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Ultrashort laser pulses have been investigated as a means for the generation of deep narrow holes in metal samples. The drilling is observed to occur in two stages: the rapid formation of a narrow channel and the subsequent broadening of this channel to its final width. An in situ depth-gauging technique shows that this broadening develops regularly down through the hole. The coupling of light energy to the sample during this second stage of drilling and its polarization dependence are discussed.