The other day I posted a blog which showed the way I drilled vertically into thin stock. (#1227 Drilling a Vertical Hole Into Thin Stock) I heard many positive responses from people who thought the blog was helpful. However, it was brought to my attention that some may feel that there is a possibility of getting injured by having your fingers too close to the drill bit if it slipped.
While this has never happened to me, I do see that it could be a possibility if someone were to push very hard upward toward the bit. So in the interest of alleviating that concern, I made up a simple jig where one can place the thin wood piece in for drilling, keeping their fingers clear from the bit.
Building the jig took only minutes, and was a very easy process.
I cut 2 pieces of 1/2” scrap wood into pieces approximately 4” long by 2.3” tall, as well as a strip of 1/8” birch in the same length. (You would want to use the thickness of whatever wood you were planning to hold in the jig for this strip. I am planning on drilling ornaments from 1/8” birch so I used a scrap of the same for the spacer.) Make sure that the bottom edges of the 1/2” pieces are straight.
Apply a ribbon of glue to the long, bottom edge of one of the pieces of 1/2” wood:
I pressed the 1/8” strip into place and applied more glue to the top of it:
I then placed another piece of 1/8” stock near the top (NO GLUE) for a spacer:
And clamped it together:
After the glue dried, I removed the spacer:
And I had a great holder for my 1/8” ornaments for drilling:
By gently squeezing the holder at the top, it held the ornament in place pretty good. For taller pieces, you could make a taller holder. You want the holder to be far enough up near the top of the ornament so that the wood piece doesn’t flex when you are drilling it. You could quickly make several different heights of these holders and keep them on hand for when you want to drill.
I found this worked fairly well. For myself, I still liked to be able to ‘feel’ the drilling by pushing the piece up to the bit, but I also thought this was a good alternative to keep your hands away from the bit if you are concerned about that. You just need to be aware that if you try to drill too quickly, the bit will flex and slip to the side and you have a chance of coming through the front or back of your ornament, ruining it.
As with anything, you should practice a bit on scraps first and get the feel of things before you try it on your projects.
I hope this helps those of you who had concerns. I would hate to hear of anyone getting injured. As always, you need to use common sense with tools and take proper precautions.
I’ll be cutting and doing a lot of drilling today. It will give me a chance to try this out on my own ornaments and see how things go.
I hope you all have a wonderful Saturday!
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-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"