Boring deep holes

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Forum topic by footprints posted 02-04-2010 09:57 PM 1581 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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45 posts in 3255 days

02-04-2010 09:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: drilling deep holes question

I am inlaying maple into a 25” billet of walnut before turning on a lathe to reveal a Celtic knot. I want to make hiking sticks and reinforce them with all thread in the center. Since I will have to put three of them end to end, I need to bore a hole concentric with the turning. My drill press only has a 6” travel. Any ideas how to bore a hole this deep?

-- Ray, Lakeland, FL

10 replies so far

View Waldschrat's profile


505 posts in 3582 days

#1 posted 02-04-2010 10:23 PM

using sabots and extentions, or buying a big ass drill bit or both.

You can guy sprial drill bits that are 50 cm long… they are just not cheap. If I remember correctly, I was in the market for one, about a year ago, (a 40 mm diameter drill bit, at least 18 in long) and it was 50 euros, for one drill bit. It was big though. and works great.

-- Nicholas, Cabinet/Furniture Maker, Blue Hill, Maine

View a1Jim's profile


117234 posts in 3724 days

#2 posted 02-04-2010 10:39 PM

You can buy and extension that has Allen head screws to connect a drill bit in but I think there 18” long you might have to saw it down , There usually around $5-$8.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Steve Peterson's profile

Steve Peterson

391 posts in 3229 days

#3 posted 02-04-2010 11:21 PM

It seems unlikely that you will be able to use a drill press to drill 25” without the drill bit wandering and coming out the side.

If the drill bit is mounted in the tailstock and the wood is spun in a lathe, then the drill bit will naturally want to stay near the center. Drill undersized for the first pass, then clean up with the exact size if you are worried about a perfect fit.

The drill bit extensions will keep you from having to buy a super expensive drill bit. Of course, you will have to keep pulling it out to clear the chips. A long spiral drill is theortically self cleaning so it would be less work.

-- Steve

View stefang's profile


15948 posts in 3481 days

#4 posted 02-04-2010 11:33 PM

Can you drill it from both directions? Also a long spoon bit often used by turners to drill out lamp bases works pretty well. On really long pieces they are usually glued-up with a seam on each side.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View PineInTheAsh's profile


404 posts in 3414 days

#5 posted 02-04-2010 11:33 PM

Boring deep holes is boring.

Can be done.
When you’re finished it’ll be a wonderfully exhausting job you’ll never want to do again. Ever.

The word “modify” will paint the brain.


View flyingoak's profile


68 posts in 3255 days

#6 posted 02-04-2010 11:44 PM

It may not work for your project but you could split the stock, rout a channel in both pieces to fit the rod and glue it back together. then when you turn it, you will have the hole centered and in place.

Just my 2 cents

-- where is the duct tape.....

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18373 posts in 3822 days

#7 posted 02-05-2010 12:23 AM

The extensions with allen head screws will probably be bigger than the hole you want to drill. I would suppose it’s about 3/8” you want. What I have done is drill a hole in the end of a drill bit, then solder a drill rod into it to extend it. Then use a hand drill. You have to keep pulling it back to clear it.

You might check electrical wholsalers. They might have a bit long enough if it’s not too big.

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

View a1Jim's profile


117234 posts in 3724 days

#8 posted 02-05-2010 12:41 AM

Come to think of it I have bought long drill bits for arount $6.00 there about 16” long from my hardware store and the come in paddle bits too.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View hairy's profile


2765 posts in 3679 days

#9 posted 02-05-2010 12:42 AM

Here’s an option:

You will need a spindle steady because you would have to remove the tailstock, unless your tailstock is drilled out. A drill bit on a handle will only drill into the center, if you try it offcenter , it won’t go in. I haven’t tried going that deep. I think you could go halfway,turn it end for end, and drill the other way. Do a google on making lamps.

-- My reality check bounced...

View gagewestern's profile


308 posts in 3497 days

#10 posted 02-05-2010 02:01 AM

at one time i made a jig to do that with a 2×10 for a base and a makiat drill that had flat top. first i welded a 3/8 rod to a bitt . then i tacked a cleat on each side of the drill .then built a cradle to hold the post and clamped it in the dril then slid the dril down the track worked nice

-- gagewestern

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