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Old 03-20-2020, 11:27 AM   #1
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Hollowing Out 4x4x4


Wondering if there's an relatively easy way to hollow out a 1.25 inch hole down the center of a four foot long 4x4. I'll need 12. Have looked into using support posts, but haven't found them in 4x4, and the 6x6s are too expensive.
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Old 03-20-2020, 11:29 AM   #2
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Re: Hollowing Out 4x4x4


Well, "relatively easy" is a relative judgement, and all I can say is, "It depends on what you define as 'easy'".

4' is a long way to keep the bit straight. I would personally try using an aggressive spade bit on a 24" extender, and run through from each end towards the middle. I would do this by rigging up a jig to hold the 4x4 vertically stable on a drill press frame, and again, only do half the depth before flipping it over to drill from the other end.
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Old 03-20-2020, 11:32 AM   #3
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Re: Hollowing Out 4x4x4


I think you need to work on plan B.

If its pine or similar, the wood would be reasonably soft, but drilling through 48 feet ????? Manually drilling it, there is no way you are going to keep the hole in the center --- will drift.
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Old 03-20-2020, 12:04 PM   #4
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Re: Hollowing Out 4x4x4


Tell us more about what you are doing. I have done what it sounds like you are trying to do. Rest assured you are not going to drill a hole down the center of a 4x4 post 4 foot long. The drill bit will wander too much not matter what type of bit you use.
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Old 03-20-2020, 12:07 PM   #5
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Re: Hollowing Out 4x4x4


I have no idea why you want a 1/2" hole down the center of 4 ft. of a 4x4. But, I would re-think how to accomplish it. Why not take two 2x4's, and laminate them together (using glue) with a 1/2" thick x 1.5" wide wood spacer on each side? The net result would be a 4x4 (3.5" x 3.5" net) with a 1/2" square hole down the center.
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Old 03-20-2020, 12:12 PM   #6
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Re: Hollowing Out 4x4x4


It can be done, In the 60s, I held the door when an old tradesman drilled from the top and bottom of a door to the center with a 3 ft long 3/4" bit. He started out with a jig that clamped to the door that held the bit in line with the hole he was drilling.
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Old 03-20-2020, 12:28 PM   #7
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Re: Hollowing Out 4x4x4


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Originally Posted by House Designer View Post
I have no idea why you want a 1/2" hole down the center of 4 ft. of a 4x4. But, I would re-think how to accomplish it. Why not take two 2x4's, and laminate them together (using glue) with a 1/2" thick x 1.5" wide wood spacer on each side? The net result would be a 4x4 (3.5" x 3.5" net) with a 1/2" square hole down the center.
A square hole would work and I considered laminating four 2x4s to create a 5x5 with 2" square hole, but seemed like more work and costs.

Does no one make a hollow 4x4 exterior post?
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Old 03-20-2020, 12:36 PM   #8
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Re: Hollowing Out 4x4x4


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A square hole would work and I considered laminating four 2x4s to create a 5x5 with 2" square hole, but seemed like more work and costs.

Does no one make a hollow 4x4 exterior post?
So what are you doing with them, maybe there are alternatives.
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Old 03-20-2020, 12:37 PM   #9
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Re: Hollowing Out 4x4x4


Why does it need to be hollow? And why 4' long? Is it a structural post, or cosmetic? And you mention now that it is exterior, so that implies PT wood. If the hole is for wiring, it is not important that it be centered on both ends. If the hole is for all-thread threaded rod, it may be more important to be centered. A few design details would help everybody.
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Old 03-20-2020, 12:50 PM   #10
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Re: Hollowing Out 4x4x4


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Originally Posted by House Designer View Post
I have no idea why you want a 1/2" hole down the center of 4 ft. of a 4x4. But, I would re-think how to accomplish it. Why not take two 2x4's, and laminate them together (using glue) with a 1/2" thick x 1.5" wide wood spacer on each side? The net result would be a 4x4 (3.5" x 3.5" net) with a 1/2" square hole down the center.

Same idea, I would rip the 4x4 in half, dado out a a groove in center. Glue and screw the post back together.
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Old 03-20-2020, 12:53 PM   #11
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Re: Hollowing Out 4x4x4


I would order up a long auger bit and build the jig.

they used to drill logs for water pipes in Seattle, I have seen samples
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Old 03-24-2020, 10:19 AM   #12
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Re: Hollowing Out 4x4x4


Many companies that make coverings for porch posts that are plastic/resin and paintable. You never mentioned what you are trying to accomplish or your assumptions in going to a 4x4 post needing a large diameter hole down through it.
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Old 03-24-2020, 05:07 PM   #13
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Re: Hollowing Out 4x4x4


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Many companies that make coverings for porch posts that are plastic/resin and paintable. You never mentioned what you are trying to accomplish or your assumptions in going to a 4x4 post needing a large diameter hole down through it.
Yeah, I've learned that if I include info about the overall project, replies will get off topic and the thread will go awry.

Did a couple of tests glueing/screwing four 2x4s in a square and it works well, especially if the rounded edge is ripped off. It's not the most cost effective, but one I can handle. Might look at other options before starting the project.
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Old 03-28-2020, 01:33 AM   #14
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Re: Hollowing Out 4x4x4


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Originally Posted by LarryJ-nova View Post
Wondering if there's an relatively easy way to hollow out a 1.25 inch hole down the center of a four foot long 4x4. I'll need 12. Have looked into using support posts, but haven't found them in 4x4, and the 6x6s are too expensive.
Is it possible to drill through 2 feet, turn it around and drill 2 feet through the other end?

Or, glue and nail several 2 x 4 's together using a router to hollow out the middle, run some PVC pipe inside, and then face it with some attractive 1 x 4's on the outside.

Just my .02.
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Old 03-28-2020, 11:39 AM   #15
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Re: Hollowing Out 4x4x4


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Originally Posted by LarryJ-nova View Post
Yeah, I've learned that if I include info about the overall project, replies will get off topic and the thread will go awry.
Your response is absurd. Many people have wasted their time taking shots in the dark, with no understanding of what you are trying to accomplish. Your refusal to provide pertinent information has made it impossible for us to give an intelligent, targeted response. I'm out. Good Day!
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