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Drilling holes in clay pots

This topic contains 27 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Miamicuse 8 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #700148

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    My wife would like me to drill some 1″ holes (doesn’t need to be precise) on her clay pots for some weird orchids.

    Some of the pots are kind of exotic with patterns on them, in other words they are not smooth. She didn’t want me do it unless I am sure I won’t crack or break the pots while doing it…

    I have all kinds of concrete bits, diamond bits, diamond hole saws, carbide tipped hole saws etc…but I am not sure what bits to use and how risky it would be to break those pots. I think if I put my Bosch SDS+ hammer on it it will just crack.

    I am thinking I need to use a small bit, to drill a small hole first, perhaps a small masonry bit, using a hammer drill in a NON-hammer mode? Then come back with a carbide or diamond tipped hole saw using the small hole?

    #700153

    Warren6810
    Pro
    Akron, OH

    I wonder if using a regular wood bit would work? It would certainly be less stressful to the pot I think. The other day, I was drilling into some sandstone and forgot to change the bit out. The wood bit was actually smoother and faster than the masonry bit.

    #700154

    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    No hammer mode. I would soak the pot over night so it is wet all the way through. Might want to test a nice slow diamond hole saw on a scrap pot first to see how it works. I would use a template for the hole saw..
    I want a pic of the orchid. I like orchids. I just transpotted one yesterday.

    Dirty

    A Working Pro since 1988!

    Member since January 26, 2013.

    #700168

    Doobie
    Pro

    This Rasta bloke uses a diamond grit hole saw. I imagine it is the same type for cutting thru tiles. (You can skip to around the 4 min mark to skip his babble and see him do it)

    #700171

    crotalusco
    Pro
    west bend, wi

    Slow no pressure for sure. I would buy a 3$ pot from Walmart or good will and do a few tests

    #700233

    Sorpa
    Pro
    Pierrefonds, Qc

    I used a diamond coated drill bit to drill those holes.
    Same one used to make holes in tiles.

    #700241

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    I have a diamond hole saw set that’s 3/4″ 1″ 1-1/4″ etc etc etc that I use to drill porcelain tiles and marble. Those usually require the material to be laying horizontal and I drill vertically down, I would use a piece of plywood to make a template to lay over it, which also provides a bit of a dam to pour in some water for cooling. My diamond saws do not have a pilot bit in the middle like my wood, bimetal and carbide ones.

    This pot is round. There is no way to put a template on it. Too big for any of my vises as well.

    Do I need to make a wood jig to hold it steady sidesway with a template?

    A hole saw without a pilot bit will walk all over this I think.

    #700261

    Doobie
    Pro

    This pot is round. There is no way to put a template on it. Too big for any of my vises as well.

    Make a box out of ply so that you can fit the top and bottom of the pot against two inner walls of the box. Stuff some spongy foam matter in around between the outer pot and the inner box walls to keep the pot nice and stationary inside the box. Drill thru a pre-drilled hole in the wall of the ply into the pot.

    What might be even better is if the wall of the box with the hole in it is angled to be flush with the face of the pot so the hole saw bit cuts flush into the pot. (Edit: Just noticed my drawing below has the hole on the wrong side. It should be on the bottom piece that is slanted to be parallel with the wall of the pot. The top is open to slide your pot into the box.)

    Starting the bit initially in reverse might also be a good idea. Once the hole is scored, change to forward and gently finish cutting thru the the pot wall.

    If you find you are cracking pots trying this, maybe cut some styrofoam to the round dimensions inside the pot and stuff them in there to better support the inner walls of the pot while drilling.

    Here, a quickie drawing of what I’m suggesting….

    #700276

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    No hammer mode. I would soak the pot over night so it is wet all the way through. Might want to test a nice slow diamond hole saw on a scrap pot first to see how it works. I would use a template for the hole saw..
    I want a pic of the orchid. I like orchids. I just transpotted one yesterday.

    I will get a pic of her orchid. She has a lot of them, and last year hurricane Irma took down two big trees, and she wasn’t that upset about the trees but very upset about losing the branches on the trees to hang all her orchids lol. So first thing after I cleaned up all the hurricane debris was to immediately build her a 10×10 gazebo to provide a temp shady area for her orchids.

    #700277

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    This pot is round. There is no way to put a template on it. Too big for any of my vises as well.

    Make a box out of ply so that you can fit the top and bottom of the pot against two inner walls of the box. Stuff some spongy foam matter in around between the outer pot and the inner box walls to keep the pot nice and stationary inside the box. Drill thru a pre-drilled hole in the wall of the ply into the pot.

    What might be even better is if the wall of the box with the hole in it is angled to be flush with the face of the pot so the hole saw bit cuts flush into the pot. (Edit: Just noticed my drawing below has the hole on the wrong side. It should be on the bottom piece that is slanted to be parallel with the wall of the pot. The top is open to slide your pot into the box.)

    Starting the bit initially in reverse might also be a good idea. Once the hole is scored, change to forward and gently finish cutting thru the the pot wall.

    If you find you are cracking pots trying this, maybe cut some styrofoam to the round dimensions inside the pot and stuff them in there to better support the inner walls of the pot while drilling.

    Here, a quickie drawing of what I’m suggesting….

    Thanks Kevin, I was on the same train of thought, but it will be some effort so I was kind of looking for a quick and dirty method and there may not be one.

    I also know if this works, there may be more pots to drill in the future, may be bigger may be smaller.

    So I am thinking instead of a box, a triangle instead, so the pot (of varying sizes) can rest in an inverted triangle and the drill will come from the top.

    #700285

    I have successfully drilled a bunch of my wife’s clay pots with a carbide bit, some water, and most importantly a backer that is contacting the pot or it will spall and chip out a bunch on bit exit.

    Will

    #700307

    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    A wet towel would make a good forming nonslip base for the pot.

    Dirty

    A Working Pro since 1988!

    Member since January 26, 2013.

    #700309

    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    I will get a pic of her orchid. She has a lot of them,

    I like some nice orchids.. We have a big Orchid sale and show this weekend down the street at a middle school.

    Dirty

    A Working Pro since 1988!

    Member since January 26, 2013.

    #700398

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    I wonder if I drill a small hole through it, then come back around with a step bit will that work? But I will probably totally ruin my Greenlee step bit…may be Harbor Freight sells a cheapo throw away step bit?

    #700458

    Doobie
    Pro

    I wonder if I drill a small hole through it, then come back around with a step bit will that work? But I will probably totally ruin my Greenlee step bit…may be Harbor Freight sells a cheapo throw away step bit?

    I wouldn’t do that. Have a feeling the more boring and grinding action just increases the chances of busting the pot altogether using a step drill bit versus a diamond bit hole saw.

    #700483

    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    I will get a pic of her orchid. She has a lot of them,

    We used to have the great “Plants? You Got Any?” thread but it was shut down when some complained it was a fluff thread..
    https://bethepro.com/forums/topic/plants-you-got-any/

    Dirty

    A Working Pro since 1988!

    Member since January 26, 2013.

    #700502

    Miamicuse
    Pro
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    I wonder if I drill a small hole through it, then come back around with a step bit will that work? But I will probably totally ruin my Greenlee step bit…may be Harbor Freight sells a cheapo throw away step bit?

    I wouldn’t do that. Have a feeling the more boring and grinding action just increases the chances of busting the pot altogether using a step drill bit versus a diamond bit hole saw.

    You may be right. I am going to test it on a cheap clay pot this weekend and see what works.

    #700830

    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    Big Orchid sale this weekend at the middle school.
    some displays here.



    Dirty

    A Working Pro since 1988!

    Member since January 26, 2013.

    #700841

    roninohio
    Pro
    New Franklin, OH

    Those are really pretty Dirty ! Thank you for sharing.
    Did you bring any of them home with you?

    #700849

    Doobie
    Pro

    I wonder if I drill a small hole through it, then come back around with a step bit will that work? But I will probably totally ruin my Greenlee step bit…may be Harbor Freight sells a cheapo throw away step bit?

    I wouldn’t do that. Have a feeling the more boring and grinding action just increases the chances of busting the pot altogether using a step drill bit versus a diamond bit hole saw.

    You may be right. I am going to test it on a cheap clay pot this weekend and see what works.

    So, did you try yet.

    I was also thinking being real slow and light pushing the bit is probably a good idea. This ain’t wood or metal, which is what we are mostly used to when putting our weighted force into drilling. Basically, don’t ‘Use the Force’ Sami! Lol!

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