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Old 09-21-2014, 02:18 PM   #1
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How to drill holes for lateral bracing for a deck.


I am using 6x6 lumber for the lateral bracing between my 8x8 deck posts and 3-2x12 beams. I plan to cut the bracing pieces at a 45 deg angle on both ends. So, if I use two 1/2" lag screws with washers (1.375" O.D.), what is the best way to drill the recessed holes for the washers to fit into? I've tried using a 1.5" spade bit to drill the two recessed holes at a 45 deg angle but, the they don't look even and it is hard to control the hand drill. Should I take the bracing pieces to a millwork shop?

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Old 09-21-2014, 02:47 PM   #2
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How to drill holes for lateral bracing for a deck.


portable drill press guide and a fostner bit


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Old 09-21-2014, 03:36 PM   #3
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How to drill holes for lateral bracing for a deck.


There's no need for a guide, just a Forister bit will work fine.
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Old 09-21-2014, 03:43 PM   #4
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How to drill holes for lateral bracing for a deck.


The Forstner bit will work fine. But I have to wonder what design criteria you are using. 8x8 inch posts are probably suitable for dancing elephants, the Prescriptive Guide to Residential Deck Design is pretty conservative, and only requires 6x6 posts, and that only because they require notching of the post for the beams. As for the diagonal bracing, this is normally done with 2x4 PT lumber, with each 2x4 attached to a pair of posts using either bolts, lag screws, or even nails. It sounds like you are going for a certain look, which is fine, but I would be curious to see the design you are using.
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Old 09-21-2014, 04:04 PM   #5
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How to drill holes for lateral bracing for a deck.


The deck is large (18'x40') and high off the ground (second floor w/ 8x8 posts at 12' in height). And yes, some of it is for aesthetics and to cut down on the checking I've seen some 6x6 posts do when exposed to the sun.
I'm having a tough time understanding how the Forstner Bit is better than the spade bit and without the guide. I will need to drill the hole at a 45 deg angle. When I tried using the spade bit, it danced all over the wood; even after I drilled straight down first.

Much thanks for the experienced advice you guys always give!!
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Old 09-22-2014, 07:20 AM   #6
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How to drill holes for lateral bracing for a deck.


To get clean recessed holes for your washers, you need a set up like this on a drill press.
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Old 09-22-2014, 07:46 AM   #7
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How to drill holes for lateral bracing for a deck.


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Originally Posted by Bugman1400 View Post
I've tried using a 1.5" spade bit to drill the two recessed holes at a 45 deg angle but, the they don't look even and it is hard to control the hand drill. Should I take the bracing pieces to a millwork shop?
Try a new bit. I've done what you're trying to hundreds of times without issue. Start the hole straight on until the spade starts cutting and then adjust to the angle you want. Do this 'before' you drill for the bolt.
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Old 09-22-2014, 08:48 AM   #8
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How to drill holes for lateral bracing for a deck.


A spade bit tends to clatter about some and does not eject debris well. The forstner gives you.a clean edge and a flat bottomed hole. Ron
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Old 09-22-2014, 02:29 PM   #9
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How to drill holes for lateral bracing for a deck.


Which brand of portable drill guide is the best? The reviews I've read so far indicate that many of these devices are made out of plastic and are nothing but junk.
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Old 09-22-2014, 03:06 PM   #10
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How to drill holes for lateral bracing for a deck.


Use a new spade bit and not bother with a guide.
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Old 09-22-2014, 04:26 PM   #11
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How to drill holes for lateral bracing for a deck.


Screws don't have to be square to the posts. You can drill square in the meaty parts of the 45 deg brace ends and use longer screws.
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Old 09-27-2014, 03:34 PM   #12
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How to drill holes for lateral bracing for a deck.


And the winner is..................the Forstner Bit!!! The spade bit I tried previously was brand new and still a tad too uncontrollable. I bought a Porter & Cable Forstner Bit from Lowe's. They were right next to the knock-off tri-blade Forstner-type Bit from Irwin. I think Irwin make good products (unlike Kobalt) but, the Porter & Cable package actually said Forstner Bit and the Irwin did not!

Thank you for the advice!!

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