Drilling seat drain hole

I would like to put a drain hole in the bottom of the fiberglass seat in my Impex Force. I really do not want to use a power drill with the seat in the kayak because I know I will figure out the way to go completely through the hull. Is there a way to safely put a hole in the seat while it is in the kayak without cracking the fiberglass seat or risking a drill bit going through the hull.

I think it is going to be a real pain to try and get the seat out, but that may be my only choice.


Use a drill stop
I’m not sure of the correct name. It’s a collar that goes over the business end of the bit and tightens with an allen screw to control the depth of the hole. Then just drill slowly.

If you’re brave, you can try the same thing with multiple wraps of tape on the bit.

You’re close…bit stop
and you can make one using pieces of wood or plywood. Just drill holes through pieces of wood and leave them on the drill bit. Do this until the bit is sticking out of the wood far enough to drill the hole through the seat. Be Careful.


Never heard of bit stop. That sounds just like what I need.


A bit stop is also called a collar
and it works well. In my Sirocco, I slipped a piece of 1/4" tempered hardboard under the seat and used a hand drill. That way, I could control it better, and if I did slip, it would only hit the hardboard.

The dril stop sounds like a great idea, though honestly i’ve never seen one. If you can’t locate one of those, here’s what i’d do

#1 see if you can squeeze a piece of scrap metal between the hull and the seat, then drill as hard as you like.

#2, find a short drillbit and set it to it barely sticks out of the drill’s chuck.,if you can’t find one short enough,shorten what have you (a vice and a hammer work great evil grin)

:slight_smile: if any of the above scare you, take the drillbit and drill by hand,fiberglass is not THAT hard.

I just use masking tape wrapped
generously around the bit to limit depth of hole. Couldn’t be any easier, or cheaper

And put a piece of masking tape…
,on the seat itself where you intend to drill it just to assure that it does not fray or splinter from the drill bit.

I agree also with stickman above re tape put on drill bit.

If you ever saw

– Last Updated: Nov-14-07 10:10 PM EST –

me using power tools you would never use the word "simple" or "easy" when describing how to do something. If there is a way to mess it up I manage to find it. In my former working life they would let me sit down at a computer and write code that ran the entire plant almost unattended. But if they saw me going outside with a screwdriver in hand to check instrumentation, I had at least 3 people volunteering to do the checkout for me. A man has got to know his limits.

Thanks for all the help


and while your drilling
go ahead a skelatize the whole thing, usually way to much material in the seat anyway…problems i’ve seen are in the seat supports-where it touches or doesn’t the hull…make it look like swiss cheese

Several thoughts:
Put your hand under the seat and when it starts to bleed, you know it is time to stop!

Thought number one: I have a whole set of the bit collars (stops) and if you use one, it should be only a smidgeon diameter larger than the drill and even then you need to make sure that the set screw is on metal and not in one of the grooves.

Thought number two: I have drilled several in several different kayak seats, and I slide a piece of steel plate under the seat, (knowing that I have a heavy hand).



Habor Freight
sells cheap tool sets that are good enough to do some light duty home projects. I bought a set similar to this:

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=91310 including special bits with flat heads and the matching colars for $5-$10.

If you feel uncomfortable doing it yourself, why don’t you ask a friend. I know, we “man” don’t like to ask for help … but this is such an easy and little job to do for someone moderately skilled … I help my friends all the time and this job pays by itself with a little kayak talk.



another piece of advice
Whether you use a stop or a piece of material as a shield, do NOT drill as hard as you want. Take your time, let the bit do the work (no pressure) and you’ll reduce the possibility of cracking.

Slow drilling
Here are three options:

  • For small holes (a seat drain doesn’t need to be large), I use a pin vise to hold the bit and twist it through by hand. Pin vises are inexpensive and handy to have.

  • Hand crank drills are still available and are reasonably priced, especially at yard sales and pawnshops.

  • One of the handiest tools I own is a variable-speed cordless electric drill. The low speed range (meant for driving screws) provides outstanding control when drilling slowly.

I’ve drilled two holes without any additional tools, just do it careful - it’s simple.

See http://ostfriesland-entdecken.de/img/seat.jpg

(OK, holes didn’t help in this case…)

if you can see the edge of the seat
then you have a good idea of how thick the seat actually is…

look at the front edge to see the thickness…then you have a good place to start with for how deep to go…

then go carefully…


Easy Drill Stop Collar

– Last Updated: Nov-15-07 9:48 AM EST –

If you're in a hurry and/or really cheap, you can find something similar at your local hobby shop catering to the radio-controlled aircraft crowd. Ask for a wheel collar, used to hold the wheels onto model airplane axles:

Available in several sizes, buy the one that corresponds to your drill bit and simply slide it on and lock in place with the included Allen wrench.

If possible though, I'd instead use the suggestion below of sliding a small sheet of hardboard or plywood between the seat bottom and the hull, as a safety barrier. As long as you aren't unnecessarily leaning onto the drill, and you pause now and then to check, you shouldn't go through the barrier too.

there you go
Great advice, never thought of a pin vice.