Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner

Efficient ways to make holes in wood?

1048 Views 10 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  ortedd
Say you're out in BFE and working on a wooden crib wall for a switchback. Its too far in to tote lumber or timbers that are pre-prepared so local (is in, what's closest to the project site) hardwood is harvested and utilized. After things are laid out and trimmed up its time to drill some holes for rebar pins. What ways are the most efficient to drill the holes?

Gas powered drills are super cool, but cost as much as new bike. Cordless drills are handy and ubiquitous, but limited battery life is a hassle to deal with in the backcountry. Ye olde Amish hand drill is quaint and doesn't need fuel or batteries, buts its slow and tedious. Dragging in a generator is a PITA, but the Milwaukee Holeshooter that gets plugged into it makes quick work of the task at hand.

What do you do? Skip the drill and spend (a lot) more time and effort with the saw to create deadman joints that don't need a pin?

Have you found certain types of drill bits to be more efficient for any given method. Example: More holes per cordless battery (or gallon of gas, or arm power) for a paddle bit versus an auger style bit versus a traditional twist style drill bit.
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
One vote for auger. I make tons of wooden joints (with wooden pins). I use a brace and bit and the auger bit is the fastest by far for narrow holes. I would assume it would be fastest no matter what method you use to turn it.

That's a Forstener bit in the picture because the holes needed a flat finished bottom as they don't go all the way through the stringer. The hatchet and knife is how I make the dowel for the pins.
See less See more
thumpduster said:
Gas powered drills are super cool, but cost as much as new bike.
Why not rent it for a day? Might be your best bet.

We use cordless drill and impact with bunch of spare batteries to build the frames of our bridges (think, 6" lag bolt) and never had troubles with that setup. Just make sure you use high quality drill or you'll fry the machine in no time! I like Bosch.
ortedd said:
Pistol or other firearm? JK
certainly efficient....and he did say he was out in BFE.:eekster:
Cordless drill with lithium batteries...I dont know how many structures you are planning on building in one day, but a drill with a couple of spare batteries should last a good while...
Sometimes you can drive the rebar pins like big nails, with a sledge hammer, if the wood is green or not too hard. A bit of a taper ground on the end of the rebar helps get it started straight.
one more option

Timberlock screws (avail up to 10") can be driven with an impact driver no pre-drilling, soap or bar oil helps drive them home faster.

For a lighter weight, less battery oriented solution you could drive them with a ratchet handle as well.

I would tend to build a crib wall using more the angle of the wall and the shape of the logs to hold the dirt back, rather than relying entirely putting the fasteners in shear.

Might be a little harder to drive in hard wood though and they are kind of expensive, but light to pack out to east bumble f'.
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.