How to Drill Through Granite, Stone, Cement, Glass...etc.


Recently my buddy Don was presented with a conundrum. A friend of his needed to drill seven 1/4" holes through 1 ½" thick granite. His friend had burned up 3 masonry bits trying to get the job done before he gave up. Don then reached into his bag of tricks and pulled out a whopper.

To perform this feat-of-nearly-magic, you’ll need:

A plastic cap that’s at least 3/4" deep. (Those from a medicine bottle work particularly well.)
Oil to act as a coolant.* (Don suggests using his Super Lubricant.)
Plumber’s Putty.
Brake cleaner.
A drill and masony bits. (Don says a drill press is the way to go as you’ll get a straight and accurate hole, but he doesn’t discount the ‘ole hand drill.)
A rag.
Eye protection.

created on: 05/20/08

Prep work:

Before you start drilling, you’ll want to place your bottle cap over the spot where you want to drill.

Next, mold the plumber’s putty around the cap. This will hold it in place while you’re drilling AND it will to form a dam around the cap.

Then, fill the bottle cap with oil; you’ll want about 3/4" of oil in the cap. (This is where the dam comes into play, as it will keep the oil from leaking onto your material.)

Let the drilling begin:

First, let’s throw this word out: PATIENCE! Take it slow and put on your eye protection!

Drill for 10 seconds through the cap and the oil.
Raise the bit for 10 seconds so it whirls in the oil and cools down.        
Drill again for another 10 seconds.
Repeat drilling and raising as needed.

(Although the oil will act as a coolant, it and the bit will get hot but they won’t burn up.)

When your bit is through your material, place a rag under the bottom, raise the bit and the oil and chips will drain out into the rag.

If you’re working with granite or some other stone, spray it off with brake cleaner and, if you’ve got an air compressor, blow it off ASAP. Then wash it thoroughly–also ASAP–with a household detergent and a bristle brush. You want to clean it quickly, ESPECIALLY if the stone or granite isn’t polished, because the oil will soak into porous surfaces and could potentially ruin your project.

created on: 05/20/08

*A few notes about working with glass. INSTEAD of using oil as a coolant, Don says to use TURPENTINE when drilling holes in glass. The steps remain the same as when drilling through granite and stone, however YOU WILL NEED TO BE EVEN MORE PATIENT WHEN DRILLING! To drill a larger-sized hole in glass, you’ll want to start with a small bit and work your way up. If your goal is a ½" hole, start with a 1/8" bit, then move to a 3/16, then 1/4, then 5/16, then 3/8 and then finally the ½" bit. Also keep in mind that old glass is much more brittle than new glass.

Thanks Don! You are the MAN!!

created on: 05/20/08




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canhphuc on Jun 22, 2015:

Nice work, with lots of good ideas.

Thanks for sharing!

j on Jun 10, 2015:

Maybe he'd have better success with a masonry drill bit not a concrete drill #dope

Anonymous on Feb 04, 2012:

"What if your drilling at an upright 90 degree angle? Any suggestions?"

Just turn gravity off!

Jason on Oct 07, 2010:

What if your drilling at an upright 90 degree angle? Any suggestions?

GoClick on May 20, 2008:

This is a great idea, it's going to save a ton of mess!

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