Drilling into Victorian brick

28 Jun 2009
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United Kingdom
Hi Guys

I need advice on the best way to drill into hard bricks.

I have a black & Decker 550w hammer drill and am using a newly bought bosch 6mm drill bit. I am drilling at about shoulder height to put up a shelf and I can not drill far enough into the wall to fit the rawplugs or screws in. It has happened on 3 holes now. I've drilled a shelf further down the wall and I had a bit of trouble on one or two holes but nothing like this.

I don't know if it's because it's too high and I can't get enough pressure or if it is just that i'm getting really hard bricks, or is the drill not powerful enough? What is the best way to drill into victorian bricks?

Any help greatly appreciated.
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Three words ... SDS

I don't know what the words are ... that's your challenge
I was thinking I may have to buy one, but are there any tips if I don't have a spare £100 to buy a new drill.

Is it better to drill fast or slow, use lots of pressure or don't etc? I don't want to burn out the drill bit.

If I was to buy an SDS drill does anyone have advice on a good mid range one. I know it needs to have a safety clutch (don't fancy a broken wrist) and I would like one which is not too heavy.

SDS drills are preferable for heavy use - the chuck gripping mechanism means that the bits don't slip, and they can deal with heavier percussion blows.
I'm afraid your drill isn't powerful enough and it also spins too fast allowing the drill tip to overheat. Professional SDS drills turn slowly and occasionally the percussion effect comes from a small piston delivering blows by compressed air.
You get what you pay for, really - maybe a hire shop could be your answer if you don't want to buy.
SDS = Special Direct System :p
John :)
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don't take this the wrong way please the hammer action is turned on isn't it??

550w will be enough if its not variable speed
another option it metal capping or banding is there any sign off metal or silvery deposits ??
victorian bricks are not usually very hard. What colour are yours?

much more often with an old soft red brick, the bit gets clogged with dust. In this case withdraw the bill frequently and rake out the dust using a long screw. The twists on the screw help you rake it out. Do not wet the brick before you have finished drilling. Are the bricks damp? damp brick dust is especially bad for clogging.

You are using TCT masonry bits, aren't you?
I did have the hammer action on, one of the holes was going into red brick but the one of the others did have some grey dust coming out of it, I was worried that may have been the drill bit burning out!!

The drill bit was a £4 Bosch one, I think it was TCT but can't fully remember.
Some of these old bricks can be crumbly soft, some can be as hard as hell because the firing of them wasn't strictly controlled then.
Some of them will be classed as 'blue' and some will have black ash in them....they vary enormously.
However, small electric hammer drills spin the drill bit so fast it gets too hot and can even melt, so its a case of slow speed, hammer action and plenty of pressure.
Check your drill bit - it will have a profile much different from an ordinary drill for metal or timber, and its sure to be tungsten carbide tipped.
John :)
You can buy a cheap SDS drill for about £25. I have one and it works fine and certainly much better than my regular drill.
The drill is a variable speed one as well, what difference does that make?

the quoted figure is input power not output power speed control uses up 25-40% off the input power so your drill motor will be some thing like 350-400w
hence the comment about 550w would be enough if not variable speed where as 350-400w wont be
You need an SDS, its that simple

Your best bet if money is short is to either borrow one, bung someone a drink to dril the holes for you, or buy an SDS from Argos or B&Q, drill your holes and then take it back

You will not get anywhere with any other type of drill, fast, slow, hammer turned on, new TCT bit or whatever.
to put up a shelf
FFS you don't need to buy an SDS drill for that

Are you all too young to remember that we used to build houses before SDS came out?

I drilled 4 8mm holes 80mm into dense concrete blocks yesterday using a non-hammer 14v cordless.

I want to know for sure it was a TCT bit and the dust was raked out at intervals.
I think the good lady just can't get enough pressure behind the drill - it is shoulder height after all......
John :)

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