Originally Posted by jkski
For anyone who may be considering going the cable railing route and better yet for those who suffered from stick shock when pricing it out like I did, I have found a more affordable supplier. After doing an extensive search, I cable across a company by the name of VistaView Cabletec and after talking to Paul (I believe the owner), I ended up ordering their products to complete my deck. The cost for me ended up being a little over double what it would have been to go with something like a wood balluster but the maintenance aspect is priceless!
Paul was great to work with and I will hopefully have the products by the weekend so that I can get to installing. In the end I will have 7 runs spanning a total of 95 feet and then 2 stairways which will be treated independent of the main runs......yeah, its a lot of holes to drill and drill straight nonetheless.
So, anyone got any great tips on how best to drill a hole thru a 6x6 post and remain perfectly centered on each side as not to have the cable go in one side at one height and come out the other at a slightly different height? Obviously using a level on the drill helps but any other thoughts are appreciated as I did not come this far to screw-up now!
For drilling, make a jig. If the side where the bit goes in is thick enough, you won't need to worry about whether it will meet the other side. How will this be installed- is this the kind that is anchored at one end, pulled from the other end and a ferrule tightened when the tension is adequate to secure the cable before cutting it (and capping the end)? Do the posts have a ferrule to conceal the holes where the cable passes through? If not, I would start those holes with a Forstner bit or brad point bit (Brad-Point bit). Buy good bits- the cheap ones will tear out and screw up the results but the jig would minimize this, too.
For the jig, I would use a scrap of the post material to act as a spacer with a piece of 2x8 screwed to the faces. Cut these a little longer than the height needed to reach the highest hole.
Draw a line along the 2x that will align with the centerline of the posts (or, wherever the cables will pass through), leaving about 1"-2" to the edge, for strength. Take a piece of scrap post stock and draw a line along the center, on both sides. Clamp one of the 2x pieces (with its own line for drilling) to it with the lines matched and screw it on- repeat on the other side. Once these are screwed in place, slide the other scrap of post material in, butt it up to the one with the 2x clamped to it and screw the 2x to the second piece. Mark where you want the holes and use a drill press to make the holes, drilling through the piece. Once these have been drilled, remove the post stock where you drilled the holes- your jig is complete. Slide it onto each post and clamp it in place. If you used some kind of trim at the intersection of the post and decking, notch the jig to allow it to sit directly on the decking- this will ensure that all holes are at the same spots on all posts.