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I have a problem drilling a pen blank with my drill press. I can only go about half way down, then I have to turn the blank over to finish it.

Obviously this is a rather less-than-desired way to drill from both ends towards the middle.

I have looked near-and-far for a drill press that has enough throw to handle the entire pen blank (about 6 inches), but they seem to be non-existent, at least for the hobbiest.

How is everyone else drilling out pen-blanks?
 

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Use a longer drill bit. You should be able to make the first hole as far as you can with your current depth capability and the bit resesed into the chuck. Then turn the machine off and pull the bit out for more length. The bit will be in the hole already and now you should be able to continue the hole all the way through.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Use a longer drill bit. You should be able to make the first hole as far as you can with your current depth capability and the bit resesed into the chuck. Then turn the machine off and pull the bit out for more length. The bit will be in the hole already and now you should be able to continue the hole all the way through.

I thought about that, but i could not make sense of it.
THe drillbit only moves 6" because that's the throw on the press....having a 6" or a 12" drill doesn't make any difference.

I have a jig setup where I move the blank up towards the chuck after the bit is sunken in about half way, and this allows me to continue to drill, but it's not ideal.
 

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I haven't made any pens in about3 years but I am confused as to why you need to drill a 6"blank for a pen. I think you better back up and read the directions you get with every pen kit you recieve with the kit. You need two blanks and maybe your thinking you need only one. Stick with it and good luck. Post a picture here when you get your first pen turned. Good Luck. Been there ,done that.. Mitch ( A good way to check the length of the wood blank is to measure the brass insert that goes in each wood blank) Piece of cake.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
even if i cut the blank in half, or drill two seperate holes, one for each half of the pen, the holes will not be lined up perfectly as if it were drilled in one motion.
 

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Did you check the length of each brass insert for the top and bottom pieces like I suggested? If you did they have to be right. If the holes are drilling off center then you have a drill press problem. Your press probably has a run out problem. What kind of drill press are you using? Do you know how to check for run out? Can you post a picture of the press when your just ready to drill, snap a picture and post it here so we can see what your doing? Mitch
 

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try this link ; http://www.turningshop.com/Pen-Making-hp.html

it doesn't matter that the drill bit runs out and your 2 halves dont match, when fitted to the mandrek and turned you will get a perfect match anyway, and as only a few millimeters of timer are actually used in the final pen as long as the thinnest part of the drilled blank has more than enough wide you will be ok

Chris
 

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I disagree, it is never ok to have run out and get good results. I'm not saying he couldn't get good results but soon enough he will find out it pays to have a good press and have it running properly and even more important that he learn how to make it run properly. Mitch
 

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I disagree, it is never ok to have run out and get good results. I'm not saying he couldn't get good results but soon enough he will find out it pays to have a good press and have it running properly and even more important that he learn how to make it run properly. Mitch

Mitch......... how much run out can you get over a 2 inch bore, when I used to make a pen I used a pillar drill and held the blank in the drill press vice, never had any serious run out, and pens turned out fantastic.

Chris
 

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The best way is to cut the blank to the desired lengths and then drill them. Make sure that prior to cutting the blanks, that you mark a line down the blank where you cut to make sure that you assemble the pieces wth the grain (if you are using wood or plastic) in the correct orientation.
 

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I have turned hundreds and hundreds of pens and it does not matter if the holes are not centered as long as there is enough material left on the smallest side to turn to the size of the bushing
 

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I have had minimal problems with run out when I drill but I DO use a jig and each half is located the same on the drill press so they are drilled the same. At least within reason. Once on the mandrel, as long as there was material to clean up, it was all good. I'm not talking nine miles of runout either.
 

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How is everyone else drilling out pen-blanks?
Have you tried drilling them on your lathe itself? I have NOT done this b/c I have a dp with a 6" throw, (big Delta), but I understand that it's done all the time by others.

Put your blank in the headstock in a oneway or similar chuck, put a Jacobs chuck in the tailstock with the proper-sized bit, turn on the lathe and drill away by pushing the tailstock up into the rotating blank.

There are two pen-turning forums I belong to--

http://www.penturners.org/forum/portal.asp

and www.thepenshop.net, and this method has been discussed on those forums.

(Hope these links aren't a no-no. If they disappear, just PM me and I'll give them to you.)

Nancy (134 days)
 

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I have turned hundreds and hundreds of pens and it does not matter if the holes are not centered as long as there is enough material left on the smallest side to turn to the size of the bushing

I've watched my dad do this a hundred times, too. I've been meaning to try it some time. It does seem like how centered it is doesn't really matter.
 
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