During a travel in Laos, I need to drill some holes into a double-door's wood to install a locker. The wood is rather hard, and I don't have an electric drill (and can't find it).

I only have 2 small screwdrivers ( - and + ), a small hammer, but I can find screws, nails, and other basic tools. The wood is hard (so much that I can't even make enter a small screw), screwdrivers are not good quality ones and screws are even worst.

Any recommendation for locking a door from the inside would be interesting if it's not possible.

  • Does the door have a handle/latch?
    – Dan
    Dec 20, 2013 at 16:49
  • 1
    Slide bolts could be used a a temporary measure inside. A padlock and hash for the exterior. Both can be installed with just screws.
    – HerrBag
    Dec 20, 2013 at 17:12
  • If the door opens inwards, locking from the inside is probably most easily accomplished with wedges. Does not work if it opens outwards.
    – Ecnerwal
    Dec 20, 2013 at 19:35
  • 1
    If electric drills are uncommon, can you borrow a hand drill? My grandfather used something like this for drilling.
    – Johnny
    Dec 20, 2013 at 20:24
  • 1
    Why not just replace the handle with one with a lock on it?
    – Dan
    Dec 21, 2013 at 4:47

4 Answers 4


Make a bow drill:

Fire starting bow drill

Get a block of wood big enough to hold in your hand. Scrape out small hole in the wood. The non-pointy end of the drill bit goes in that hole. This is called the "hand hold".

You're going to use this wood block to push the drill bit against the door.

Make a bow with some strong wood and strong string. Wrap the string around the drill bit, perhaps a couple times to get a good grip on the bit.

Drill into the wood by pushing on the handhold and moving the bow.

You can find more thorough instructions on creating a bow drill for firestarting here:

  • 3
    Take a large 16d nail, heat it up and hammer the head end into a diamond shape, pound the edges thin and quench it in water. Pound a flat into the other end and figure out how to chuck it up in the shaft (split with cut groove). It would make a serviceable spade type bit for a one time job. More sophisticated types were used in boat building. Dec 21, 2013 at 3:51

The traditional answer for drilling larger holes would be a brace and bit.


If you can get your hands on a file, you could modify a screw to be self-drilling. File a v notch along the tip of the screw so that one face scrapes wood out of the inside of the hole as the screw is driven. (like the tip of the screw in the picture)

this screw has a self-drilling tip that you could simulate

(image from this related question)

If the notch is hard to file, you can do it on just one screw and reuse it a few times.


One product I know that would allow you to secure a door from the inside without the need to drill any holes through the door is a Door Guardian.

Door Guardian Picture http://www.thedoorguardian.com/images/img4.jpg

As long as you can drive three screws into the door frame, you should be able to install this. It doesn't require aligning multiple parts and offers far more protection than a chain or slide bolts.

I am not affiliated with this company or product, it is just something that I've used before

  • "Rim" (surface-mounted) locks would generally be easier to install in this situation. Or even a hasp and padlock, if you're only concerned about locking when absent.
    – keshlam
    Feb 5, 2016 at 13:55

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