drilling long straight holes in end grain

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Forum topic by 10boreracket posted 05-02-2011 01:32 AM 10666 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 3234 days

05-02-2011 01:32 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wood turning boring end grain d-bit drill wander hard wood maple musical instrument question lathe

My project is a 10” cylindrical block of hard maple with 10 bores drilled end-to-end, starting in the center and then consistently smaller bores surrounding it. I have attempted to drill two around the center bore, but they have both wandered off of parallel by about 1/2” from one end to the other.
I am using D-bits on a lathe, with the bit spinning and the wood being pushed onto the spinning bit.
Any tips would be appreciated.

9 replies so far

View crank49's profile


4005 posts in 2608 days

#1 posted 05-02-2011 02:11 AM

What type of drill bit are you using?
How are you securing the block, and are you sure the block is parallel to the bit?

View 10boreracket's profile


4 posts in 3234 days

#2 posted 05-02-2011 02:18 AM

The d-bit is made of drill rod of varying diameters depending on the size of the bore required. I am hand feeding the wood onto the spinning bit and removing it often to remove the swarf. I would love to know how this was done in the 18thC.

View crank49's profile


4005 posts in 2608 days

#3 posted 05-02-2011 02:33 AM

I assume you have the drill bit in the lathe chuck.
You need some kind of “V” shaped trough mounted to the lathe bed that is parallel to the drill bit in all planes.
Then you could feed this by hand by sliding the part along the trough.
The height of the trough would locate the hole the correct distance from the center hole.
The part would be rotated in the trough to set the distance between each small hole.
I thin I would use a double land type brad point bit and drill as far as possible.
This would establish a good true hole for your long drill rod bit to work in and finish the hole.

View Loren's profile


8685 posts in 3285 days

#4 posted 05-02-2011 02:35 AM

Sounds like a very tricky cut to get right. I’m not sure I would even
attempt it.

Nonetheless, drills ground with a “cabinetmaker’s” point (similar to
brad point bits) drill better (more concentrically) in wood end grain
that standard bits made for drilling metal.

View crank49's profile


4005 posts in 2608 days

#5 posted 05-02-2011 02:37 AM

You could make a bunch of 1” or 2” thick disks, drill the holes slightly undersized, then glue the stack together.
Then hand drill the holes to correct diameter, because the bit is not likely to wander in a pre-drilled hole.

View swirt's profile


2222 posts in 2609 days

#6 posted 05-02-2011 05:17 AM

There is some great info here about drilling straight in end grain.
THe specific drilling part starts about half-way down the page.

-- Galootish log blog,

View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2330 days

#7 posted 05-02-2011 05:57 AM

I have had some sucess drilling a straight hole in the end of a 4×4 block using the drill press with a clamp. The clamp was nothing more that a board with a hole in the middle a little bigger than the hole I wanted to drill in the 4×4. On each end of the clamp board I drilled holes and inserted all thread so I could mount the clamp to my drill press table. Where the all thread needed to go through the drill press table I cut slots, front to back so that I could adjust the distance of the hole from the drill press table fence. I then placed the 4×4 centered at the hole in the clamp board between the clamp board and the drill press table. Tighten down the nuts on the all thread and drilled my hole. Best I can remember I was only drilling into a piece around 6” long not 10”. But I did have to resort to bit extensions.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View 10boreracket's profile


4 posts in 3234 days

#8 posted 05-03-2011 04:30 PM

It is going to be a baroque rackett, which is the precursor to the bassoon. There are videos on-line where you can listen to one being played.
In the photo is a diagram of a cross-section and a finished one in the other.

View shipwright's profile


7529 posts in 2435 days

#9 posted 05-04-2011 04:17 AM

My guess is that in the 18’th century they used a barefoot ship’s auger. They are specifically for drilling end grain.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

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