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Old 07-31-2012, 01:45 PM   #1
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Enlarging hole in deck post


I made a mistake and drilled 2 1/8" holes in seven 6"X6" posts around my new deck before I ordered the 2" manila rope that I planned to put through the holes as a decorative touch. I now find that the 2" rope is really more like 2 1/4" and is not going to fit through the holes. Do you know of some innovative way that I can enlarge the holes so the rope will go through? The only thing that I can think of is screwing a temporary plywood block on the post, over the hole, that might enable a hole saw to enlarge the holes. I originally used a self feeding bit since hole saws would not go all the way through the 6x6. It was not fun drilling those original holes. Would appreciate any creative ideas on my problem. Thanks, Jack
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:55 PM   #2
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Enlarging hole in deck post


A block clamped in place and use a paddle bit.
Once it gets inside the post it will work fine. Go slow or drill 3/4 of the way through, then move the block to the other side or it will blow out the wood when it goes out the other side.

You do know manila rope will rot, mold up and will not meet any building codes for a deck railing, right?
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Old 07-31-2012, 02:24 PM   #3
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Enlarging hole in deck post


Give this a try.
You will need the following or similar:Replace the 1/4 bit with the threaded rod. Use the screws and washers to put the wooden plugs on the threaded rod. Stick rod in hole and carefully drill. Only drill half way through and repeat on the otherside.

There are similar hole saws with 3/8 inch shafts if you don't have a heavy duty drill.

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Old 07-31-2012, 03:08 PM   #4
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Enlarging hole in deck post


First to address the manila rope. It is not acting as a railing as I had a 2X6 top cap placed at the top of the 6X6 posts which is the actual railing. The rope is looped under this wood rail. Second, since my new deck is less than 36" high county code does not require a railing. I just wanted one for appearances and a place for guests to lean on and set glasses. I was also aware of the mold problem with manila and, with my wifes assistance ran the 40' of rope through an oil deck sealant bath. [it took one gallon for that length]. A trick I have also used in the past is to spray a 50-50 solution of antifreeze on manila rope to prevent mold. With what 2" manila costs I want it to last. As far as using a paddle bit, when I originally was checking out bits to drill these large 2 1/8" holes I could not find a paddle bit that large. I used my high torque 1/2" electric drill when using the self feed ing bit i purchased for the job and several times almost tore my arm off. I am not sure what type of drill is reccomended for those self feeding bits but it was definitely not fun in my old non speed controlled drill.
goosebarry, that sounds like a plan and I think, unless something better comes along, I will give it a try. Thanks again.
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Old 07-31-2012, 04:23 PM   #5
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Enlarging hole in deck post


I think a paddle bit will fly around like crazy if you could find one that large and with a long mandrel. I think a hole saw could work if you plan on giving it more than just 1/8 or a 1/4 to shave off.

My suggestion. Guy's name was Forstner and he was a gunsmith who needed a way to cut perfect holes into which he could fit plugs. Bits he invented are magical and should work great for your challenge. See the pic. You don't need the center cutter but the outside blades will bite right into your posts, I promise. The catch is one the diameter you need and with a long enough shaft or shaft extender is going to cost you! Actually I looked for you and $50 may do the trick since you don't need something but for this one use.

Sharp ones are a delight to work. You will like the experience and it will not be like you have had so far. If it is sharp and balanced. I worked for a company that sold lodgepole pine and we had drill presses with huge ones to drill for rails and things.



I am a sailor so will not get into the rope argument.

Good luck. Let me know if the Forstner works out for you. I wonder if you can rent the large diameter ones. A boatyard might lend you one if you offer to sharpen it for them.

Last edited by user1007; 07-31-2012 at 04:38 PM. Reason: Added Image
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:42 PM   #6
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Enlarging hole in deck post


One trick for your situation is to install a wooden plug in the hole, presumably 2-1/8 inches would do it. Then drill through the plug using a 2-3/8 inch hole saw. You will probably have to drill from both sides unless you have the world's biggest hole saw.
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Old 07-31-2012, 09:15 PM   #7
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Enlarging hole in deck post


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Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
One trick for your situation is to install a wooden plug in the hole, presumably 2-1/8 inches would do it. Then drill through the plug using a 2-3/8 inch hole saw. You will probably have to drill from both sides unless you have the world's biggest hole saw.
I would question the safety and quality of the finished hole any other way than Dan's
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Old 08-01-2012, 02:56 PM   #8
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Enlarging hole in deck post


I decided to try the hole saw route and purchased a 2 1/2" one today at HD along with a 1/4" threaded rod to see how that idea works. I can foresee this plug bouncing around a bit because the hole is not perfectly smooth inside thanks to the original bit I used. I am hoping that once the hole saw gets started that it will make its own path. It won't go all the way through which is why I did not use one in the first place but since I am only trimming out 3/8" I can trim it out with my chisel when the saw bottoms then continue on and of course go in from the other side as well. May be a while before I have a chance to test it and will let you know how it works out. I can still fall back on the other idea if this fails. Fortunately this is not a life threatening decision. I do appreciate all the advice.
sdsester, I am also a sailor.....who else would try these crazy ideas. [grin]. My neighbor, who is a mechanical engineer, suggested I buy new smaller rope which just got ne up for the challenge.
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Old 08-01-2012, 03:08 PM   #9
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Enlarging hole in deck post


Use your 2 & 1/4 bit and drill through some 1x6.
This gives a hole that becomes the guide.
Clamp/screw this on where you want to drill the hole.
The hole saw now is kept in place by this guide, as it starts to drill it stays in place itself.
Go at it from both sides.
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Old 08-01-2012, 04:34 PM   #10
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Enlarging hole in deck post


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Originally Posted by JackB View Post
sdsester, I am also a sailor.....who else would try these crazy ideas. [grin]. My neighbor, who is a mechanical engineer, suggested I buy new smaller rope which just got ne up for the challenge.
Engineers will do that. They know everything. I have actually only only had two on one of my boats I know of. The design engineer was, as you know different. The other was some idiot who chartered a ride spouting off to the point I slopply sailed and turned the poor SOB deep green. And it was one of those special days in the San Francisco Bay where the tide can come in stronger than any soft wind forward progress. You can find yourself, full wind in your sails, sailing backward. Poor guy must have thought it took forever to dock too. I claimed the engine was not working and parallel parked our 35 foot Cheoy Lee. Tack, tack, tack.

What's your neighbor look like? If he was not the one I scared permanently from the water? Take him out for a sail?
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:24 PM   #11
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Enlarging hole in deck post


Thought I would followup now that the holes have been enlarged. After purchasing the 1/4" threaded rod I got thinking about Mae-Lings idea and it made sense and eliminated the concern I had about the piece of wood spinning in the hole. So I tried it and it worked fine. I will say that I am glad I was only going from 2 1/8" to 2 1/2" as enlarging much more than that would make breaking out the wood as the drill cut through much harder. As it worked out the hole saw plus shank plus chuck were long enough that I only had to drill through one side of the 2X6 posts. The hole saw would grab a bit if I did not get the guide perfectly positioned over the hole but breaking out the pieces as I went eased that problem. Anyway, did all 7 posts and put the rope through today. I used heat shrink tube ends for big electrical cable purchased on the net to cap each end which worked fine and give a finished appearance. Thanks again for the suggestions.
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