Using a lamp auger

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 01-22-2011 08:26 PM 6370 views 1 time favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4541 posts in 3103 days

01-22-2011 08:26 PM

The preferred method for drilling a long hole through the center of a turned lamp is to use an auger that is inserted through the tail stock. This requires you to have a hollow point in your tail stock.

The only hollow point I have ever found is “dead” (i.e. it is not a live center). It remains fixed and the wood turns of it. It’s not a particularly good idea because there is friction and heat.

Does anyone know of a hollow point center that is a live center (i.e. it has bearings and it spins with the wood)?

b.t.w. – I have also learned that using a auger like this to drill a hole is a very slow process. You must pull the auger out frequently to clear the chips.

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

7 replies so far

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3088 days

#1 posted 01-22-2011 08:40 PM


Check with your local dealer of Jet tools. I have a Jet Midi lathe that came with a live center on the tail stock that does just what you need. It has a pointed piece in the middle of the live center that can be removed (this does not disturb the use of the bearing either) leaving a hole through which you can insert the lamp auger. I am almost certain that is a #2 Morse Taper. I am not certain, but I think you could drill up to about a 3/8” hole in this manner.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3027 days

#2 posted 01-23-2011 01:45 AM

I think I bought mine at woodturners catalog but I really don’t remember. Possibly woodworkers supply? Has been many years ago.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View hairy's profile


2720 posts in 3561 days

#3 posted 01-23-2011 02:25 AM

I have this one from Oneway.

It is hollow. The hole is 5/16”. It is a very versatile tool that gets a lot of use around here.

-- My reality check bounced...

View tdv's profile


1188 posts in 3099 days

#4 posted 01-23-2011 03:12 AM

I have a live centre Rich with interchangeable hollow centre for long boring or point it’s very useful

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

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4541 posts in 3103 days

#5 posted 01-23-2011 03:19 AM

Thank’s all. I think I will check on the Jet idea first. I’m aware of the Oneway option, but the auger I have is 3/8”. If neccesarry, I could buy a 5/16” auger.

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

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 3227 days

#6 posted 01-23-2011 03:20 AM

Ctraftsupplies( has pleant of them, the Jet lathe I have came with one but…. I had already ruined the point on a pen mandrel, and figured there would be no problem using it as a hollow center but… the auger I got was 3/8” just like the center was suppossed to be, but I had to drill it out, no problem, the bearing dont show thought and I have done well with it. I always have some sort of problem. This being said, I drilled a lamp hole with a drive center in the head stock and the ponit took a chunk out of the front blade on the auger. This still works but it is something to be careful with. Yes you do have to clear chips frequently, sometimes it will get stuck if the chips build up, it will also get very hot. I have since switched to a gun drill bit, these have a hole through the bit for oil to cool the bit and clear the shavings. I made a handle for mine that hooks up to my air compressor. This shoots the chips back out of the tailstock ( at high speed) Wear your mask and some gloves, it like a sand blaster ( really). This process goes a lot faster, like you are done before yopu would have cleared out the first round of chips with the auger.
Mor info on the gun drill bit… I bought it on ebay, quite reasonably, the longest one I could find is 22”, the tail stock takes almost 10 inches itself so, sometimes I need to reverse the direction and attack it from the headstock ( not using a spur drive). sometimes I even use the auger to finish the hole.

I am not in businesss with this guy, but this is the link to his ebay listing of the bit I bought

It says $40 buy it now, or best offer, I won’t tell you what my offer was, but it was accepted. By the way this is just a tad smaller than 3/8” which is .375” this one is .3715”, it has not been a problem.
Good luck

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View Stephen Mines's profile

Stephen Mines

226 posts in 2719 days

#7 posted 01-23-2011 08:41 PM

Hi Rich,
I saw your comment on lamp making/through hole drilling to Chris_T. I just sent him a kinda detailed idea of how to do it differently than deep hole gun drilling. Check out the note I sent him and if it helps you I’m a happy camper. If more details would help, just ask. By the way, deep hole drilling CAN be done on a drill press. I have a drill press set up to take a piece 82” long. Couple of tricks for that: mount a “pin” at the bottom (like a pin router) and keep turning the piece 1/4 to 1/2 turn as you drill…it’ll hellp to keep the bit from wandering. Oh, and invest in a little ladder. :-)
Regards, Stephen

-- Stephen Mines (

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