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

I've been curious about a mysterious void between two rooms of my new old house. Boing Boing reader Medievalist explains how to proceed.

To examine a secret room or priest's hole, use a 1.5" or larger hole saw to create an opening you can push a camera and light through. Understand that if you hit a stud you'll probably destroy the hole saw in one use, because you're quite likely to hit multiple nails in the lath. Even if you don't hit any nails you'll still wreck a cheap hole saw because of the sand in the brown coat. Do not just drill until you stop feeling any resistance....

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A cool way to turn a window into a door

Last weekend, I visited St. Louis and got to catch up with some friends who live in an old brick house in that city's South Grand/Tower Grove neighborhood. (Which is awesome, by the way. After hearing nothing but bad news about St. Louis for years, I was pleasantly surprised by great, thriving neighborhoods like this one.)

There's a little porch off one of the upstairs windows, facing the street. But, at first, it's not entirely clear how you get out onto it. But, whoever built this old house had a clever trick up their sleeve — and it's one I'd never seen in action before. That's a picture of the closed window above. Read the rest