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Drilling through hard old Wood Joists/Lathe

I am working on repairing the upstairs ceiling to our 1930"s home and have run into an unusual problem. The wood making up the lathe, strapping, and joists of our old plaster ceiling is resisting all attempts to screw or drill through it. New bits haven't had any effect on it. I can get an 1/8" into the wood and then get stopped. Pecking with the drill hasn't worked either and switcing to different wood bits hasn't helped.

The plaster walls are no trouble at all so it's a bit perplexing. Has anyone encountered this or have advice on how to work through it. I'd rather not have to tear out the entire ceiling for simple plaster repairs.

A. Spruce
Re: Drilling through hard old Wood Joists/Lathe

My suspicion is that not only is the wood extremely old, dry, and hard, it has a good amount of sand embedded in it from the plaster, which will take the edge off a drill bit in short order. You might try using a pilot point or brad point drill bit. Both of these will still dull quickly if you're drilling through sand, but the design of the bit will still allow for cutting where a standard drill bit won't.

Hank Bauer
Re: Drilling through hard old Wood Joists/Lathe

It maybe that the joist are heart pine.
Try using a hammer drill for the pilot hole for the screw.

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