Seeking method to bore end grain hole in pine 4x4

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Forum topic by jimintx posted 01-16-2018 04:19 PM 3254 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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917 posts in 2039 days

01-16-2018 04:19 PM

Topic tags/keywords: forstner drill press hole bore end grain pine

I want to bore a 2-1/8” hole into the center of the end of a pine 4×4. The piece of pine is only about 9 inches long, so I can easily set this up on my floor standing drill press. However, my new forstner bit of the correct diameter just almost will not cut into the stock.

I had intended to make this hole about 2 inches deep, but after a long time at the dp, over several tries, i have only gotten it to about 3/8” deep. I used a hand drill to drill out a lot of small holes in the end of the piece in the circle to be cut out, thinking it would ease the cutting demand on the forstner. As far as I can detect, it did not make any difference, although directionally, it had to help, I’d think.

I’d like to read any ideas on how to best do this. If there is a workable method, I want to make about 10 pieces like this, but for now the entire project is on hold.

Many thanks, folks!

(Btw, it is just a primitive votive candle holder craft project I’m interested in experimenting with.)

-- Jim, Houston, TX

23 replies so far

View bigblockyeti's profile


5842 posts in 2176 days

#1 posted 01-16-2018 04:30 PM

It sounds like your bit might not be sharp enough. I have a Porter Cable set from Amazon and they do an OK job cutting end grain even up to the biggest 2” bit. The steel isn’t the best but sharp enough for the time being even with my smaller drill press. What brand of bits are you using?

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Ripper70's profile


1294 posts in 1364 days

#2 posted 01-16-2018 04:33 PM

Hmm. That doesn’t seem right. At what speed are you running the DP? Should probably somewhere around 900 r.p.m. Are you sure the bit is sharp? A 4”x4” piece of pine should cut like butter with a sharp bit, I would imagine.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View GR8HUNTER's profile


6348 posts in 1167 days

#3 posted 01-16-2018 04:42 PM

i would guess RPM s :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View jimintx's profile


917 posts in 2039 days

#4 posted 01-16-2018 05:06 PM

I sure thought it would cut more readily, too. The replies are appreciated.

It is a never-before-used Rockler. It’s right out of the package, so it might need sharpening – I can give that a try.

I was running it at 300 RPM. I will see how it goes at a higher speed, like the 900 mentioned above.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View waho6o9's profile


8714 posts in 3032 days

#5 posted 01-16-2018 05:23 PM

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1927 posts in 618 days

#6 posted 01-16-2018 08:02 PM

2” deep is not significant enough to slow down a good sharp Forstner with the correct speed and torque.
and just asking on the safety side, is the 4×4 securely clamped to the table ?

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

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917 posts in 2039 days

#7 posted 01-16-2018 10:07 PM

Yep, very secure.
My Dad, the blue collar machinist by trade, was teaching safety and awareness as soon as I could walk.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4103 days

#8 posted 01-16-2018 10:24 PM

I might try drilling on face grain just to check
the sharpness of the cutter. End grain can
be difficult.

Still, sounds like a dull cutter.

View Matt Rogers's profile

Matt Rogers

110 posts in 2425 days

#9 posted 01-16-2018 10:35 PM

Get a cheap carbide bit. They are very inexpensive on Amazon, Banggood, and other sites. The Chinese ones work great and they are sharp and stay sharp. You will occasionally find a brand that has a bit designed poorly, with too long or too short center point, or something else weird, but for the cost of less than a standard steel bit, I take the occasional bad apple. I mean all the bits that you are going to use are made there anyway so no reason not to try them (or Taiwan, or phillipines, or another overseas market). You have to go to a $70 bit to get a perfect quality German one.

-- Matt Rogers, and

View bilyo's profile


780 posts in 1558 days

#10 posted 01-16-2018 10:39 PM

At the risk of asking a silly question (but I must ask): is it possible that the DP is rotating the wrong way? It seems to me that even a “not-to-sharp” forstner bit should cut better than that.

View jimintx's profile


917 posts in 2039 days

#11 posted 01-16-2018 10:55 PM

bilyo, the machine is rotating the right direction.

It’s generally a good question. For example, I can tell you about what happens when you mount a blade backwards in a table saw … but I won’t go off on that tangent now.

But in this case that sort of thing isn’t the issue, and I don’t know any way to make this drill press spin the other direction.
. . .

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View robscastle's profile


6275 posts in 2659 days

#12 posted 01-16-2018 11:03 PM

Sell it, it sounds like a great tool in the wrong hands.

-- Regards Rob

View Gilley23's profile


489 posts in 837 days

#13 posted 01-16-2018 11:29 PM

Try the forstner bit on another piece of wood and see how it does. Try it in a different drill….maybe yours isn’t gripping it tight enough?

View bandit571's profile (online now)


23440 posts in 3138 days

#14 posted 01-16-2018 11:35 PM

Just cutting too slow, speed the RPMs up.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View bilyo's profile


780 posts in 1558 days

#15 posted 01-17-2018 12:17 AM

Sell it, it sounds like a great tool in the wrong hands.

- robscastle

Very inappropriate!!. I hope you are joking!!

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