How to drill into a secret room you suspect lies in the voids of your pre-war home


Originally published at:


Do it! Do it! Do it!

(Or get @Medievalist to do it?)


I seem to remember you posting about an old safe you found in your house. Did you ever get it open?


The upside of this approach is that you can make a clean plug for the hole using the same hole saw and some fresh new drywall.

I help take buildings apart professionally (among other things). I prefer a rock hammer and a heavy prybar. Take no prisoners.


Have you read House of Leaves? I’d be careful…


Came here to ask the same Q! Do tell!


A 1 1/2" hole saw is a clunky, needlessly destructive way to explore the space. You can buy or rent small diameter inspection cameras on cables for just this purpose (for example, Milwaukee #2313-21 12-volt cordless M-Spector with 9mm head, sold at Home Depot). Just drill a small hole with a carbide bit and poke the camera through, then spackle the hole later after you realize you mis-measured and just drilled a hole into your bathroom.


Use one of these, sparingly.


Pre-war, huh? You don’t say…


We had our kitchen redone, and faced a closed-in lower corner cabinet (or lack-of-cabinet); just dead space. Big enough for a dead body, but no such luck. We did find an old library card, and a Safeway coupon from maybe the 1970’s. I wanted to try using the coupon just for laughs, but we gave both to the city historical society instead.


Either that, or you’ll find a safe in it.


Well, truthfully I’d love to buy or rent a $200 tool instead of just picking up a $5 hole saw, but the Chancellor of the Exchequer would not be amused.

You sure wouldn’t want to see how I make inspection holes in drywall if you think this technique is too intrusive. :slight_smile: Or, for that matter, how I cut a hive of bees out of the barn a couple of weeks ago.

I don’t think you read my instructions, did you? Walls have two sides.

True story, though, somewhat related: I was drilling through a floor in a 204 year old stone building, and thought I had measured perfectly… but when I broke through, it seemed like the yard-long 1" Hilti bit was immediately tangled in something. So I went downstairs, and there was nary a bit to be seen in the place where it should have come through. Searching in a spiral out from there, I eventually found it - I had run the bit into a coil of copper refrigeration piping full of high pressure freon, where it miraculously had not broken any of the tubing wrapped around it. This was embarrassingly far away from where I thought it would come out, in the equipment space at the top of a giant walk-in freezer that held some long-running scientific experiments in progress. Needless to say I have been a lot more careful about my measurements ever since!


I paid under $20 for my endoscope. It is also useful for looking for stuff that fell behind the dresser, for inspecting things under the hood of my car, and for admiring my ear hair.


Man, I want a good fibre optic camera or “lens” for investigating burrows. Anyone got a recommendation? They had one for cars at Costco a while back, but it was pricy enough to give me pause.


Hmm, can you sterilize it? Only once every couple of years. Just asking.


10 find out safe
20 abandon explore wall instead
30 goto 10


Is that…fortran?


Ballista? It’s a ballista, right?


Be sure you thoroughly document the event. You might find a Pharonic barge.

But be careful.


What other things do you take apart professionally?

Asking for a friend.