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Forum topic by airman posted 10-24-2010 11:13 PM 1314 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View airman's profile


51 posts in 1998 days

10-24-2010 11:13 PM

drill a straight hole!!?? Just got thru turning a pepper mill. Using the marks from the lathe I drill the hole for the mechanisms and the hole is not centered. I checked the drill bit to be sure that it was 90 degrees to table and that the mill also ninety degrees. The hole still exited off center. This is not the first time this has happened to me. Maybe I should try for off center and then it would drill true.

21 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


113009 posts in 2359 days

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

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

-- Custom furniture

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 1897 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


2509 posts in 2309 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.

-- “While the world with closed eyes sleeps, The sky knows and weeps - steel rain. ” ― Nathan Bell

View interpim's profile


1133 posts in 2241 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 1705 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


5414 posts in 1580 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 fiberglass trees.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


1890 posts in 1891 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.

View lew's profile


10202 posts in 2538 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


4525 posts in 1857 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


2109 posts in 2314 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.

-- in the confusion, I mighta grabbed the gold ...

View shipwright's profile


5414 posts in 1580 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 fiberglass trees.

View crank49's profile (online now)


3588 posts in 1753 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.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 2806 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


3976 posts in 1911 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


15246 posts in 2458 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

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

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