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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Dublin, CA
    Posts
    121

    Various tool questions - cutting holes, making bends, etc

    Hiya all, I finally put in my application for Pro membership. Waiting to hear back! In the meantime, I'm excited to be able to discuss these things with a large group of people so that I can hear as much feedback as possible. So I have a bunch of tool and to a lesser extent, how-to question for you all.

    First up I want to ask about drilling holes. The way I was taught to do it was to drill out a bunch of holes in a circle then knock it out. I absolutely hate this method. I've started finding the right path lately, however.

    Cutting holes in wood:

    I used spades like these.

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    I'm not very fond of them. They wear out FAST, snag a whole lot, and generally make a huge mess. But they got the job done. This is for cutting holes through 2x4 wood. Then I used things like the following;

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    I like these better, but they do seem to struggle when going through 2x4's.

    The vast majority of the application I need these for is to drill a hole from the inside of the house to the outside, usually 7/8" maximum (soft and hard copper up to 7/8", PVC up to 3/4", conduit up to 3/4".) The hole saws are not so good for this because they are not long enough to penetrate to the other side of the wall (approx. 3.5" for the 2x4 beam, .5" of drywall, .5" of outside material for approx. 4.5").

    Consequently, what I usually do is take a 8" long 5/16" drill and make a pilot hole. Then I cut out from the inside, move around to the outside and cut the rest out.

    This works but I'm wondering if there's a easier way.

    Then it gets a bit more complicated.... stucco;

    Stucco is where things get more difficult. I've recently tried out stucco hole saws such as these;

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    And it worked well. However, they suck for cutting through wood. So what I did was use this to cut out the stucco, then changed to a wood hole saw and cut the rest of the way.

    Same question.. is there an easier or faster way than how I am doing it? A better tool for this job?

    And furthermore, how about all of above... except for cutting 1.5" to 6" holes. Such as a 6" hole in the roof for 4" double wall flue pipe. What's the best tool for this job? I've been using a powered hack saw. Or a 3" hole in the side of the house, through wood and stucco, for 2.5" PVC flue.


    --------------------------------------------------------

    Copper tubing bending

    I've recently also been enlightened on the joys of a copper tubing bender. However, I'm a bit sad to see that it only really works on soft copper typically used for refrigerant lines. Are there any options for hard copper that's typically used in plumbing? 3/4" or 1/2" typically.

    Any brand or specific recommendations of soft copper tubing benders and hard copper tubing benders would be appreciated. It does not have to be a 2 in 1 tool.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    in a house, Appomattox, Va.
    Posts
    3,252
    for hard copper, flow Ni thru it and anneal it, cool it. it is now soft copper at that location. have done that w/ 1 1/2 pipe that I needed an offset in. saved two 45s and four braze joints.

    For that composition cut, I'd cut thru the stucco, then switch to wood bit as well.
    As far as the wood hole sawing- drill several holes w/ spade bit thru where the cut of hole saw will be. this gives a place for the chips to drop out kerf (slot cut by saw), otherwise the chips clog the space between the teeth (fillets) and prevent efficient drilling. really helps w/pine or other pitchy woods.

    For bigger dia holes, i use a sawsall/ recrip saw and use the spade bat as pilot hole
    Col 3:23


    questions asked, answers received, ignorance abated

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    in a house, Appomattox, Va.
    Posts
    3,252
    there's another style of bit for big holes, flat bottom w/ one slot that cuts out out all the wood in hole. they don't like nails all that well, but you can use an extension and go thru inches of wood.
    the hole saws I just use old screwdriver to break out core of old wood as I go.
    Col 3:23


    questions asked, answers received, ignorance abated

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Posts
    172
    I use self feeding drill bits...[URL="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYgwdObQxKw"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Dublin, CA
    Posts
    121
    Thanks for the insight! Looks like there's not much in the way of easier ways of doing this!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Athens, Ohio
    Posts
    1,694
    For holes in wood, I have found the Lenox one-tooth hole saws can't be beat.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    439
    You also may want to check into these as well. I have found them useful for cutting holes in cabinets, (especially where the knockouts wont knockout).

    Carbide Tipped Hole Cutters
    When you do a job, Always make it easier for the next guy, because you may be the next guy working on it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    south jersey
    Posts
    1,096
    The spade bits work great when sharp. Do not push so hard and they won't dull as fast. If you buy the ones that have a 1/4 shank like all you drill chucks you can use any extension in your drill box. I have drilled holes through 12" of would with an extension. You can also buy extensions for all your drill bits (normal spade shank, Hole saws, etc.) to drill through any length. As far as going through siding, stucco and other non wood materials there is no one drill bit that does it all(well). Just have to stick to what you been doing. Hope this helps.
    You need to put the phone down and get back to work!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    Posts
    22
    I've used spade bits, hole saws and the ol' drill a bunch of holes method. I like the spade bits. When they get dull I just take them to the tool sharpener to fix them up. For holes in metal I use a knock out set. Worth their weight in old.

    As far as tube bending I heat is up while flowing nitrogen. Then it's softer to make nice bends. I've only done this on 7/8 and small though. I have a hand held tubing bender that helps.

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