Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Drilling Pen Blanks

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Chicagoland
    Posts
    2,672

    Drilling Pen Blanks

    I haven't made a pen in a few years. Several years back I bought a box full of pen (and other small spindle turning) tools, jigs, and kits from someone moving away from turning. There was a nice drilling center vice to use on the DP.

    Is it better to drill blanks on the DP or on the lathe?


    Thanks

  2. #2
    I drill them on the drill press. Use that centering vise.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Averill Park NY
    Posts
    110
    Iím with Charles on using the vice.
    Some Blue Tools
    Some Yellow Tools
    And a Pet Grizzly
    ShapeokoXL
    Blue and White 50 Watt

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Tampa Bay area
    Posts
    312
    I drill them on the lathe with a set of pen blank jaws in a little Nova G3 chuck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Fredericksburg, TX
    Posts
    2,456
    Pen drilling jig.JPG Photo shows simple homemade jig to hold blanks if you have a fence for clamping. Not perfect centers, but very fast and cheap. 2 pieces of wood and hinge with notch cut in one board. Just squeeze to hold and drill away. Best to allow a relief on one board for shavings and drill over a waste board as shown. I mark blanks with marks at center on one face and then index the blanks with marks same to get the holes to match when the blanks are stacked and then being slightly off center is not critical for most blanks.
    Last edited by Thomas Canfield; 01-13-2020 at 10:44 PM. Reason: Added additional clarification on indexing to bore.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Elmodel, Ga.
    Posts
    489
    I took a wood screw clamp and cut two V notches one on each jaw and use that on my drill press. As long as the clamp is flat to the DP table, I get a good drill hole.
    SWE

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    La Mirada, CA
    Posts
    35
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hayward View Post
    I drill them on the lathe with a set of pen blank jaws in a little Nova G3 chuck.
    This is my preferred method as well.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    571
    I'll chime in, not because I do pens, but because this reminds me of a lesson in a (metal) machining class long ago.

    I think the answer depends on your equipment and your process.

    A drill press will give you a hole the diameter of your drill bit. Any misalignment will put the hole off center.

    A lathe will give you a hole that is centered. Any misalignment will make the hole oversized.

    If you drill and mount centered on the hole, you can turn the blank round. So, it seems like for most sequences the drill press is arguably better, but the lathe might win in some special cases. (And I'd guess the error either way is small enough this is more a "number of angels on a pin" type discussion.)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Tampa Bay area
    Posts
    312
    [QUOTE=David Bassett;2982960]
    A lathe will give you a hole that is centered. Any misalignment will make the hole oversized.

    If your headstock and tailstock are properly aligned you still get the same size hole as your drill bit, off centered or not. Just like a drill press.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    1,296
    Not an expert, but have run a few dozen at a time more than once. I think it might depend on how regular (square) your blanks are. I cannot get a blank to sit perpendicularly in the holder on a drill press if not. Oversize blanks give room for error, but if you're working with small pieces, I prefer drilling on the lathe with the pen blank jaws.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    Silicon Valley, CA
    Posts
    571
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hayward View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by David Bassett View Post
    A lathe will give you a hole that is centered. Any misalignment will make the hole oversized.
    If your headstock and tailstock are properly aligned you still get the same size hole as your drill bit, off centered or not. Just like a drill press.
    If your drill bit is aligned with and centered on your lathe's axis of rotation, yes you get a hole the size of the drill bit.

    Since wood turning chucks are self centering, I didn't consider the case where your blank is offset from that axis of rotation. But yes, if you have a metal working 4-jaw check or an unusual misalignment in your wood turning chuck or you use some other mounting mechanism (e.g. off center face plate?) you'll get a offset hole of the drill's diameter.

    Any offset or misalignment of the drill bit from the center of the blanks axis of rotation will only cut on the outside of the tool creating a larger hole. (Think of cutting a recess with a tool, the further off center line the larger the diameter.)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •