Update on my in wall wiring fiasco


Active Member
Some of you may remember I posted a question BC (Before Crash) asking about drilling between the first and second floors in wall from the attic.

Well I went ahead and ordered the bit 72" drill bit with the 36" extension.

First off, the drill bit is awesome. That thing grabs the wood and grabs it good. (Problem number 1 we'll get to later).

Secondy, a word of advice. When you get an extension and it's the wrong diameter, don't just shrug and say, "eh, I'll just tighten the set screws a little more and it'll work." IT WON'T! (Problem number 2 we'll get to later)

So I drilled a 1" hole from the attic down into the top of the wall, attach my drill bit to my extension and lower it down. Jumped down to the bathroom real quick just to make sure I'm where I should be and sure enough, there's the bit peeking through the hole I'd made where the drilling will ensue.

Got my happy butt back up into the attic, which is now well into the 90-100+ degree mark. Just a little warm. And commense drilling. For about 10-15 minutes. I went until the battery died. Now before you say, "wow, this guy is dumb." To my credit it was going slow and I have about a foot of wood to drill through. The dumb part is coming up.

During the 10-15 minutes of drilling there was one point where the drill bit seemed to get hung up so I popped the drill in reverse backed the bit out (or so I thought) and went again. No more trouble.

Back to the end of the drilling. I thought it'd be a good idea to hop down and check out my progress while grabbing the other battery for the drill. I backed the bit out of the wood, and lifted what I thought was both the drill bit and extension up out of the hole.

To my shock and horror the extension slipped out of my drill and proceeded right down the hole in the attic and into the wall. All I could think was, "what the hell just happened?" I went down stairs to my guide hole look through and there's my drill bit still buried to the hilt in wood and there's my extension sitting right next to it.

After I grabbed the end of the extension and nearly burned my hand on it I realized what happened. When the bit got hung up and I thought I had back it out I had actually broken whatever was keeping hold on the bit. And the entire 10-15 minutes I was sweating up in the attic the extension was spinning around the bit and the bit wasn't doing a damn thing.

So now I've got to figure out how to fish a 36" dowl of metal out of a 1" diameter hole that's 8' below. Not to mention get the bit out of the wood and then fished out as well.

Moral of the story, if you buy tools and one doesn't seem to fit just right, "good enough" may not and you might put yourself in a heck of a situation in just a few more minutes.
1) Unclear from your post if you have access to the top of the extension or not. If you do, just lower a string down through the hole and tie/tape it to the top of the extension. You'll probably need to tie a small weight to the string to get it down to the bottom.

2) Much harder if you don't have access to the top of the extension. Same string idea as above, but attach as strong a magnet as you can get through the hole up top. Fish around until you see/hear/feel the magnet grab onto the extension, then CAREFULLY pull the string and extension back up.

3) If neither 1) or 2) don't work, either cough up the dough to buy a new extension, or destroy the wall enough to get the extension out from the bottom.

If you think this is fun, try hitting 1.5" wide walls (instead of the normal 4" or 6" width) from the top. :)
I vote for the magnet as well. There are also long rods available with magnets on the end of them. Look for them in your auto parts store. They are used for fishing out parts that fall into engine compartments.
the magnet will work fine to recover this drill bit, I have one that's fairly strong and is mounted on a telescopic antenna, I have used it to pick up heavier things. I got it pretty cheap at Harbor Freight, or Home Depot, can't remember.

This is why I just cut an opening into the walls now (about 2'ft high) instead of even considering going through the attic, then use my simple flexible extension to make the hole, then I can either use a low voltage gang box (they are open in the back) and a blank plate to cover up the hole, or just patch the sheetrock again, both ways look great if done right.
How in the world can you hit any where near the center of the wall plate from the attic. I'm amazed you didn't drill out the side of the plate and into the ceiling. Also aren't you supposed to connect the wire from below and pull it as you remove the drill bit? If you remove the drill bit how will you ever hit the holes?
Paint is cheap.... I plan on adding a wired network all thoughout my house and am simply going to cut large squares out of the wall and patch them after i am done running the cables. Paint is so cheap and i have scrap wood to assist in the patching of the holes. Sorry i cant provide a solution from you but you may want to resort to a razor blade and a straight edge. Cut a large square out of the walls so you have pleny of room to work. Drill one hole and then hang a plum bob from that hole to mark the spot for the second hole.
Sounds like you are going to have to cut a hole in the wall to get the bit out since, if I'm not mistaken, you said that the bit was still stuck in the wood and only the extension is loose in the wall.

Patching sheetrock is not that hard if you take it slow. It can be pretty messy though.

Luckily I have only had to go through the floor or the top plate but not both.

luckily I already have a hole at the bottom of the wall that's actually inside a set of cabinets so I was able to see where I was drilling and to make sure everything was kosher.

No so luckily the extension doesn't flex enough to get out of said hole.

I'd thought about the magnit trick and will probably give that a shot. I've also thought about popping a hole higher in the wall and covering it up as E described. I'd rather not go that route if I can avoid it but if it turns out to be too much work I won't have much of a choice.

As for patching the hole when I'm done, that's an option but I don't trust myself to do a job I'd be happy with. I'd rather go with using a blank face plate instead.

Who knew owning your own place could be this much fun? I'm LOVING it! :)
ericvic, you were absolutely right.

I ended up cutting a hole higher in the sheet rock so I could get the extension out, but I worked at the bit for a good 20-30 minutes to break it loose from the wood.

It came out without breaking which was great so I was able to get right back into it again today.

Unfortunatly I was putting too much of a bend in the bit and it snapped in half after about 10 minutes of drilling.

Home Depot to the rescue! I was able to buy a bendable adapter that lets me do a 90 degree turn with a regular drill bit. This seems to be working much better.

This project is awesome!
Drilling holes inside walls can be a pain in the a**. But its really nice to have built-in network in every room in the house. I'm still working on that one because I have only refinished 3 rooms so far.

I know I could go wireless but I wanted better speed and eventually I will have all my media on a server and gigabit ethernet will be real nice so that everyone can watch a different DVD on their own computer or TV.

Hope everything works out OK for you. Keep us updated on the progress.

dude, you ain't lyin'. Oh, and I managed to overheat the flex adapter and it snapped as well.

This is turing into one expensive hole, lol.

Anybody got any hints when it comes to drilling something like this? I'm not sure what the deal is.
what kind of drill do you have? I have the Home Depot 36" flex adapter so I can use my own bits, and while it gets hot, I can not break it, even using my corded drill.
I have the Skil 12v cordless drill. It's certainly no monster of drills. The flex extension was this one, but I picked it up at home depot.

E, can you link me to the one you got? Maybe it's just a heavier duty one than I had?
You sure you're not trying to drill through a nail? I'm doing this stuff for a career now, and I've found that I almost need to buy a new bit for every house. Even in new contruction, it's almost impossible to avoid hitting a nail once or twice. Give a framing contractor a nail gun, and it's like giving a male dog a yard full of fire hydrants. The stuff just flies everywhere. :wacko: