I need to drill through a thick, cedar beam

I'm installing an additional ceiling fan in my vaulted living room. A cedar beam runs across it, with one fan on the end. This fan was there when I bought the house, and a hole was drilled through it to run the wires. I wish to put another hole in this beam for another fan.
The problem is that I don't think my drill is up for this. It's some junker I got at Big Lots. It had trouble enough drilling through the joists when I installed a fan elsewhere. Given the beam is about a foot thick, I don't have any bits that could do the job either.
I'm half expecting there are extender bits for this kind of thing. Say, I predrill halfway through or so, and then extend up to continue drilling. Nonetheless, I don't think my current drill can handle it. How powerful of a drill would I need? I could make a decision on renting or whatnot from that. If it's $39.99 or less at Harbor Freight then I may buy it there*.
I'm assuming putting int a small hole for the additional wiring isn't going to ruin the structure of the beam. I'd rather go through the beam than run around it. I suppose I could do something with 1x4s wrapping around the beam in a pattern, and running the wires as needed through that. I think that's as much work and will probably look like crap anyways.
*I fear a derail, but I've determined power tools less than or equal to $39.99 work perfectly fine, but any more than that will either never work, or crap out after seconds of use.
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There are extenders, and there are very long bits. Rent or borrow a quality drill (you'll have to buy the bit) and it will take two minutes.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

a spade or paddle bit might be the way to go. takes longer, but i bet your drill could do it. you'll want to pull the bit out frequently to clear the wood chips, but with patience, i bet it can be done.
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Our local rental place INCLUDES the bits
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Milwaukee Hole-Hawg or Super-Hawg drill with 17" auger bit. Probably 1/2" would be enough.
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A blade style bit works good for a job like this.
Adam Preble wrote:

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Is blade style and paddle bit the same item ??
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Use a paddle bit with an extension. Take your time, don't overload the drill, frequently ease up on it and let the internal fan cool the motor. Done with care, even a cheap drill will have no problem.
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On Sat, 17 Jun 2006 05:54:17 GMT, Adam Preble

I recommend that you rent a Milwaukee Hole Hawg from your local hardware store.
By the way, be careful. While I have never had a mishap with mine, I have heard of people hitting knots in the wood that they were drilling and having the Hole Hawg spin around and injure them. Be aware of how the drill is positioned before you apply power.
Sy
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It's unclear what the diameter of the hole will be. If only to pass some wires, 3/8" might be fine or 1/2" for Romex. Use a twist drill, and take several passes - .25" first, then larger. This will let you use your current drill but you'll have to buy some long bits. Alternately, rent a powerful drill, one large bit and an extension.
Adam Preble wrote:

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Adam Preble wrote:

Use a "Speed Bore" bit. They are spade shaped and do have extenders. The Speed Bore comes in sizes form (I think) 1/4" up to huge ones, are not all that expensive. The draw back is that the extenders will only go into a 5/8" or larger hole. You also have to keep pulling the bit out to clean out the chips, they don't self feed the chips.
The other option is electricians extended length twist drills. Not sure how long they come but they get some impressive lengths.
Harry K
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Drill hole in center of joist not near top or bottom which can weaken it.
Spade bits are cheap and work great even with a cheap drill, just be patient and drill slow.
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18" auger bits are quite easy to get. If you're using an auger or spade, you can't start small and redrill with larger bits. Or at least not easily.
You can get extended length drill bits from HD up to about 6', but they're pretty pricey.
Note that no matter what drill you use, by the time you get through about 6" of beam, the friction of the hole on the drill bit is pretty high. So if you're doubtful of an auger doing the hole with a particular drill, a twist or spade bit would probably not be that much better.
Augers generally clear chips so much better that they'll probably turn out easier in the long run for a hole like this.
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