Drilling Holes in Pottery
Can I drill holes in the bottom of pottery, and do I need special drill bits?
HV from Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
Unglazed pottery, such as clay flower pots or unglazed ceramic tile, can be easily drilled with a carbide "masonry" drill bit. But hold on, if your pottery has a smooth, "glazed" surface like ceramic tile, you'll have a more difficult drilling chore as the surface is extremely hard. In fact, glazing is so hard that it can actually scratch metals! Something this hard needs a special type of drill bit!
Most people's first thought would be to use the aforementioned carbide masonry bit, but they would be only half right. Carbide bits are definitely able to cut through very hard materials but most carbide bits by design are meant to cut through non-brittle materials... concrete, brick and stone. Furthermore, their low-angled cutters require quite a bit of pressure to drill effectively.
Pressure is the last thing you want to use on glazed ceramic because the glazing in this respect more resembles glass... very hard, smooth but oh-so-brittle. Ask anyone with a ceramic tile kitchen floor and they will give you an ear-bending reverie on ceramic's propensity for chipping! In fact, a recurring handyman's nightmare is drilling through ceramic tile in an old bathroom and having the tile break... with no hope of exact replacement. Wake me up and pass the Tylenol P.M. ! Too much pressure!
Anyway, the solution is to use a special ceramic tile or glass-cutting drill bit. These bits have a totally different shape than a carbide masonry bit with a more distinct point allowing more aggressive cutting with less pressure. Fortunately, these bits are available at virtually any hardware store.
for tools and supplies for your home improvement project Shop at AceHardware.com
I have three additional thoughts. First, in order to keep the drill bit from slipping off the mark, put a few layers of masking tape over the ceramic before drilling. Second, water can act as a lubricant and can also help keep the drill bit a little cooler, though very thin glazes really don't need the extra lubricant. Third, if the hole you are drilling is more than a quarter inch deep, clean the chips from the hole as you go. This will keep the bit cooler and also extend its life.
copyright 2000 G.G. Alonzy
Have a small home repair question for THE NATURAL HANDYMAN? Just click here naturalhandyman.com/aitikia. For more home repair information, visit NH's growing list of original home repair articles and quality links naturalhandyman.com. If this information has been valuable to you, please consider making a small donation to support NH's free service to the home repair community! For more information, please visit our "Friends" page naturalhandyman.com/friends.
The Natural Handyman Site Directory
- Home Repair Articles naturalhandyman.com/iip
- Home Repair Links Library naturalhandyman.com/linkslibrary
- NH's Bookshop naturalhandyman.com/bookshop
- Find a handyman at naturalhandyman.com/network
- Win unique home repair gifts and prizes at naturalhandyman.com/contest. Please read the important copyright and disclaimer information is located at naturalhandyman.com/copyright
Take the Next Step
- Could spending 5 minutes reading a newsletter twice a week save you time and money every day? Dollar Stretcher Tips readers think so. Subscribe and find out how many ideas stretch your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.
- Visit our Pinterest board for Home Improvement Tips.
More Tips & Tools to Help You
Live Better...For Less
- 6 cheap, effective home security solutions
- 5 frugal ways to expand your living space
- Top 10 DIY mistakes made by home 'handymen'
- 15 mistakes to avoid when selling your home
- 9 ways to buy furniture for less
- Need a bigger home? How to maximize the space you already have
- Find the best mortgage rates in your area
- 3 ways to use a mortgage calculator
- Mortgage calculator: Calculate your payment and more
- Home equity calculator: HELOC vs. line of credit
- Should I borrow from my home equity?
- How much can additional payments save me on my mortgage?
- Who offers the most home insurance discounts?