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View airman's profile

Why can't I...

by airman
posted 10-24-2010 11:13 PM

21 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3540 days

#1 posted 10-24-2010 11:28 PM

If your using a drill press your table might not be set to 90 degrees

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3078 days

#2 posted 10-24-2010 11:40 PM

when you stand infront of your drillpress you maybee have set the table 90 degree left to right
but have you checked it in out that it is in level
just a thought


View ChuckV's profile


3110 posts in 3490 days

#3 posted 10-25-2010 12:02 AM

I do not know how you are supporting the piece on the drill press table. But, once you have the table set 90 degrees to the bit, you need to also be sure that that the piece is 90 degrees to the table both left-to-right and front-to-back – in other words, parallel to the bit.

Best wishes.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3421 days

#4 posted 10-25-2010 12:06 AM

why not get a jacob’s chuck for your lathe and use the tailstock to drill your hole. That way the piece stay’s in your chuck. I use a cheap Jacob’s chuck from HF and it works great.

-- San Diego, CA

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 2886 days

#5 posted 10-25-2010 12:24 AM

How long is the bit? Are you pressing too hard and causing it to flex? Just a thought.

-- Life is good.

View shipwright's profile


7965 posts in 2761 days

#6 posted 10-25-2010 12:43 AM

What kind of bit are you using? If this is a pepper mill, you are likely drilling down the grain. A forstner bit will be less likely to wander than a twist drill or spade bit.

Paul M

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3141 posts in 3072 days

#7 posted 10-25-2010 01:02 AM

Depends on the size of the bit. Skinny bits tend to wander, following the softer grain. It also possible that the end you marked (live center, probably) may not have been square to the centerline of the pepper mill. Did you hole the mill in a clamp or vise when drilling? This will also cause the problem.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View lew's profile


12017 posts in 3718 days

#8 posted 10-25-2010 01:07 AM

Interpim hit the perfect solution.

I had the same problems and tried everything to get a perfectly centered through hole. Finally, got the jacobs chuck for my lathe and haven’t had any trouble since. If you are using forstner bits, also get an extension for the bits. It really saves time because you don’t have the rotate the blanks half way thru.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3037 days

#9 posted 10-25-2010 01:26 AM

The right (perhaps only) way to make a pepper mill is to drill the hole before you turn it.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View hairy's profile


2654 posts in 3495 days

#10 posted 10-25-2010 01:26 AM

If you have a live center, you could drill the hole in the blank before you turn it. You put a cone on the center, then put the cone into the drilled hole. I used that on a cane.

There are others, but I know this one.

-- My reality check bounced...

View shipwright's profile


7965 posts in 2761 days

#11 posted 10-25-2010 02:56 AM

Of course you’re right Rich. You know they say common sense just isn’t common any more. Fortunately some (you) still have it. Good call.

Paul M

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2934 days

#12 posted 10-25-2010 03:21 AM

It’s always best to do as many operations as possible with a given setup.
While the part is chucked in the lathe is the best time to drill it, like “interprim” said, using a drill in a Jacobs chuck, mounted in the tailstock
Unless the part had to be supported by both the chuck and the live center in the tailstock at the same time.
In the later case, Rich hit it. Drill, then turn.

View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 3987 days

#13 posted 10-25-2010 03:30 AM

I’m with hairy. I make it a habit, whenever possible, drilling the hole on the lathe first, then turning around the hole.

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

View sras's profile


4790 posts in 3092 days

#14 posted 10-25-2010 03:35 AM

If you do need to drill a deep hole and keep it straight, one thing that can help is to back the bit out and maek sure the chips are clear out of the bit. If the bit gets clogged it can make it easier to wander. This is especially true for smaller diameter bits.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18244 posts in 3639 days

#15 posted 10-25-2010 06:29 AM

What lind of bit? A self feeding auger will drill straighter than a twist drill. A shell auger is better yet. Check this out

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Stonekettle's profile


135 posts in 2867 days

#16 posted 11-01-2010 11:35 PM


-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

View Stonekettle's profile


135 posts in 2867 days

#17 posted 11-01-2010 11:36 PM

There are three possible casues for the problem described:

1) your drillpress setup is not square and centered. Since you said you’d checked that, I’ll move on to the next possibility.

2) As mentioned above, the drill bit may be flexing, bending to follow the grain. The is common problem when boring into endgrain. Easiet way to find out if this is your problem is to make a number of test blanks. Bore them out, see if the amount and direction of drift is consistent i.e. the exit hole is always to the left or always to the front, etc. Since no two blocks of wood are identical, consisent error indicates that it is NOT bit flex, random results would indicate that it is. If it turns out to be bit flex, use a different bit – specifically one designed for end grain boring. Bore at high speed, using light pressure to pevent heating. Also, make sure your bits are sharp sharp sharp and note that end grain boring will dull a bit pretty quickly. Lift the bit out of the wood often and make sure the flutes clear.

3) Your drill press headstock and/or table may be flexing – something that happens with cheap, poorly made, or light duty presses, or a press that has loose or worn parts. Again, make a number of test borings. If the drift is consisent, which direction does it go? If the driff is towards the front (towards you) it’s likely the table is flexing downward under pressure (which indicates a cheap machine), or the headstock is lifting up (which would indicate loose mounting on the post or a really crappy post). Left or right could indicate that the table swivel is not tight or might by worn. If your press is equipped with a laser, point the laser at the edge of the table. Mark that spot on the table. Make the bore, as you press down see if the laser deflects from the indicated spot on the table. If it does, the press is flexing. You can buy and mount a cheap laser pointer to make this test if your press isn’t equipped with one.

You might also have worn bearings in the quill.

You might be pushing the press beyond its design limits – endgrain boring can put a lot of strain on a machine causing deflection. If you’ve checked everything else, try using very light pressure while boring and see if the problem goes away.

A number of folks above mentioned using a Jacob’s Chuck on your lath to bore out your blanks. This is, of course, the solution that will provide the best and most accurate results. HOWEVER, some lathes are simply not robust enough for end grain boring. As I said, end grain boring can put a hell of strain on a machine, doing it on a light duty lathe can overload the motor or damage the headstock bearings. Be careful and don’t exceed the designed load limits of your machine.

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3078 days

#18 posted 11-01-2010 11:53 PM

thank´s for all the tips Jim :-)
always a thing or two that can be learned on L J
thanks for sharing


View RayBowers's profile


12 posts in 3391 days

#19 posted 12-20-2011 05:45 AM

The best advice I got was to drill from both sides on the lathe before turning… Even if there is a little drift, you will know your holes are centered and who cares if they are slightly off in a little when they meet in the middle?

I had tried drilling clear through from one end but it would drift off center enough coming out the other end on long mills that it caused problems like grain matching for the top, etc. If when you strart, you cut the top from the body and drill the body only from the bottom and it drifts, then to align the top you’d have to compensate for the drift… But if you drilled the body from both ends, then it it stays on the axis you planned. So when it comes time to do the top, you can just drill center and it should line up beautifully.

Of course in the end, when jam chucking the whole mill, you have to retrue up regardless of what method you use, but at least with centers defined by drilling from each end of each piece, you minimize work.


-- Ray Bowers

View RayBowers's profile


12 posts in 3391 days

#20 posted 12-20-2011 06:20 AM

I have the el cheapo forstner bits from Woodcraft to do the bulk of the boring and then a brad tip 9/32 for mills where the stem comes through the top.

I forgot to mention, the other advantage of boring from both sides is that for tall mills, you can use the SHORT extenders! I have the 4” and 10” extenders, but the 10” extenders wander more than the shorter ones… A 4” extender and bit can drilll out the body of even a pretty tall mill when drilled from both sides. A lot easier and less stress than worrying about a 10”er messing up on you.

-- Ray Bowers

View rance's profile


4255 posts in 3123 days

#21 posted 12-20-2011 06:24 AM

richgreer said it right. It is all about references. Drill your hole first, and THAT becomes your reference.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

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