Drilling a perfectly centered hole in a dowel - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 05-08-2019, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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Drilling a perfectly centered hole in a dowel

I'm trying to drill a perfectly centered hole in a 3/4" dowel. I made a cradle with a V notch in it and centered it below the bit on my drill press table. I'm drilling a 3/8" hole using a forstner bit. Despite what I thought were my best efforts, the hole is slightly off center. Are there better ways to do this?
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post #2 of 16 Old 05-08-2019, 12:36 PM
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You need another v-block with a perfectly centered hole that can act as a drill bit guide. There are several commercially available ones made. Here is an example.

https://www.acehardware.com/departme...sories/2410769


In woodworking there is always more then one way to accomplish something.
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post #3 of 16 Old 05-08-2019, 01:04 PM
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Are you clamping the dowel in place with the drill press table locked, if not it can tend to roll as you drill. Is the quill tight in your drill press, many have a bit of slop that allows the bit to wander so you may need the second vee block as suggested.

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post #4 of 16 Old 05-08-2019, 01:38 PM
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Use a doweling jig ...

An inexpensive doweling jig from H-F, self-centers itself on the object to be drilled whether it's flat or round. The guide bushings are in various standard drill sizes.


https://www.harborfreight.com/self-c...jig-41345.html


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #5 of 16 Old 05-08-2019, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
An inexpensive doweling jig from H-F, self-centers itself on the object to be drilled whether it's flat or round. The guide bushings are in various standard drill sizes.


https://www.harborfreight.com/self-c...jig-41345.html

Is that your doweling jig? I bought one and the indicator mark was off centered from where the hole drills. I took it back and looked at ten more on the shelf and the one I took back was the best. There was a couple that was 1/8" off.
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post #6 of 16 Old 05-08-2019, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
Is that your doweling jig? I bought one and the indicator mark was off centered from where the hole drills. I took it back and looked at ten more on the shelf and the one I took back was the best. There was a couple that was 1/8" off.
I have one from way back in the early 90's, before HF, haven't used the thing in decades...

To get a perfectly centered hole in a dowel, you need to do it in a lathe.
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post #7 of 16 Old 05-08-2019, 02:37 PM
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No .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by shoot summ View Post
I have one from way back in the early 90's, before HF, haven't used the thing in decades...

To get a perfectly centered hole in a dowel, you need to do it in a lathe.

You need a lathe for drilling in the end, OP wants to cross drill, that's why I suggested the doweling jig.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #8 of 16 Old 05-08-2019, 03:17 PM
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I have this drill guide. It is designed to drill in the center of round items like dowels as well as flat stock: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
The bushings area bit loose in the plastic housing and the bushings are a bit oversized for the bits. So while it will center the hole, I can't guarantee that the hole will be perfectly perpendicular.

There are other more precise versions but they all are equipped with metric sized bushings.

Just $15.00 and handy.

The "Big Gator" is probably more accurate: https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/..._AC_UL320_.jpg

But at $32.00 more expensive and less suited for what I needed one for. It is available in imperial and metric sizes. https://www.amazon.com/BIG-GATOR-TOO...A32R3TUZ3HYUGD

If you have a drill press, then this home made jig will work:

Get a short length of 2" x 4" stock.

Set your table saw blade at 45 degrees.

Make two 45 degree cuts in the middle of the 2 x 4 resulting in a v-notch running lengthwise.

Chuck your drillbit in your drill press. With the motor not running lower the bit to the exact center of the V notch. Clamp the 2 x 4 to the drill press table.

Place the dowel in the v-notch and then drill your holes.
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post #9 of 16 Old 05-08-2019, 03:31 PM
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or yes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
You need a lathe for drilling in the end, OP wants to cross drill, that's why I suggested the doweling jig.
Actually the OP doesn't specifically state that he is doing either, and based on the other thread where he posted about drill press setup, and drilling into the end of a 30" piece it makes me wonder?

I'm trying to drill a perfectly centered hole in a 3/4" dowel.

https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f2/d...-setup-212069/
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post #10 of 16 Old 05-08-2019, 04:12 PM
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based on this .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep View Post
I'm trying to drill a perfectly centered hole in a 3/4" dowel. I made a cradle with a V notch in it and centered it below the bit on my drill press table. I'm drilling a 3/8" hole using a forstner bit. Despite what I thought were my best efforts, the hole is slightly off center. Are there better ways to do this?



If he had said "drilling into" we still woundn't know for sure. For me, the hint was the "cradle with a V notch". As a lathe owner, I agree if the hole is in the end, but maybe we provided enough answers for either condition.....

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #11 of 16 Old 05-08-2019, 04:35 PM
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Is this what you are trying to do? The problem might be the bit you are using. I drilled this with a brad point bit which made it easier. A metal cutting bit would be more difficult to control.
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post #12 of 16 Old 05-08-2019, 04:36 PM
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OK, you've made a "V" jig. A good first step.

Put a fence on your drill press. Use a 1/16 drill bit and center the jig against the fence. Futz with it until you get it perfect. Drill the 1/16 hole. Make sure that it is perfect. This is a pilot hole. Change the drill bit to your 3/8 bit. Drill your 3/8 hole.

Possible problems. If you are off center, the drill bit is not 90° to the table or the quill (The thing that holds the chuck.) in on an eccentric or wobbles.
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post #13 of 16 Old 05-08-2019, 11:42 PM
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If it is a short piece of dowel. Mount it sideways in a lathe chuck and put a drill chuck in the tail stock and drill the hole. It will be centered within two or three thousandths of an inch. I drill 1/4 dowel pieces length wise on a lathe. even with a 3/16 hole.
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post #14 of 16 Old 05-09-2019, 08:30 AM Thread Starter
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I am (was) trying to center it in the side of the dowel.

I ended up contrapting the jig in the picture. I Carefully centered holes in the side and top of a well jointed 2x4.

Along the way though, I noticed that my Forster bit had developed a rim around the cutting edge that probably was steering it crooked. It must have hit something hard that caused the edge to splay out. I ground that off and all seems well.
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post #15 of 16 Old 05-09-2019, 10:35 AM
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fwiw, I trust brad point bits more in this situation.
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post #16 of 16 Old 05-09-2019, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Quickstep View Post
I am (was) trying to center it in the side of the dowel.

I ended up contrapting the jig in the picture. I Carefully centered holes in the side and top of a well jointed 2x4.

Along the way though, I noticed that my Forster bit had developed a rim around the cutting edge that probably was steering it crooked. It must have hit something hard that caused the edge to splay out. I ground that off and all seems well.
Very simple and elegant solution.

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