Turning Archive 2006

Horizontal Drill On The Lathe

Jim Shaver - Oakville, Ontario

Sometimes it’s takes me awhile to see the obvious opportunity with my lathe. I have used a drill chuck mounted in the tail stock many times to drill into my work on the lathe, from pepper mills to bowl blanks, it’s been accurate and easy.

I guess a awhile ago I was revisiting the way I drill some of my more expensive pen blanks. I have been using a drill press and a small drill press vise for about 6 years. It always makes me nervous when I am drilling a 37/64 hole into a 7/8 square blank that cost me $$ to not come out the side of the material or have such small edge distance that it will turn undersize on the ends for the given hardware.

Recently I was given a keyless chuck as a Christmas present ( I love it!). Thinking I might try something different I decided to give drilling a pen blank on my mini lathe a try. I took a 7/8 pen blank and set it up in my Talon chuck with spigot jaws, then used my drill chuck with a 37/64 drill and horizontally bored a hole into a beautiful piece if Italian Lucite…….perfectly right down the centre…the entry point on the face was perfectly in the middle and the exit point the same….WOW, how amazing, AND no stress on the ol’ ticker either (phew)!!

So tonight I set the same configuration up on my Jet Mini and was able to drill out 25 Cigar blanks in a hour! For me that is pretty fast. The all came out great, right down the middle.

I am getting another set of pens ready to go for Pens For Canadian Peacekeepers so these blanks are part of that shipment to go along with another 15 donation pens I have.

Anyway, just wanted to pass along my good results using horizontal drilling…the spigot jaws really are wonderful to have on the Talon by the way.

Nice to be in the shop tonight… kind of cold on the hands …but a nice feeling to be busy.

Take care,

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