Turning Archive 2004

Drilling pen blanks - what speed?

Joe Pack
>After drilling a few hundred pen blanks, I am finally thinking about what/why I am doing things. :-) I use a combination of regular and parabolic flute drills, all at the slowest speed my drill press will produce...about 500rpm. Some woods drill like butter, some get hot enough to smoke, some drill straight through without backing out to clear chips and some have to be drilled by plunging, backing out, plunging.... I don't blow out too many, (just enough to be annoying) but I have to go fairly slow on some woods.

My drill press has four combinations of pulleys for four speeds, accessed by raising the top "lid" to expose the pulleys. It is located under some duct work that allows no room to raise the lid, so it is a pain to change speeds (the reason I leave it set at 500 rpm).

If you had just one speed to choose to drill end grain for pen blanks, what would that be?

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