“Just Drill a Hole”


“Just Drill a Hole”

Brendan Scott, June 09

I drilled a hole today (two in fact) to hang a picture over a mantlepiece.  It involved the following:

  1. select tools from the shed I think I’ll need;
  2. change the light bulb (which had blown) so I could see what I was doing – I have had 6 bulbs blow around the house in the last two or three weeks, three in the same room – of these two were fluourscent long life bulbs, and each lasted under two weeks :-/
  3. removing the dynabolt that the previous owners had left in middle of the chimney (protruding about 50 mm) (not easy because someone had damaged the threads, so removing the nut was hard, but not impossible [update: If you’re coming here from google ‘remove dynabolt’ – I did it by removing the nut, pushing the bolt and sleeves forward, then removing the sleeves, but it was somewhat easier for me because someone had made a right great hole in the wall trying to get it out earlier – see 4]);
  4. put some spakfiller into the enormous hole left by the dynabolt (enormous hole mostly already there, apparently from someone else’s previous attempt to remove it);
  5. go back to the shed maybe two or three times because I hadn’t taken enough tools (eg pliers to hold the dynabolt steady while removing the nut);
  6. measuring the picture and deciding to use two hooks, finding two hooks and two wall plugs in the shed;
  7. going to Bunnings to buy some pan headed screws sufficient to hold the picture (I have used 10g, this may be overkill);
  8. actually buying them somewhere else, because Bunnings only seems to have countersunk screws (countersunk would be adequate, I am just being a perfectionist here);
  9. measuring the picture – the back had two hook locations marked on the back in pencil from the last time I hung it, so I didn’t need to calculate where they ought to go;
  10. using the height of the picture estimating adequate clearance from the top of the mantlepiece;
  11. based on the desired height, finding the centre of the chimney, and marking (more or less) level two drill spots equidistant of that point each half the width between the hook marks on the back of the picture;
  12. removing all the palaver from the mantlepiece, and from in front of the fireplace so that I could gain access and not have dust fall on everything;
  13. realise (having removed the dynabolt), that the chimney was render to a significant depth (45mm?), so need a smaller drill bit for the plugs;
  14. go back to the shed to get the smaller drill bit;
  15. get an extension cord from the next room because the power point is too far away;
  16. go downstairs to get another extension cord, because the first was still not long enough;
  17. notice that the hooks would be above the picture rail which is already there (juts out about 20mm), so decide to cut some spacers for the hooks (subtask:);
    1. go down to the shed
    2. mark off two spacers in some wood and two drill holes
    3. take out saw horse, unfold legs, tighten wing nut to secure them
    4. clamp wood to saw horse
    5. drill holes through roughly the centre of each spacer
    6. saw off the two spacers
    7. unclamp wood, return clamps
    8. undo wing nuts on saw horse, fold legs, put away
  18. mark depth for drill bit based on length of plugs
  19. drill two holes in the wall (this step actually took under 3 minutes, maybe under 1 minute)
  20. bang in plugs;
  21. cut off about 8-9mm from each plug jutting from wall (because that’s where I hit the bricks under the render);
  22. screw the hooks through the wood and into the plugs in the wall (embedment about 30mm);
  23. hang the picture
  24. clean up bits of render thrown out when drilling the holes
  25. replace all the palaver I had to move earlier
  26. take tools back to shed.

Estimate of total time taken, excluding trips to Bunnings etc: 2-3 hours.

Next time someone asks you to ‘just drill a hole’, point them here.

1 Response to ““Just Drill a Hole””


  1. 1 Malcolm Tredinnick 21 June 2009 at 5:17 am

    Indeed. :-)

    If you’re anything like me, step 23 also disguises about four hours of effort spread over a couple of weeks as you constantly adjust the picture to appear level to both you and everybody else in the household.


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