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Harry Wilkes18/05/2020 14:32:45
1133 forum posts
64 photos

Doing a bit of cleaning up the work shop bit like that 'joke' 30% moaning about it, 1% cleaning and 69% playing with what you have found wink and I came across these in a draw Ive not opened for a very long time.


Edited By Harry Wilkes on 18/05/2020 14:33:24

roy entwistle18/05/2020 14:40:49
1367 forum posts

Rawl plug drills. I used mine yesterday cheeky

Steviegtr18/05/2020 14:53:47
2141 forum posts
299 photos

I still have the scars on my left hand from using those ooo maybe 45 to 50 years ago. Drilling engineering brick was a cow bag. Still have some bit somewhere.


Philip Rowe18/05/2020 16:29:41
215 forum posts
31 photos

Glad to see others still using these. I use mine every time I need to drill into the masonry in my house, for some reason the the surface skim coat is very brittle and if I use a standard rotary masonry drill I will end up with a terrible mess around the hole. However using the Rawl plug jumper with light taps of the hammer I can get through the brittle surface and end up with a clean hole. Originally belonged to my father so must be at least 60 years old.


magpie18/05/2020 16:29:50
477 forum posts
92 photos

I still have two of those, why ? I really don't know. blush

Peter Hall18/05/2020 16:45:02
114 forum posts
1 photos

They used to come with a packet of asbestos filler. Put a pinch of the fibres on your palm, spit on it, roll into a plug to fit the hole and pop it in. Job's a goodun. [cough, cough]


Edited By Peter Hall on 18/05/2020 16:45:16

Harry Wilkes18/05/2020 17:44:28
1133 forum posts
64 photos

Peter can't say I remember the 'roll up's' but certainly remember the fibre type rawplug.

Steviegtr I too have a few scars but not from the one's pictured but from the bigger star drills that one used for rawbolts, pounded both left and right hands with the old lump hammer crying 2


old mart18/05/2020 17:52:08
3185 forum posts
201 photos

I have one of the baby ones and have ground the end to a cone, it makes a good centre punch.

larry phelan 118/05/2020 18:06:33
1050 forum posts
14 photos

The asbestos did not come with Rawlplugs, as I recall, but with another system called Philplug, I think.

Not sure they could sell that stuff these days.

Bob Stevenson18/05/2020 18:47:29
522 forum posts
7 photos

My Dad showed me how to use these when I was about 10 and I still use them from time to time....In some applications they are better than an electric drill because they take up less space to use and are more accurate...not getting rid of 'em!

AdrianR18/05/2020 19:01:38
538 forum posts
36 photos

My first flat had concrete lintels so hard my hammer drill wouldn't touch them, had to use one of these. I still have it, still slightly bent from those lintels. This was before I learnt about screwing a bit of wood to the wall before trying to put up the curtain rail.


Mark Easingwood18/05/2020 19:27:28
32 forum posts
6 photos

Here are some from me Dad's stuff, including star drills. Never used 'em me'sen, but I spent a fair amount of time using plugging chisels and hacking knives as an apprentice joiner.


Does anyone know what the one on the left is? It is made by Priory, and has a centre hole and ejection slot, the teeth don't look suitable for masonry, neither does it look to have ever been used.

Peter Hall18/05/2020 19:55:55
114 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by larry phelan 1 on 18/05/2020 18:06:33:

The asbestos did not come with Rawlplugs, as I recall, but with another system called Philplug, I think.

Not sure they could sell that stuff these days.

Ah yes, you could be right. My father taught me how to do this when I was six, so my recall is a bit sketchy. I've never touched the stuff since! Dad also managed to electrocute me when I was 13. Frankly, he was rubbish at DIY. I inherited his rawlplug/philplug hammer drill thing when he died, along with his rusty salvaged woodscrew collection and threw it all away.

Edited for typos...again. Fat, oily fingers.


Edited By Peter Hall on 18/05/2020 19:58:46

Keith Wyles19/05/2020 06:58:27
35 forum posts

No longer have one, but the last time I used one, decades ago, was to drill into hard Victorian bricks. Didn't have a hammer drill at the time and the only way that I could drill one of the bricks to fit a curtain was to use one. Then opened it up to the right size with a masonry bit.. After this I bought a hammer drill.

Mike Poole19/05/2020 08:51:28
3011 forum posts
71 photos

I don’t know why they bothered to invent Chobham armour, the bricks in my mums bungalow would certainly stop any armour piercing weapons, they just laugh at tungsten carbide and hammer drills. Now I have an SDS machine I will try that if the need arises.


Peter G. Shaw19/05/2020 21:41:05
1287 forum posts
44 photos

As a GPO, as it was back then, maintenance technician on customers equipment I have used these devices to refix wall mounted equipment, usually because the original fitter used short plugs which quickly lost their grip. I used to make the replacement plugs at least 2in/50mm deep.

I, thankfully, never used the asbestos stuff although I can remember some of my colleagues using it.

I say thankfully because one of the questions I was asked when I was diagnosed with lung cancer was had I been in contact with asbestos, and this stuff was one of the items I remembered. Thankfully, further testing revealed that the cancer was not caused by asbestos. Neither was it by smoking, which I didn't do anyway - in fact we don't know what caused it.

Sorry Peter Hall, the asbestos stuff DID come from Rawlplug, although I've no doubt other companies got in on the act - see

Peter G. Shaw

old mart19/05/2020 21:52:47
3185 forum posts
201 photos

I always found that Rawlplug tools ended up making a conical hole as do percussion drills. SDS is a million miles better than either, no effort and a hole that is cylindrical. Where I used to work, a percussion drill would manage the floor as it was standard premix poured concrete, but only an SDS would touch the walls which were precast sections made in a factory.

John Paton 119/05/2020 23:13:09
293 forum posts
17 photos

The asbestos was called 'Rawlplastic' if I remember correctly.

Don Cox19/05/2020 23:36:16
55 forum posts

My Dad ran his own Electrical contracting business from just before WW2 until retirement in around1975, he used Rawlplug Jumpers for lots of his jobs. He also bored holes in floor joists with a brace and auger bit and did lots of other manual work with hand tools. I remember him watching me using my first cordless combination drill in about 1995 and could see him thinking how much easier life could have been for him if they'd been about a few years earlier.

Nigel Graham 220/05/2020 00:23:52
1608 forum posts
20 photos

There were other makes of similar filler.

My dad was very practical, and highly skilled at DIY work so had a wide range of tools and building sundries at home - including both the old Rawl-drills and fibre-plugs, and modern masonry bits and plastic plugs. When we cleared their home I found a small jar of what I knew was a masonry-anchor material, and it appeared to be a mixture of asbestos fibre and a cement resembling 'Polyfilla'. I mixed it with water and let it set to an inert lump for disposal.

Interestingly, the label read 'Screwfix', making me wonder if that was co-incidence or the company we know now, did indeed make / sell this material under its own name.


What did they use before these new-fangled hollow plugs or fillers? Whittled slivers of wood.


Mark Easingwood -

I am pretty sure the left-hand tool in your photo is a masonry-drill, as it closely resembles the so-called "self-drilling" anchors that are or were made by Rawl.

Those consist of a female-threaded, hollow sleeve with teeth like that too. They are inserted by screwing them onto a driver to create their own star-drill, and once to depth you withdraw the assembly, insert a truncated conical plug into the anchor's open end, then hammer it back home so the cone expands the inner end against the hole wall. The threads are arranged so that they do not bear the hammering forces. The object to be secured is then held by a standard set-screw or bolt in the anchor's open end.

Looking again at your photo makes me wonder if that is a driver and anchor assembled, because the end part is a distinctly different colour from the rest at a very well defined boundary. The slot would be to allow chips to escape. The doubt comes because the larger sizes of these anchors have part-cut break-slits that help them to expand, but not evident in the picture.


My familiarity with that type of 'Rawl-bolt' comes from hanging from them for dear life. Literally! Caving in this country went through a technical upheaval in the 1980s when 'Single Rope Techniques' largely replaced wire-sided ladders for descending and ascending vertical drops. The ropes are tied to anchors installed in the cave wall, and before proper anchors could be developed we used small brackets set-screwed to Rawl inserts. The Rawl company was horrified when they discovered we were gleefully abseiling down blooming great deep holes, from M8-threaded fastenings intended for securing pipes and shelves to buildings! Well, we always used at least two anchors as the main belay...

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