How To Drill and Chip Solid Rock

Woodworkers most likely don’t face the notion of having to drill through solid rock, but we might have the tools to do so in our shops. I found an article that gives a pretty clear answer to what it takes to drill through or chip away at some solid rock.

Basically, somebody wants to know the best way to clear out some solid granite to add better features to a natural path.

What was the recommendation? A lithium-ion powered hammer drill, of course.

Now you can [put] in a backpack an 18-volt cordless hammer drill that will easily bore holes up to 7/8-inch diameter into solid granite. This same cordless hammer drill, with the flip of a switch, can be transformed into a chipping hammer to shape rock on the trail. These hand-held hammer drills are much smaller than the large pneumatic hammers workmen use to break up concrete slabs, but they’ll get the job done eventually.

The new cordless electric tools have seen major improvements in the motors. The Milwaukee cordless hammer drill that I’ve used offers longer life, 40 percent more runtime and a hammer mechanism within the tool that is 35 percent harder-hitting.

In the battery power packs of cordless tools, lithium-ion is now the industry standard. Engineers are even installing miniature computers in tools to maximize the energy in the battery. These small computers also protect the motors and battery from damage if the operator tries to overwork them. Other manufacturers offer similar tools with these batteries and onboard micro-computers.

That makes sense. It’s amazing that we have technology available to make it easy to haul tools out into nature to chip away at rock formations. Of course you may need to recharge those batteries at some point.

A small, quiet gasoline-powered generator can run all day on just one gallon and produce 2,000 watts of electricity. This is plenty of power for one of the larger, corded hammer drills or rock-chipping hammers.
So basically, it’s possible to tackle some pretty intense rock-chipping with a few hundred dollars worth of tools, or less depending on how economical your purchasing processes are. You just need a battery powered hammer drill, some bits, and some way to recharge those batteries (if needed).