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Galvanized Trough Drilling 101

By springcolor
March 19, 2016

Using galvanized livestock troughs for planting is a great idea, but the drilling is no easy job.

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Name: Rob Duval
Mason, New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
Region: New Hampshire Vegetable Grower Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tomato Heads
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robertduval14
Mar 18, 2016 7:42 PM CST

Plants Admin

Personally, I would have used a cone shaped step bit. But this is mainly a personal preference.
Thumb of 2016-03-19/robertduval14/46c15a

Also, sand is NOT very kind to drill bits or just about any other cutting edge. I'd recommend placing wood under the drilling location rather than pushing the bit into the earth.

Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
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springcolor
Mar 18, 2016 8:06 PM CST
I have never seen bits like that. I was thinking of buying one more trough but the thought of drilling holes again has put that on hold. Yes wood would be much better to drill into, I agree.

I thought this drilling project would be a 20 to 30 minute job but took most of the afternoon. I'm use to drilling holes in plastic containers.

A fun project. Thanks for the tips on improving the drilling project.
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Name: Rob Duval
Mason, New Hampshire (Zone 5b)
Region: New Hampshire Vegetable Grower Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tomato Heads
Annuals Hostas Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Spiders! Dog Lover Region: Northeast US
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robertduval14
Mar 18, 2016 8:11 PM CST

Plants Admin

The small starting tips on the step bits make drilling holes into metal a breeze, and then you just push it through till you get to the size you need. The trouble you are having is with that particular bits flat faced tip. It's taking a lot more 'push' to get the cutting edge of the bit to 'bite' the metal.
Name: Julia
Washington State (Zone 7a)
Garden Photography Region: Pacific Northwest Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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springcolor
Mar 18, 2016 8:22 PM CST
Yes, that is exactly right.
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Name: Carl Boro
Milpitas, CA (Zone 10b)
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coboro
Mar 19, 2016 12:14 PM CST
Rob is exactly right. Step drills are the perfect tool to use to drill holes in sheet metal. I'll bet the big drill grabbed and spun the drill motor as it broke through. Step drills don't do that. Much safer for your wrists.

And if there are ragged edges on the back side of the hole, just run the step drill in from that side and it will take them off easily.

You can get a cheap set at Harbor Freight, usually for about 14 bucks or just an 1/8" to 3/4" bit for $6.
Carl
Name: Greg Colucci
Seattle WA (Zone 8b)
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gg5
Mar 19, 2016 5:55 PM CST
If I do any more of these troughs, I'll use these step drill heads, thanks Julia for creating this Tip/Idea and thanks Bob for the step drill idea!! I tip my hat to you.
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Name: Carl Boro
Milpitas, CA (Zone 10b)
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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coboro
Mar 20, 2016 2:21 AM CST
And while you are at Harbor Freight or the hardware store buying the step bit, pick up a little bottle of cutting fluid for steel. It will make the drilling easier and make the drill bit last much longer before it needs to be sharpened.
Carl
Name: LG
Nashvillle (Zone 7a)
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Mieko2
Mar 20, 2016 5:04 AM CST
Thank you so much for these tips. I bought a nice trough that I am going to try to grow lavender and penstemon in. Those plants rot in my ground over the winter. I will buy a step bit before I try drilling. Thank You!
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LG

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