Reply by moke

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Posted on What Drill Bit Set for Pen Turning

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1175 posts in 2772 days

#1 posted 02-12-2013 04:11 PM

I have used a lot of different kinds of drills both on a DP and the lathe. For wood, in my mind it really doesn’t matter. I have a huge collection of bits I have bought from pen kit retailers and I will occasionally use them too, but just for wood. As for twist bits, I hope I didn’t give you the idea that twist bits are bad any where, because I truly don’t think that. I use twist bits mostly because of the versatility of the sizing, and while I don’t drill pen blanks on the DP, I use them for my flat work all the time.

Brad points have two issues while drilling on the lathe. I do a lot of segmenting. I use many different kinds of material to make the segments. Some are metal, like pop cans, brass sheeting, aluminum sheeting, even aluminum dowels. Brad points seem to sometimes “catch” on the metal and break the blank. While it doesn’t always, sometimes I have considerable time invested into a blank and don’t want to risk it.

The second reason is starting and finishing…as joe said, sometimes the bit can wander upon starting, bit can even follow grain structure, for this I use a starter drill….HF…5.99 for 5 different sizes. But the real issue is when you “bore through” or complete the drilling. A brad point can easily tear or break out the end, ruining just enough of the blank to make it a little short. Now this is almost as common with twist bits as brad points, so there are several methods to eliminate that too.

So to answer your question, I don’t think either one is bad, rather there are some strengths to each….and having said that, I have met a lot of pen makers and some make some pretty awesome pens using some of the strangest and most “unaccepted” methods…this leads me to believe that what ever works for you….keep on, keepin on…..

-- Mike

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