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Cutting speaker holes

Old 10-12-2020, 11:54 AM
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Default Cutting speaker holes

Installing a stereo in the spring and not excited about drilling 5 inch wide holes in my boat for speakers. Any advice from someone who has done a speaker install? My plan was to use a new 5 inch hole saw. Seems less awkward then a jig saw?
Old 10-12-2020, 11:58 AM
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my hull is 1inch thick solid fiberglass. i drilled a 1 inch hole in it using a hole saw. a five inch hole saw will make easy work of the hole you want to make. definitely better than using a jigsaw.
Old 10-12-2020, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by mattnyc View Post
my hull is 1inch thick solid fiberglass. i drilled a 1 inch hole in it using a hole saw. a five inch hole saw will make easy work of the hole you want to make. definitely better than using a jigsaw.
thanks. Im only drilling through about a quarter inch I think. Ill just mask off the area with blue tape and cross my fingers. Nothing makes you pause more than drilling big holes in a boat
Old 10-12-2020, 12:05 PM
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I did some research on the forum about a year ago. I need to make an access whole to get to a retractable cleat that needs to be replaced. I did buy a 5" hole saw, but have yet to do the cut. From what I read, you want to run the saw the backwards to stop it from chipping the finish around the hole. Not sure if you should do this for some time then switch it forward or not.
Old 10-12-2020, 12:06 PM
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I did this recently, and the hole saw I had was a little bit undersized, about 1/4". I think it was also 5" but the cutout is 5 1/4 or something like that. I used calipers to scribe a line in the paint the actual cutout size, used the holesaw to remove the bulk of material, then used a flap wheel on a dremel up to the actual line. I had wanted to use a hole saw the exact right size and couldn't find one, but in hindsight I'm happy about that. I was not able to get a hole saw that large to make a perfect hole like I can with smaller ones, it jumped around to much before biting in all around. If it was the full size the hole would have been messy but being jut a bit undersized the hole was perfect by the time I finished sanding. Just remember to mark the real edge before you cut out the middle, it will be much harder to do at that point.
Old 10-12-2020, 12:07 PM
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verify whats behind the area drilling as much as possible!
Old 10-12-2020, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by frogbite View Post
I did some research on the forum about a year ago. I need to make an access whole to get to a retractable cleat that needs to be replaced. I did buy a 5" hole saw, but have yet to do the cut. From what I read, you want to run the saw the backwards to stop it from chipping the finish around the hole. Not sure if you should do this for some time then switch it forward or not.
i tape it off in painters tape. then run it in reverse until through the gelcoat then proceed with forward cutting!

i have found the a fresh sharp hole saw especially of the larger diameter " catch" and " jerk" alot more than a saw that has a little use prior to cutting the hole!
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Old 10-12-2020, 12:14 PM
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Can't hurt to use a piece of scrap wood to drill and prefit the speaker to make sure the hole saw is the correct size before cutting into your boat. The last thing you need is to cut a huge hole and realize it is the wrong for the speaker.
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Old 10-12-2020, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Tinkertoy250 View Post
thanks. Im only drilling through about a quarter inch I think. Ill just mask off the area with blue tape and cross my fingers. Nothing makes you pause more than drilling big holes in a boat
Run the drill in reverse until the teeth file through the gelcoat.
Old 10-12-2020, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Rabender View Post
Can't hurt to use a piece of scrap wood to drill and prefit the speaker to make sure the hole saw is the correct size before cutting into your boat. The last thing you need is to cut a huge hole and realize it is the wrong for the speaker.
already plan to do just that 👍🏼
Old 10-12-2020, 12:47 PM
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Nothing quite as scary as taking a giant hole saw to perfectly good fiberglass. I've never used that giant hole saw again but I have it if I need it.

Will also second the blue tape and going in reverse.

It is money well spent in making a good looking hole.
Old 10-12-2020, 04:11 PM
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I cut a 5 inch hole in my boat with a 5 inch hole saw for a 5 inch deck plate. Worked great and considering I was covering the hole I wasn't too concerned about the edges being slightly chipped. Just make sure you place the hole where you want a hole otherwise you'll be pretty aggravated.
Edit... I didn't use tape to prevent chipping or run the saw in reverse.

It's a very nice hole.
Old 10-12-2020, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Lifeislarge View Post
I cut a 5 inch hole in my boat with a 5 inch hole saw for a 5 inch deck plate. Worked great and considering I was covering the hole I wasn't too concerned about the edges being slightly chipped. Just make sure you place the hole where you want a hole otherwise you'll be pretty aggravated.
Edit... I didn't use tape to prevent chipping or run the saw in reverse.

It's a very nice hole.
it is a nice hole 👌🏼
Old 10-12-2020, 05:03 PM
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I also used a hole saw. Used tape too but did not run the drill in reverse. No chipping.
Old 10-12-2020, 05:05 PM
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I’ve done holes with a jig saw, hole saw and most recently a dremel with a cutting bit. Hole saw was the quickest and cleanest by sure. Jig saw sucked IMO.
Old 10-12-2020, 05:44 PM
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agree, check behind area make sure its clear of wires, etc, tape area- draw area with template/center hole, run hole saw in reverse, start drill before teeth are engaged on the surface. if fiberglass is thick, sometimes, I drill small holes around the template to make it easier on the hole saw/ drill.
Old 10-13-2020, 06:35 AM
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https://www.malcoproducts.com/produc...-hole-cutters/
they work great in fiberglass. I have cut dozens of speaker holes in my boats as well as many friends and dock mates.
Old 10-13-2020, 06:41 AM
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That honestly looks awesome but 2 of the places I need to cut are a little tight not sure I could easily get the drill all the way around
Old 10-13-2020, 06:50 AM
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Hole saw of that size is no joke. Run it forward long enough to punch through with the pilot bit, then reverse to grind out the gel coat, then forward again to finish the cut. I personally break out my big 1/2" corded drill with a side handle for those. Extra weight and side handle give you a lot better control than a cordless drill does.
Old 10-13-2020, 06:54 AM
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I have one that I have actually cut so that it will fit into tight spaces. As an old retired sheet metal worker we use these a lot years ago and it is amazing how fast you can cut an exact hole with these things after a little practice. I usually check the setting by making test cuts using the boxes the speakers come in. Just cut an inch or so 180 degrees and measure.

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