Drilling foot long hole in a 'broom handle'

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Forum topic by Graebeard posted 06-15-2012 03:55 AM 4432 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 2525 days

06-15-2012 03:55 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tip question

I need to drill a 1/4 hole through the middle of a roughly foot long wooden dowel for a fishing rod handle. I could use shorter pre-drilled pieces laminated together but that would destroy the grain. I could use a footlong 2×2 then turn it on a lathe, but I still need some advice on drilling such a long hole.

Anyone have experience with this?


13 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3824 days

#1 posted 06-15-2012 04:15 AM

Chuck the the over long blank into a chuck on your headstock
supporting the other end with a center on the tailstock. Feed
a long drill through the lathe headstock. You may have to make
some sort of apparatus to center the drill in the headstock.

After the hole is drilled to depth, remove the waste piece
from the tailstock end, then remount using the hole as
the center axis and turn the exterior.

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


720 posts in 3449 days

#2 posted 06-15-2012 07:34 AM

The easiest way would be to route the center out using two 1×2s and a half-inch cove bit routing down the center line. Then glue the two 1×2s together and turn them on a lathe. But i understand your comments on the grain.

My next trick would be to set up your drill press carefully with a tall fence. Using a half-inch brad-point bit, drill down as far as you can. This should take you down about 5 inches or so. If you can find a longer brad-point bit, use that.

Now unclamp the dowel and turn it end for end. Drill down from that end.

That should bring the two holes within an inch or two of meeting, depending on the length of the bit. Now, using a long half-inch spade bit or auger bit, connect the two holes.

I think that should work for you. Good luck.


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2462 days

#3 posted 06-15-2012 09:49 AM

Get a spoon drill. Pass that through your head stock. I don’t have a lathe. I’ve drilled really long holes for flutes and fujara by hand using them. Needless to say they’re not high speed, but I’ve yet to come out the side and some holes have been 4 feet long. Other folks use them on a lathe. Look primitive but work well.

Spoon drills example

Lately I’ve been ripping stock in half, routing it down the middle with a core box bit and then gluing the 2 cores back together. With a good rip there’s very little offset in the grain if any is notceable at all.
It’s rip, route, glue. No sanding the ripped edge. Make it round after it’s back in one piece.

View cliff56's profile


10 posts in 2353 days

#4 posted 06-15-2012 10:36 AM

long bit chucked in tailstock use a steadt to keep from wobble done many times go slow and clear chips often

View kizerpea's profile


775 posts in 2543 days

#5 posted 06-15-2012 11:03 AM

All i know to say is…...good luck to ya…


View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2869 days

#6 posted 06-15-2012 11:18 AM

I know it’s pricy but get a lamp auger and a hollow lathe center and bore fron the tailstock.
Just found this one, imported and the cheapest available price –

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View Bobmedic's profile


381 posts in 2978 days

#7 posted 06-16-2012 01:19 AM

Yes bore from the tailstock. The rotation of the piece is the same as drill bits so you won’t be able to drill from the headstock unless your lathe can reverse. most lamp augers are ⅜ or 5/16. It depends on the size of the hole in the tailstock.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18380 posts in 3852 days

#8 posted 06-16-2012 02:24 AM

Go to the local hardware store and get a bell hanger drill bit. It is twist drill with a wood point for drilling wood. Set up a guide that keeps it in line with your dowel. I have drilled a Kentucky Style rifle stock for the ram rod doing this method.

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

View Graebeard's profile


7 posts in 2525 days

#9 posted 06-18-2012 05:57 AM

Thanks everyone. The spoon drill and lamp auger are news to me but I’ll see if I can find them at Lee Valley or other place locally. I have an inexpensive lathe and the tailstock is not readily movable so not sure how that would work. I’ll need to try that.

Thanks all for the advice and suggestions.

View 489tad's profile


3448 posts in 3187 days

#10 posted 06-18-2012 08:34 PM

I agree with FirehouseWoodworking on doing it in two pieces.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View ksSlim's profile


1286 posts in 3066 days

#11 posted 06-18-2012 10:12 PM

Ditto “do it in 2 pieces”.

-- Sawdust and shavings are therapeutic

View fitzhugh's profile


14 posts in 2935 days

#12 posted 06-19-2012 07:13 AM

While I don’t have a good answer myself, what comes to mind is a rifle barrel and the solutions found in drilling them. I recall seeing a few books that discuss the old techniques for doing so in the linday publishing catalog – they’re the ones who put out the Gingery “Machine Shop from Scrap” series (if you don’t know the publisher, or the series, check them out – along with the old Foxfire series of old-time living).

Ah, they have one title called “Deep Hole Drilling” which just might help. I do think they’d be focused on metal but they might still have some good ideas you can adapt.

Try interlibrary loan through your library – they might be able to get a copy for you to borrow for free from another library, even if it has to come from another state. If not, they’re under $10 in any case.

“Making Rifle Barrels”
“Deep Hole Drilling”

Good luck!

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2462 days

#13 posted 06-19-2012 11:28 AM

But it’s not a rifle barrel. It’s only a foot long. The flutes I make a generally longer than that. A Fujara is about 4 feet long. I can spoon auger a hole for those in about an hour by hand. The rip-route-glue method is by far the easiest for this and if your rip is good you won’t even see the glue line. Use a core box bit and it’s a piece of cake.

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