Containers forum: Can a hole be drilled in a clay pot?

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Name: Keith
West Babylon, NY (Zone 7a)
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keithp2012
Jan 26, 2016 12:54 PM CST
I have nice clay pots with no drainage holes. I was wondering with a drill if I could drill a hole in the bottom or will this crack the pot?
[Last edited by keithp2012 - Jan 26, 2016 12:55 PM (+)]
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Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
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ge1836
Jan 26, 2016 12:57 PM CST
You can drill thru clay or ceramic but you need a special drill bit.
http://www.homedepot.com/p/Bosch-Glass-and-Tile-Drill-Bit-Se...
Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
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pardalinum
Jan 26, 2016 1:06 PM CST
Oh thanks Jo Ann. I think I could use a set of drill bits like that.
Name: Jo Ann Gentle
Pittsford NY (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cat Lover Heucheras Hellebores Container Gardener
Birds Region: New York Irises Garden Ideas: Master Level Avid Green Pages Reviewer Lilies
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ge1836
Jan 28, 2016 4:04 AM CST
Connie, So do I.
That might be a purchase for this spring. I have a few hand made pottery pieces that would make neat planters,alas they would need to be in for the winter.
I am trying to cut back on those types of chores.
Ireland . (Zone 9a)
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Paddy
Feb 15, 2016 3:40 PM CST
There's lots of videos on this .
https://youtu.be/vm9czwnXkas . Remember to drill slowly with a masonry bit and don't use too much pressure as you break through .
Name: Ann
PA (Zone 6b)
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AnnofPA
Feb 15, 2016 7:19 PM CST
Hi All!

I use a diamond tip hole saw. I can't find the tutorial video I originally used, but here's another site that may be helpful to you. http://gardeningonadime.com/drill-drainage-holes-ceramic-pot...

I've put holes in terracotta and ceramic pots. It took a few tries to get started, but use some water and you have to start at an angle to sorta chip the pot to get started and then patiently drill the rest of the way through with controlled pressure, making sure there's some water in the hole. Note: If you're putting too much pressure on the drill and the hole is created before you realize it, you risk smashing the pot w/your drill. I may, or may not, be speaking from experience ; )

I purchased my drill bit at Lowe's. I can't recall the diameter I purchased, but I could check if you'd like. I recall Amazon had sets, which would've been ideal, but I believe they were shipped from China and I had some new pots from an estate sale that I was anxious to get holes into. The planter possibilities are endless : )
[Last edited by AnnofPA - Feb 15, 2016 7:27 PM (+)]
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Name: Eric
North Georgia, USA (Zone 7b)
Region: Georgia Garden Ideas: Level 1
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CommonCents
Feb 19, 2016 6:37 PM CST
I use "masonry bits" on unglazed clay (terra cotta) pots. For example, http://www.homedepot.com/p/Bosch-3-8-in-x-4-in-x-6-in-Fast-S... Go slow, especially as you finish the hole. Too much pressure will break away large chunks as the last bits are cut away, and if you press too hard, you can smack the thing with the drill chuck and smash the pot. Don't ask me how I know this.

For glazed clay pots, or for glass, diamond tipped hole saws are great, and carbide "glass drill bits" like the bosch set that ge1836 linked to also work reasonably well.
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
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needrain
Mar 16, 2016 8:40 AM CST
I've just used masonry bits for terra cotta and ceramic. My experience is that the bits wear out quickly compared to bits used for drilling metal or wood. It's tedious, but can be done. I've read that putting a piece of duct tape over the back keeps the hole from chipping out, but I've never tried the tape. There is a lot of variation in the hardness of different terra cotta types. I guess depending on what clay is used and how it's processed while being made. Maybe the firing, I don't know. I've done a lot so I can hang pots.
Thumb of 2016-03-16/needrain/15478d Really hard material to drill


Thumb of 2016-03-16/needrain/2aa47d Brown terra cotta. Harder than regular.


Thumb of 2016-03-16/needrain/0ebb1a Regular, good quality. Easier to drill than above.

Donald

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