Drilling end grain

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Forum topic by rrdesigns posted 02-26-2016 02:13 AM 1947 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View rrdesigns's profile


531 posts in 3095 days

02-26-2016 02:13 AM

I have a project that requires drilling 2 1/8 inch deep holes in end grain cherry. Tried a forstner bit first, clearing the hole as I went with compressed air, but the bit became dull quick. I have been told a multi-spur might work better, but I haven’t tried that yet. Controlling the heat build-up is definitely a problem. Are there any heat transfer fluids that can be used that won’t ruin the cherry to help cool the bit while it is cutting? I am finishing the piece with tung oil. Can that be used as a lubricant?

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

11 replies so far

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1249 posts in 1639 days

#1 posted 02-26-2016 03:32 AM

What is the ID of the holes?......... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View hairy's profile


2608 posts in 3441 days

#2 posted 02-26-2016 01:05 PM

The compressed air will cool everything down, I do that when drilling on the lathe. I’ve noticed that forstner bits get the wood hot. Also feed rate could be a factor. Capt. Eddie has a video on sharpening forstner bits. I’ve had good luck with brad point bits in end grain, but I don’t have any large ones.

-- My reality check bounced...

View rwe2156's profile


2804 posts in 1390 days

#3 posted 02-26-2016 01:13 PM

Have you tied a standard drill bit? I think a sharp bit using a slow feed rate should counter any drift caused by following the grain.

Just for jollies, have you tried a spade bit? I’ve actually had pretty decent results using spade bits (with spurs) and a fast speed on the drill press.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View distrbd's profile


2252 posts in 2355 days

#4 posted 02-26-2016 01:26 PM

I would first try a good quality forstner bit that is sharp, use the slowest speed like 250 rpm on the drill press, clamp your stock for drilling each hole,feed slowly,lift ,wait a few seconds for the bit to cool down, drill again.

Rwe also has a good suggestion to use a spade bits but the way I would do though is to use a size smaller than the actual required size, then use twist drill bits to get the final size.

-- Ken from Ontario, Canada

View Clarkie's profile


453 posts in 1750 days

#5 posted 02-26-2016 01:44 PM

Good morning RR, ever tried a little bees wax on the bit? Try it on a piece of waste first, then see what you think. Have fun make some dust.

View rrdesigns's profile


531 posts in 3095 days

#6 posted 02-26-2016 03:11 PM

@Nubsnstubs The holes are 25mm and 31mm.

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

View HokieKen's profile


4625 posts in 1047 days

#7 posted 02-26-2016 03:34 PM

I would pilot the holes with the forstner bits then finish them with twist bits that will do a better job of evacuating the waste.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Ger21's profile


1074 posts in 3040 days

#8 posted 02-26-2016 09:15 PM

Try a carbide tipped forstner or boring bit.

What rpm are you currently using to drill them? Usually, if the bit is burning or getting dull fast, your rpm’s are much too high.

-- Gerry,

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2599 days

#9 posted 02-27-2016 12:57 AM

Beth, Spade bits with spurs don’t seem to get nearly as hot as Forstners (especially in cherry).

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View builtinbkyn's profile


1966 posts in 849 days

#10 posted 02-27-2016 01:14 AM

These WoodOwl bits are great. Bought one to drill dog holes. They are slick and have three cutting edges. Or speedbor bits would probably work well too. I think a bit that pulls itself thru the wood is the way to go. Speedbor bits clear chips well, which will reduce heat buildup.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

View gwilki's profile


181 posts in 1383 days

#11 posted 02-27-2016 04:05 PM

I would use a brad point bit to get to within about 1/4” of the bottom, then use a forstner to do the last 1/4, so that you a clean, flat bottom.

-- Grant Wilkinson, Ottawa ON

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