PM
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girlndocs(8 WA)

Is this project a bad idea for someone like me who has limited experience with heavy power tools? My repertoire is pretty much limited to a regular power drill, hedge trimmers, small electric chainsaw, that kind of thing.

How long does it take? This rock I have in mind is basalt (what they call "columnar basalt" or "columbia column" at the rockery) and roughly cube shaped, about 14" on a side.



    Bookmark   May 13, 2008 at 6:14PM
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stoneguy(Zn 7 MD)

Drilling through Basalt with a rented drill & bit from Home Depot may end up being an exercise in futility.
A top brand hammer drill & bit set may get through the Basalt eventually, but what you really need is a diamond core drill. This type of drill sends water down the center of a tube that has a ring of industrial diamond at the end. It will drill a very clean hole through the hardest of stones with minimal effort.

I'd suggest calling around to a few stone yards or stone fabrication shops in your area & see if they could do this for you.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2008 at 8:00AM
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practice on some old contrete first or stack up some cheap patio slabs to get used to the tool but when ready use lots and lots of water you will never have too much. have a friend with you to constantly hose the hole (a clever friend and if not a clever friend remind them about electrics and water not being good together)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 6:06PM
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girlndocs(8 WA)

a clever friend and if not a clever friend remind them about electrics and water not being good together


Stoneguy, I did call around -- the nearest place that does it is 2 hours away, and they want $100 just to set up and another $100 per linear foot of hole I want drilled. Bah!


    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 4:36PM
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