Hollow Drill Question

I like pallet wood. Free wood is always popular. Been thinking on getting nais out of pallet wood. Problem is, considtency in getting the nails out. I hate wating wood, cutting pieces short, just to get rid of the nails that broke off. So, figured on using a hollow drill bit, then plugging the hole with a piece of dowel.
I checked a few sites for prices on hollow drill bits. they're going for around $20+ for one. Too rich for me. OK, no biggie, steel tubing, file teeth on one end, have at it.
But, then another think. The nail, and a bit of the surrounding wood, is gonna stick in the bit, and probably won't come out by shaking. Which means, drill the nail out, take the bit out of the drill, push the debris out, put the bit back in the drill, repeat. Reliable, but slow, and a PITA.
Offhand, about the only thing I've come up with is, make the bit over long, with a slit in one side so I can insert something, and slide the debris out. No tubing yet, so not tried any of it, but I'm thinking this might weaken the tube too much to use - we're talking around 1/8" ID here, with a nail 2-3" long. So, maybe the slit not completely to the end.
So, the questions is: Does anyone have any realistic ideas on making a hollow drill bit that will allow getting the debris out, without removing the bit from the drill?
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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J T wrote:

Probably not. When you think about it your description, sans diameter, is a description of a Milwaukee, or just about any other, hole saw. They have slots and holes in the top of the bit (in Milwaukee's case, at least), the el cheapos have a spring steel saw affair with the slot in the side. In either case it's a PITA to get the wood plug out of the damn bit. It will only get harder with the smaller diameter of your hollow drill bit.
Bottom line: after all this time I suspect if there was a better mousetrap to be had, Milwaukee or some other tool maker would have come up with it.
Nail broken off? Why not just take a stout nail set and drive it on through? Would certainly work with the 1 by stuff on the pallet. The rails might be a different story.
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Sun, Feb 13, 2005, 9:24pm (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@ameritech.net (UnquestionablyConfused) says: <snip> In either case it's a PITA to get the wood plug out of the damn bit. It will only get harder with the smaller diameter of your hollow drill bit. <snip> Nail broken off? Why not just take a stout nail set and drive it on through? Would certainly work with the 1 by stuff on the pallet. The rails might be a different story. Ah ha. You have given me a thought. Should be no problem to sweat a small collar torward the top of the bit. Then, take the bit out, set it in a vise, resting on the collar, then some type of a punch to punch the debris clear. Not fast, but workable.
The rails are what I'm thinking of mostly. Normally don't have a problem with the slats.
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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I went through the remove-the-nail-with-the-hollow-drill proceedure several years ago. I couldn't get the thing to work as advertized. I only managed to burn a hole and smoke up the room. What I now do, if my metal detector says there is metal down there, is chop it out with one of my discount chisels. I then square off the hole, squirt in the glue, insert the plug/insert and finally smooth it off. Sometimes I just leave the hole. IMHO all those hollow drills do remove is the green stuff from your wallet. Larry
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Columbia, MO
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Sun, Feb 13, 2005, 9:24pm (EST+5) snipped-for-privacy@mchsi.com (LawrenceL'Hote) says: <snip> is chop it out with one of my discount chisels. <snip>
Well, that gives me an option I hadn't thought of.
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On Sun, 13 Feb 2005 15:50:41 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

if you're planning on drilling from the head end of the nail, you'll need something more like 3/8" inside diameter, probably a bit more to allow for slightly bent or crooked nails. your outside diameter is gonna be something like 1/2"- which is a standard plug diameter.
high speed stees tubing can be had, but I don't think it's gonna be particularly cheap.
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Sun, Feb 13, 2005, 6:34pm (EST-2) snipped-for-privacy@all.costs says: if you're planning on drilling from the head end of the nail, you'll need something more like 3/8" inside diameter, probably a bit more to allow for slightly bent or crooked nails. your outside diameter is gonna be something like 1/2"- which is a standard plug diameter. high speed stees tubing can be had, but I don't think it's gonna be particularly cheap.
Not sure I'd have to go that big, the nails I've been seeing have pretty small heads, about like finishing nails.
I figure it would still be a lot cheaper than buying the drills. Anyway, I'm pretty sure I can come up with some free.
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On Sun, 13 Feb 2005 18:34:56 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@all.costs wrote:

Have you considered using a push rod from an old engine. They are hollow, a fair grade of metal, cut the ends off and it's easy to heat treat, dirt cheap at the junk yard, also a number of sizes. david
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote in 3157.bay.webtv.net:

I'm always amazed at how far folks go to reclaim pallet wood. Looked at it a couple of times, and it just seemed to cause more problems than it was worth, to me at least.
What's really nice, though, is doing things for other folks, and having them bring you free wood, or pointing in the direction of cheap and/or free wood. My wood racks are overflowing.
Tree trimmers. Builders. Freight dunnage. Folks retiring from woodworking, one way or another. Scrap/overstock from cabinet, millwork and moulding shops. Folks who want to say thank you, somehow. Seems wood does grow on trees, at least for hobbyists.
Patriarch
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Sun, Feb 13, 2005, 10:31pm (EST-1) snipped-for-privacy@nospam.comcast.dot.net (Patriarch) says: I'm always amazed at how far folks go to reclaim pallet wood. Looked at it a couple of times, and it just seemed to cause more problems than it was worth, to me at least. <snip>
Have you no sense of adventure? Besides being free, that's part of the fun.
JOAT Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong. - David Fasold
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Seems a lot of bother, there is no lack of pallets so why be so picky about a few splits. What i do is use a crowbar and bits of wood to stop bruising. Works most times. The nails from guns mostly go all the way through anyway. Then place rails in vice and use claw hammer.
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Sun, Feb 13, 2005, 11:32pm (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@btinternet.com (dzine) says: Seems a lot of bother, <snip>
See my response to Patriarch.
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On Sun, 13 Feb 2005 15:50:41 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:
Being lazy, I always go for the easiest way.. I think I'd try using a conduit hole cutter to cut a 1/2" circle around the head, maybe 1/4" deep.. break off the inside of the circle with an old screwdriver or chisel and pull the nail with a "wonder bar"..

mac
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Mon, Feb 14, 2005, 8:20am (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@splinters.comcast.net (macdavis) says: <snip> and pull the nail with a "wonder bar"..
I've not had good results with pulling, hence the question.
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On Mon, 14 Feb 2005 18:10:10 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

hmm... maybe an M-14 with wad cutters? *g*
mac
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Tue, Feb 15, 2005, 8:32am (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@splinters.comcast.net (macdavis) asks: hmm... maybe an M-14 with wad cutters? *g*
Ah, now you're starting to make sense.
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On Sun, 13 Feb 2005 15:50:41 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J T) wrote:

We've got some hollow carbide bits at work (for drilling metal) that have a spring-loaded pin that pushes the waste out. The bits are mounted in a morse taper, so you'd likely have to set up the spring a little differently (maybe a pop-rivet would work?), but if a spring can push out a 2" x 5/8" dia. steel plug, it's likely to work with wood. Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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A technique I've found handy with wide head pallet nail is to drill out the head and then pull apart. A friend of mine use a soldering iron which in my opinion seems a stupid idea but he claims the soldering iron expands the metal, which, when it cools makes it shrink and making it looser in the pallet. Personally I think he's burning timber.
I too like working with pallet wood. I've used it on a lot of outdoor projects and currently saving enough to build a shed.
TR
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