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Old 07-07-2008, 06:55 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 399
How to drill/hammer into stone?

My house is made of stone on the first level and the exterior walls of the basement. How can I go about drilling or hammering into the wall? In some places it seems that I'd be able to go into the mortar between the stones, but I often don't have the luxury of picking my mounting location, like when I'm mounting brackets with fixed hole patterns. My masonry bit and regular rotary drill don't seem to be up to the task.
Old 07-07-2008, 07:06 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Overworked
Posts: 6,125
You might want to look into diamond core drill bits. I presume this is hard (granite-type) stone you're trying to drill into? If so, you'll need diamond bits designed for hard stone. They're used as normal coring bits (no hammer) but they're made for drilling through very hard materials like stone and glass. They ain't cheap though, so be prepared to shell out a bit depending on the size and number you're going to need.

Last edited by Mindfield; 07-07-2008 at 07:07 AM.
Old 07-07-2008, 07:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: London
Posts: 2,344
You're going to need a hammer drill at the very least, and preferably an SDS drill, to get through stone in a reasonable time. A rotary drill is great for wood or steel, but is hard work when you're dealing with concrete, and impossible with stone, in my experience. A hammer drill makes things much, much easier. You could look at renting one, but they're not eye-wateringly expensive anyway, and if you're going to be doing a lot of drilling into stone it might make sense to buy one.
Old 07-07-2008, 08:29 AM
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 3,385
How to drill/hammer into stone?

Use a hammer drill of course! I see Dervorin already beat me to it, but I found it amusing that you had the answer in your subject line.

Proper technique will make things much easier. You only want to drill about 2" in depth at a time. After you drill in 2", pull the bit all the way out of the hole. This will clear all the stone dust that accumulates. Then put the bit back in and drill another 2". Repeat until the required depth is reached.
Old 07-07-2008, 09:28 AM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Wisconsin, Untied States
Posts: 7,280
Originally Posted by brewha
How to drill/hammer into stone?

Use a hammer drill of course! I see Dervorin already beat me to it, but I found it amusing that you had the answer in your subject line.
Not so fast with the hammer drill.

You can easily chip out too much mortar or corners of stones/brick if you're not being very, very careful. You may want to use a diamond tipped bit in a regular drill first and see how that goes. If you're making holes in the center of sturdy bricks or stones then you may go nuts with the hammer drill and an SDS bit, but don't automatically assume that it's the best rig for this type of work. Soft lannon or sand-stone can get slaughtered by careless use of a hammer drill.

A technique I use in soft stone is to use a hammer drill but turn off the hammer feature and get the bit started. You should use water to keep the bit cool. As you get deeper into the stone you can turn the "hammer" feature on and go lightly and slowly until you're a good ways into the stone/mortar.
Use plastic anchors if you can (depending on loads etc.). They can be pulled back out and the holes patched if you remove whatever you mounted.
Old 07-07-2008, 09:53 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 10,359
They do have those gunpowder loaded "hammers" for driving into concrete. They have a chamber where the special nail goes, then a charge which loads above them. Then either a trigger on the fancy models, or a striker you hit with a hammer.

They are fun to use, and make lots of good noise, but have a bad habbit of cracking or chipping stone.
Old 07-07-2008, 02:50 PM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 258
Another trick is to use successively larger drill bits. Start small (it's easier) then increase the size of the bit in steps.
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