Bits of Trial and Error

Installing a new faucet with an undermount sink requires one to drill their own mounting holes.  This wasn’t physically difficult to do even though our butcher block counters are 1.5 inches thick and made of oak – but it was probably the most time consuming part of night 3’s work because of all the trial and error we went through to finish.

We opened our neatly packaged faucet, removed all the bubble wrap and tape to find this somewhat intimidating sight:

Quite a few parts, both large and small, and illustration-only instructions to guide us through the process. The visual instructions actually ended up being fantastic however, the tiny detail that Moen decided to exclude from the directions was what size holes to drill into our countertops.  The instructions begin by assuming that your sink deck holes are already in place.

No fear, a quick visit to Moen’s website to check out the full PDF of product specs revealed that our parts fit a minimum size hole of 1.25 inches. Tip: If you are ever unsure about something in the instructions for your fixtures or appliances we recommend hitting up the manufacturers websites. It’s amazing how much more information they post there compared to what’s printed on or included in the box.

We immediately assembled our parts, again super-easy with the instructions included in the box, and began marking where all our new parts would sit around the sink.  Next, we whipped out our handy Black and Decker 12 volt, cordless drill and the appropriate drill bit.

We quickly discovered after a few minutes of trying to drill our first hole that this 12 volt business was not for us – it was working but was going to take FOREVER.

Enter our new and improved 120 volt corded drill, also by Black and Decker. 

We ran up to True Value with plans to purchase an upgraded 18 volt cordless drill but the manager informed us that those 6 volts weren’t going to help much in a cordless drill and that to really cut through butcher block, corded was the way to go. Not to jump ahead, but he wasn’t lying!

Made it home with the new beast of a drill just in time to realize that the drill bit we already owned and had started the hole with wasn’t going to be deep enough to cut through the thickness of our countertops (d’oh!).  True Value was closing while we were picking out our new drill, so this time we ran to Lowe’s for a new, deeper drill bit. Much better right?

Not about to make ANOTHER trip to Lowe’s for multiple bits, we bought out the store with additional options just in case our new guy didn’t work.  We bought different styles and different sizes just in case.

It’s a good thing that we did. The first bit did a great job, cut through the wood so quickly that we didn’t get a photo – but we couldn’t get the wood block it cut-out out of the bit so that we could use it again (double d’oh!).  Plus the little guy got so hot he started smoking and burned. Not sure he would have made it through three more holes.

Good thing we picked up that Irwin Speedbor. It whipped through the last 3 holes like nothing! The down side to the boring bit is that it’s less stable so you have to be more careful when you start drilling and it makes a huge mess – but fantastic finished holes. Again in all the excitement we forgot to snap photos.

But here’s how it all worked out:

The moral of this story? If you’re installing wooden countertops invest in a corded drill. Ours was $40 and well worth it.  Also, don’t be afraid to buy extra bits and then return the unused ones later. It will save you a bit of sanity to have options on hand and we only paid $6 for each one we picked up.

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