+1 with C'man. First time I have seen holes in the tool rest. Likely they are to allow some method of attaching a guide.
I prefer my tool rests to be solid, smooth and steel with a hardened wear edge. I like the Robust tool rests. Drill stock welded to the edge for wear. Long smooth curved steel. These stand up to a lot of abuse.
You re not going to believe this but yesterday as I was turning and changing tool rest I had the same question. I figured I would ask here as there are many experienced turners who should know. You just beat me to asking the question. Hopefully we will get an answer.
I have never seen one either but..... IF you are using indexing you could attach a jig to also drill/punch/mark the same distance from the edge or rim of an item. A lot more accurate than holding the drill or item on the rest where it can move; just insert through a bushing.
I had been thinking of turning something for a sister-in-law that would require about ½” diameter holes drilled about 1/8” deep around the perimeter of a bowl lip.
Something new to add to my long list of I wanna make a tool for...
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