Advice Needed: Purchasing drill for timbers and railroad ties

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by rawtoxic, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. rawtoxic

    rawtoxic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 106

    I am wondering what drills you guys prefer for doing timber walls. We have a large job coming this Spring and the foreman and I are discussing ways to save labor.

    Our Hitachi Hammer Drill DH24PF3 ( has been excellent but is a bit bulky and we have to use a SDS to regular drill bit adapter for many bits it seems to be a workhorse for drilling holes in concrete, steel and stone but not good for much else. We have large timber job and I think a spade handle drill like the Dewalt Dw130V 9 amp would be a good drill for drilling into 6x6 ties and railroad ties since we will be there a few weeks. I was wondering if anyone had any recommendations about other good products for this purpose? Is the 9 amp maybe too powerful and will hurt wrists if the bit catches a knot? We have a drill bit sharpening kit so bits can be sharpened every few hours to keep us moving fast.

    Thanks for all your valuable advice
  2. LizzieLandscapes

    LizzieLandscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    I suggest using a large 3/4" electric drill rather than a portable re-chargeable drill. Auger type bits for the bits.
    A 9amp drill, in my opinion, does not have enough power to handle that kind of drilling and even if you use an 18 amp portable drill the battery charge won't last long, drilling holes in RR ties.
    Beware of hitting RR spikes left in the ties while drilling, be aware of knots in your way, knots should show on the outside of the tie or timber. So hang on real tight and slow down the drill, if you know you might be hitting one.

    Take several good electric drills, not just one to the job site, extra auger bits, and a few good 100' outdoor extension cords. That should serve you well.
  3. rawtoxic

    rawtoxic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 106

    Lizzy I think you have amps and volts confused. A 9 amp drill is quite powerful compared to a 18v cordlesss. Our 7 amp hammer drill can drill a 1" hole through for a 6" piece of sandstone just did it the other day I would not enjoy doing this with my cordless 24volt rigid hammer drill. So a 9 amp drilll for wood should hurt your wrist (one of my concerns)

    I do like the auger type bits but maybe 1 in 200 times it gets stuck in a timber and creates an obstacle to solve (I enjoy ruining a sawsall blade while cutting a $20 drill bit!) so after much trial and error in the field we prefer regular drill bits that we keep very sharp in the field using a simple a drill bit sharpener I purchased for about $80. Plus if we have any 'green' laborers most will work better with simpler more mainstream tools (IMO there is a bit of a finesse with using the auger bit successfully)

    Any other tips to improve efficiency would be great!
  4. tigerfan88

    tigerfan88 LawnSite Member
    from SC
    Messages: 82

    Try a Stihl BT45.
  5. 8inchBlock

    8inchBlock LawnSite Member
    Messages: 29

  6. rawtoxic

    rawtoxic LawnSite Member
    Messages: 106

    We are building a 2000' of timber wall. General contractor has asked for 4 rebar per 8' section of wall to depth of 24" (rebar length 30"). We are using a similar fastener product. Just looking for a way to make the base course go smoothly.

    Thanks for the tip.
  7. LizzieLandscapes

    LizzieLandscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    You're correct I did get amps and volts mixed up. I'm sorry, my mistake.
  8. rlitman

    rlitman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,717

    If you're using auger bits, consider a right angle drill like the big Milwaukee (and any drill by Milwaukee is the benchmark that everyone else is shooting for BTW).
    A right angle drill, especially if you secure the "D" handle with a piece of rope, is much less likely to torque out of your hands and hurt wrists.
  9. Shadetree Ltd

    Shadetree Ltd LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 390

  10. Isobel

    Isobel LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 548

    We laid about 600 ff of timber wall this year. We did everything with a couple of 1/2" 7amp corded hammer drills by Skil. Definitely usable, but if you have the opportunity I'd get at least one 9 amp. Sometimes you get into a spot where a little more power is required.

    In terms of bits, definitely go with spade bits, and keep a few on hand just in case. And it probably wouldn't hurt to keep some extra chuck keys on hand--I can't remember the number of times I had to yell at the guys for not keeping track of the chuck keys.

Share This Page