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I'm getting ready to make a pen that requires a 37/64" hole for one of the tubes. As pen blanks go, that's pretty big hole. The 37/64" bit I got from WoodTurnersCatalog is a twist drill. Ordinarily, I'd use a forstner bit or a brad point. Are there any tips or warnings I should consider when drilling a hole this big with a twist drill?
 

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Turning a Gent?

Id drill it on the lathe and use a center drill to get started. Small bites. Some would say start with a smaller bit to make a pilot hole but I always dive right in with the larger bit and just drill slow. That said the largest pen I make only requires a 12.5 mm hole.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It's an Artisan Gentlemen's Fountain Pen kit.

I don't have jaws to hold a pen blank on the lathe.

I'm sort of thinking about drilling it using a 1/2" Forstner bit and enlarging it using my drum sander.
 

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I don't have jaws to hold a pen blank on the lathe.

I'm sort of thinking about drilling it using a 1/2" Forstner bit and enlarging it using my drum sander.
I presume by drum sander you mean spindle sander. You will not find it easy to get an even round hole with the spindle sander.

If you cannot drill on the lathe, I would use a drill press with the correct size bit. Just need to clamp between two scraps of wood with a "V" cut out in each.
 

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But you do have a chuck? You dont have to have pen blank specific jaws to drill on the lathe. I drill a few blanks on the lathe and I just use a regular scroll chuck and standard bowl jaws. When I drill on the drill press I hold the blank with a small jig similar to what Dave metioned. Its just two small scraps of 2X4 with a v notch cut into each and they are tighted with a couple of carriage bolts and wing nuts.

How do you typically drill your pen blanks?
 

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What they said ... in case you don't know what a "center drill" is (I didn't till somebody showed me a photo of one), here's a LINK

By making a starter hole with one of these, you keep the point of a regular twist drill bit from wandering as it tries to get started.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I usually drill my blanks using the drill press. Ihave a vise with a V-Block. I have a scroll chuck, but I only have a set of dovetail jaws that won't hold a pen blank straight enough to drill.
 

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Yeah I was just down in the shop doing a little maintenance on my lathe and realised, I dont use standard jaws when I drill pen blanks on the lathe. I use pin jaws.

Id just go with the vice and v block. Center drill, then little bites with the big bit.
 

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Do you have a drill press? Set up a fence, blocks and clamps to hold your blank. One of the things that makes Forstener bits unique is their ability to drill end grain. I would establish the center and mark the starting point with an awl. Use a small Forstener bit and establish the hole through your blank. Then twist bits should be used in increments until you feel safe to use the 37/64". Forsteners and brad points may not follow the first hole as well as twist bits. It's always a good idea to back out when drilling deep to eject as much waste as possible. A dry lubricant on the bits helps especially with hard and knarley species. The correct size drill bit will give you a precise hole, sanding won't.
 
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