Boring a blank - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 04-01-2011, 12:55 PM Thread Starter
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Boring a blank

I'm an amateur turner and a bagpiper. I would like to make my own practice chanter which means I'm going to have to bore about a 3/16" hole straight through the length of a 2"x2"x9" blank (blackwood or ebony).
Suggestions on a method for doing this? I have a steady rest w/ rollers to hold the end while I bore, but the bit seems to wander...?

Jake MacIntyre
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-01-2011, 02:17 PM
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You need really sharp drill bits and may need to turn blank around drilling from both sides.
Never drill dense wood like Ebony, think Blackwood and Ebony from the same family. Think Blackwood more forgiven than Ebony. Ebony does not like heat, will crack easier while drilling.

Years ago bought a set of long brad point drill bit set like this one for drilling lamps:

When new they cut straight through a blank. Clearing chip often was key to keeping the bits from wandering. I kept lathe speed right at 500 RPMS. As bits got some wear, drilling both ends of a blank ensured good holes. Sandpaper glued to a dowel took care of any minor irregularities.

I did not know about pilot point, parabolic, and 135-degree twist drill bits back then. These drill bits are tad more aggressive than brad point bits. Of the three parabolic bits wander as much as brad point bits. If can find pilot or 135-degree twist bit in right diameterand length might be worth extra money
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post #3 of 6 Old 04-01-2011, 03:40 PM
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Use a brad point to start hole but change to regular bit quickly, Brad point tends to wander with grain. Back out bit often to clean out chips going in only 1/4-1/2" at a time. Turn blank over and drill from other end when in half way. Use lathe, I have done often through soft and hard woods for fishing lures.
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post #4 of 6 Old 04-01-2011, 05:42 PM
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Turn at a reasonably slow speed using a Forstner Bit. You will have to constantly work the bit in and out. The piece should be turning and the Forstner in the drill chuck mounted in the tailstock. Go in about an inch or two deep and then change to a regular drill bit using the same techique.
I am assuming you have the proper chucks.

The other method would be to drill the holes about 1 inch deep on both ends of an oversized square blank about 12" long. Glue a dowel into each hole and let dry.Then cut the end going onto the tailstock flush with the blank and mount the other end into the headstock chuck that will be spinning and turn the piece as you normally would. When the piece is turned to your desired shape just cut both ends off. Depending on your chucking ability, you can make various adaptations of the above.

Tony B Retired woodworker, among other things.

"Strive for excellence and settle for completion" Tony B
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-07-2011, 06:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. I'll let you know how it turns out. Take care and happy turning!

Jake MacIntyre
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post #6 of 6 Old 04-07-2011, 10:54 PM
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You might want to check into one of these:

One of our club members had some for sale at our last meeting and I bought one. I haven't used it yet but last month we had Trent Bosch for our demonstrator and he used one, shooting compressed air throught it. The comp. air blows the chips back up the flutes and out, keeping the hole clear and letting the drill go straight. It seemed to work pretty slick. They come in all different sizes and lengths.
Mike Hawkins
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