Reply by Minorhero

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Posted on Beginning Pen Turning

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373 posts in 3119 days

#1 posted 06-02-2011 03:39 PM

Darn it I forgot the drill bit.

Yea you need an appropriate sized drill bit to drill your wooden blanks. Different pen kits will require different sized holes. You will also need some method of drilling the hole as richgreer said. I looked at the price of centering jigs designed to hold the wooden blank perfectly centered and also looked at the rather nice, but to my mind, elaborate shop made jigs designed to the same thing and decided to take a different route.

I went to my local hardware store and bought a small 3” mechanics vise. I mounted it to a piece of scrap and then clamped the scrap with the vise on it to my drill press. The vise lets me grip the wooden blank in a vertical position. I am probably not perfectly centered, maybe a few millimeters off by the time the drill bit exits the blank, but considering the amount of material that is being removed that doesn’t mean anything. Plus the vise is far from the unitasker other jigs are, so I get to use it for lots of other things. At 50 dollars it is also price comparable.

That being said, if you have the appropriate chucks then using your lathe eliminates the need to buy any other equipment. I would have used this method when starting out, but at the time I didn’t own a chuck that could grip the blank.

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