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How to Make a Hole in a Rock Without a Drill

power-chisel-splinter-off-rocks_Peter-Hofstetter_shutterstock

Putting a hole into a rock without a drill is time-consuming. However, it is easier than you might think and only requires a few tools. Drilling into rock can overheat many drills and destroy the bits. The stone can also be too far away to reach with an electric drill, and a cordless drill would take many charges.  If you are looking to make a hole in a rock on your property to install fencing or for another reason, we will explain the tools you need and the steps you need to take to make it happen.divider 4

Tools Required

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Credit: Marques, Shutterstock
  • Chisel

You will need several chisels of different sizes to dig into the rock at the fastest speed possible. You will need to look for a heavy-duty stone carving brand or one for chiseling cement. Kendo, Maxpower, and CSLU all make great chisels that will help you complete your task. We recommend the KENDO 3-Pieces Heavy Duty All Purpose Cold Chisel Set.

  • Sledgehammer

You will also need several heavy-duty sledgehammers to complete your task. The sledgehammers we are discussing are generally one-handed models. You can find excellent models by Estwing, Real Steel, Nupla, Groz, and many more. We recommend the NEIKO 02867A 3.3-pound hammer and the Nupla 27805 6-pound hammer to get you started.

  • Compressed Air

One more item that you will need for creating a hole in stone is compressed air. Depending on how deep the hole will be, you might only need a can or two of something like aerosol compressed gas, which is a can of compressed air usually used for cleaning electronics. However, larger holes can require several cans, and it’s not great for the environment, and you might choose something like a cordless air duster to help you with this task, especially if you need to drill several holes.

Safety Equipment

We recommend wearing several pieces of safety equipment while you are drilling into rock.

  • Safety Glasses

Since we will be hammering a chisel into stone, there is a good chance that small particles will become airborne that might lodge in the eye. We recommend wearing a pair of safety glasses with side protection while you work.

  • Heavy-Duty Work Gloves

Heavy-duty work gloves will help protect your hands somewhat if you miss with the hammer. It will also help reduce the vibrations created from hammering the chisel into the stone.

  • Hearing Protection

Hammering the chisel into stone can create a loud sound that continues for quite some time. We recommend wearing either earplugs or earmuffs to protect your hearing while you work.

  • Face Mask

You will need to blow stone dust out of the hole as you create it, and this dust can wind up in your lungs. We recommend wearing a dust mask while you are using compressed air.

Before you Begin

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Credit: Celiafoto, Shutterstock

There is not much preparatory work needed before you begin drilling. We recommend washing the rock and brushing it down, and removing any loose material. Removing the loose material will help reduce the risk of slipping and lets you get a better view of your work surface.

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Steps to Make a Hole in a Rock

1. Mark where you want to make the hole.

The first step is to mark where you want the hole to be on the stone. If you need a specific sized hole for a fence or signpost, we recommend drawing the hole on the rock and not just placing a point. Drawing the hole will help you be sure you are making the hole wide enough as you chisel your way into the rock. Marking is especially important if the hole you need is wider than the chisel you are using to cut it.

2. Hold the chisel at a 90-degree angle to the surface of the rock and use the sledgehammer.

To begin drilling into stone, hold your chisel at a 90-degree angle and strike the back of it with your sledgehammer. If you have multiple hammers, as we recommend, use the lighter hammer.

3. Begin rotating the chisel.

After you strike the chisel a few times, rotate the chisel a few degrees in a clockwise direction. Continue to rotate the chisel every few strikes until you make a full circle.

4. Continue until you remove the mark you created.

Continue hammering and rotating the chisel until you remove the mark you created on the stone. At this point, you should have a perfect circle the size of the hole that you need.

5. Clean it with compressed air.

Continue chiseling in the same manner, and you should notice your hole slowly becoming deeper. Once it’s too deep for the debris to fall away naturally, it will begin to build up in the hole. You will need to use compressed air to remove the debris, or it will work against you.

6. Continue until your hole is as deep as you need.

Following the same pattern of hammering, rotating, and removing debris, will result in a hole as deep as you need. It will take a long time and might be something you do over a few days. Once the chisel gets deep enough to stand by itself, you can use the heavier hammer to help the process move a little faster. However, you don’t want to use a two-handed hammer because it could split the stone, which will ruin all of your hard work.

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Summary

By following the six steps we have outlined, you can successfully create a hole in any stone. Depending on the stone’s size, it may take several days and plenty of patience, but it’s more than possible to complete. A heavy-duty set of chisels are the key component for this project because they will need to hold up to consistent hammering against the stone. A few weighted single-handed sledgehammers can also help speed up the project.

We hope we have answered your questions and helped you learn how to do something many people may not believe is possible. If you think it can help others, please share this guide to making a hole in a rock without a drill on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured image credit: Peter Hofstetter, Shutterstock

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