t0phtrt

Thru-Hole Drilling on Lathe - Help me stop killing trees

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I still can’t get the hang of thru-hole drilling on my lathe. I’m usually fine with light wood but I’m butchering maple and some other heavier woods. Some days I do well. Some days I can’t get it right. I start with a small 1/8” bit on both ends and then switch to a 6” bit and do both ends. I back out often to clear chips. Then finish with a 12” bit on the hand drill. The drill seems to start wandering when I switch to the 6” bit. The 6” bits have a bit of flex but I don’t know if that’s the problem? Do they make bits that size with no flex?

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there are bits with flutes that are only an inch long...the rest of the shaft is solid.....but if you like hard woods then I 'd switch up to 5/32" dia bits....I only used 1/8" on plugs up to 4 or 5" long.

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Aircraft bit is what you want to search for, either 6 or 12”. Go with 5/32”, much less flex. I switched over to 5/32” several years ago and now I get few issues compared to 1/8”  where I was constantly frustrated. Going from 1/8” to 5/32” resolved 95% of my issues.

 

Start with a jobber legnth brad paint drill bit and then finish with the aircraft drill bits. The brad point bits start centered better than regular bits.

Edited by fishing bum wannabe

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One thing I do (in addition to what others have said about using a rigid bit to start each end and a long aircraft 1/8 inch bit) is to use a live center (the one that looks like a cone) in the tailstock. while I am drilling and guide it with the tailstock.  The cone shape keeps the plug holes lined up horizontally.  With harder woods I sometimes only go about 1/2 to 1 inch alternating ends and you end up with success every time. 

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On ‎5‎/‎11‎/‎2019 at 6:44 PM, t0phtrt said:

I still can’t get the hang of thru-hole drilling on my lathe. I’m usually fine with light wood but I’m butchering maple and some other heavier woods. Some days I do well. Some days I can’t get it right. I start with a small 1/8” bit on both ends and then switch to a 6” bit and do both ends. I back out often to clear chips. Then finish with a 12” bit on the hand drill. The drill seems to start wandering when I switch to the 6” bit. The 6” bits have a bit of flex but I don’t know if that’s the problem? Do they make bits that size with no flex?

Are you using brad point bits?  How long are the blanks you're drilling?

 

Drilling maple can be hit or miss.  When I was building plugs, any blank that I could get a 1/8" hole to meet in the middle became a darter.  If I needed to chase one or both holes with a bigger bit to get them  to meet, the blank became a needlefish.  The only plug you really want a 1/8" hole in at least one end is a darter.  You need the smaller hole to hold the wire at the nose loop.  If it's above 1/8", the nose loop will loosen over time. 

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12 mins ago, John E said:

Are you using brad point bits?  How long are the blanks you're drilling?

 

Drilling maple can be hit or miss.  When I was building plugs, any blank that I could get a 1/8" hole to meet in the middle became a darter.  If I needed to chase one or both holes with a bigger bit to get them  to meet, the blank became a needlefish.  The only plug you really want a 1/8" hole in at least one end is a darter.  You need the smaller hole to hold the wire at the nose loop.  If it's above 1/8", the nose loop will loosen over time. 

Darters is all I make actually. The problem seems to be with the 6” bit (which is an aircraft ext. I believe) wandering. I figured I’d try the 5/32 and really fill up that wire hole w epoxy. 

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Only use brad point bits.  They can be a paint to find in 6" & 12" but are available.  I forget where i got mine.  You can get by with the split tip bits in soft wood but not hard maple.  I don't see why you need anything more than 6" to have the thru hole meet in the middle of an 8" blank.

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, t0phtrt said:

Darters is all I make actually. The problem seems to be with the 6” bit (which is an aircraft ext. I believe) wandering. I figured I’d try the 5/32 and really fill up that wire hole w epoxy. 

fill the space with shims(toothpicks or split bamboo skewers) jamed in with epoxy/CA glue

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Drill bits can be dull right out of the package...your drilling end grain which can kill a regular bit in no time...buy yourself a drill doctor and learn to sharpen all your bits..sharpen them often...I never use brad points because you just can't sharpen them evenly on both sides like the factory does.

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