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Thread: Do I really need a Hammer-drill?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Rockville, MD

    Do I really need a Hammer-drill?

    I recently contracted to have a 7' X 4' metal trellis made which will be attached to, but about 3" to 4" from my brick chimney. The Clemitis vine there has outgrown the #10 electrical wire I hung a couple years ago. When I called the fabricator to see if the trellis was done, he said the installation is pretty straight forward, but he used a hammer-drill. I was anticipating using my standard woodworking DeWalt drill with a Masonry bit to put about 2 or 3 Masonry anchors in the brick chimney and stabilize the trellis to the Masonry anchors. Do I really need to rent a hammer-drill? I've never used one. I've only once needed to drill into the mortise of a brick wall with a Masonry bit. It wasn't easy, but I got the job done.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    Drilling a couple of holes into soft material like brick, you can do -- slowly -- with a masonry bit. Where the hammer drill shines is making lots of holes quickly into harder materials, like old concrete. After you've struggled with a masonery bit or a rotary hammer, the hammer drill seems like magic.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Mid Michigan
    I have drilled masonry with a standard drill with a masonry bit, it works but is considerably more labor intensive than a hammer drill. I don't use mine often but when I do it is sure great to have it on hand.
    David B

  4. #4
    For something like a trellis I think you could put your expansion anchors into the mortar, rather than the brick. That should be easy to drill with a decent masonry bit.

  5. #5

    In brick? Try impact driver

    I was recently in the same situation of having to put anchors into brick, and rather than shell out more money on a drill I wouldn't use very often, I tried a masonry bit in my impact driver, and it worked like a charm. Obviously a problem if you don't have an impact driver, but I can think of a lot more uses for an impact driver over a hammer drill, so it might be worth a look. One caveat: I drilled into the mortar, not the brick.
    Last edited by Tom Ganz; 05-17-2010 at 10:49 AM.

  6. #6

  7. #7
    If it were me (and it was) I'd buy a $25 noname rotary hammer from ebay. They work good enough for those once-every-two-years-I-gotta-make-4-holes-in-concrete jobs.

    An impact driver might work, but bkz concrete does not compress like wood fibers to, you risk splitting yr bricks. You really need to drill out and blow out the dust (or drill deeper than necessary) b4 you drive an anchor or a tapcon or what have you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Sinking Spring, PA
    You can get cheap corded hammer drills just about anywhere. I used to have a skil branded one that I got for $20 at wally world years ago. Lost it somehow/somewhere, but it did the trick when needed...

    If you are looking for an excuse to buy a new tool, then I say yes, you need one!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Chagrin Falls, OH
    I remember trying to drill holes in a concrete floor for a door threshold with a regular drill and it was like watching grass grow. This was in old very hard concrete, so mortar might be different.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Toronto Ontario
    Don, both clay brick and mortar are extremely soft, you will not need a hammer drill for this task.

    A carbide tipped drill bit, an electric drill and you're away to the races.

    Regards, Rod.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Will Overton View Post
    It really isn't a good idea to be pounding on a hole chisel in a brick wall. Doing so is a really good way to crack the brick.

    I've drilled holes in Brick with a regular masonry bit, it can be done it just takes longer than with a hammer drill. Remember if you are using Tap-Con screws you want the right size hole and it needs to be deeper than the screw is long and clean all the dust out of the hole first.
    Lee Schierer
    USNA- '71
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Hillsboro, OR
    Blog Entries
    I've drilled holes in brick using a good 1/2" chuck corded drill (Milwaukee). For 2-3 -screw- holes in brick I see no reason to buy a hammer drill. Now, if you were drilling all the way through concrete block or brick (deep holes or hard material) then a hammer drill rental would be warranted.

  13. Quote Originally Posted by Don Morris View Post
    I recently contracted to have a 7' X 4' metal trellis made which will be attached to................

    Do I really need to rent a hammer-drill? I've never used one. ...........
    As others have noted...... no, you don't REALLY need to rent a hammer drill.

    And also note this: If you DO rent one, you'll want to BUY one on the way home from returning it. A hammer drill is really a cool tool.

    (Edited for spelling)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    SE PA
    Aside from the speed and ease of drilling, a HD makes better holes. With a regular drill the bit can wander more when it encounters harder material and you end up with an oblong or oversized hole. The hammer action really helps break through it without so much side-slipping. Even an el-cheapo is much better than straight rotary.
    - Tom

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Schierer View Post
    It really isn't a good idea to be pounding on a hole chisel in a brick wall. Doing so is a really good way to crack the brick.
    Surprised to hear that. I grew up in an all brick house. All we ever used, cause all we ever had, were star bits. Never had a problem, and never heard about neighbors having problems. The house was built in the 1940's. Maybe bricks back then were not the same as ones used today.

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