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Indexing and drilling holes in bowl walls

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by Randy Anderson, Feb 10, 2021.

  1. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    Inspired by what I see in the gallery I decided to learn how to use the built in indexing on my lathe to add some decoration to my work. First attempt attached - 9" elm with 12 3/8" holes. Nothing fancy but the holes along with the two beads does I think help a lot. There's a handy index chart in the manual that gives info on how to get different configurations and seems straightforward. The part that I think I need to focus on is drilling the holes straight, clean and in line with the bowl axis. I used a very sharp forstner bit with careful and slow approach to start the hole and drilled partially through from outside and inside before punching through to avoid hole chipping. I finished my turning and NR scraper work before I drilled the holes. I drilled the holes while on the lathe.

    Questions - better to finish turning then drill holes or drill then do a final pass of turning? Maybe drill from outside before you even turn the inside? Tips on making sure holes are in line with bowl axis? Drill holder jigs?
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Doug Freeman

    Doug Freeman

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    I would try drilling from the outside just before the last pass or 2 on the outside. The ID would be either full or plenty of wall thickness. What Im not sure of is whether too much structural integrity is lost making finish cutting of the ID difficult. For 3/8” size hole I’d use a brad point bit. Could use a countersink bit to chamfer the holes after all cutting is complete.

    the drill does to to be held in position with a jig allowing 1 axis motion - pushing the drill into the wood. Another option would be a lathe mounted router fluting jig and plunging the router to bore the holes.
     
  3. Russ Braun

    Russ Braun

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    I would say repeatability is key for doing indexing work; that means using jigs as opposed to hand held. I would drill my holes after creating my outside form, then turn the inside exposing them. Finishing would be the final step for me.
     
  4. Don Wattenhofer

    Don Wattenhofer

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    Plunging a router bit into the wood would be a problem since router bits are generally not center cutting, but it might work to first drill a smaller hole with a twist drill then finish with a plunged router bit. The problem of chipping on the inside could possibly be solved by clamping a contoured scrap on the inside of the bowl.
     
  5. Richard Coers

    Richard Coers

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    It's not an issue of router bits generally not center drilling, it's just a matter of buying the correct bit. You can even buy straight 2 flute bits that center cut. Drill with something that has long sharp spurs for the cleanest cut. I have a set of carbide forstner bits that have spurs like knives. Also backing up the hole with a piece of scrap wood, rigid insulation, or even tape will make less chipout.
     
  6. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    I prefer to.drill before hollowing. Does take a little..ore skill.to turn it it's too easy to.get blow out from the drill bit if you drill after turning. I make my own drilling jigs out of wood. They work great. Crap. Files from my phone are too large. Ill.download some photos later today..
     
  7. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    I have the OneWay Drill Wizard. It allows you to drill on center. I have uses it on small turnings, but not larger ones. Not sure how large a turning you could do, but I would think a nice size bowl. Just a matter on how far back you banjo goes. The only other thing is most keyless drills won’t fit because of the clamp. I’m using my 1990 Craftsman drill.

    Edit: I usually put tape on both sides to help control tearing the wood.
     
  8. George Kuipers

    George Kuipers

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    In the process of completing a 9" bowl, 3" high with 12 - 1/2" holes around the top edge.
    I finished turning the outside, marked the location of the holes, made a jig for the drill press and drilled the holes around 3/4" deep.
    Then finished turning the inside, cut a groove in the rim for the coloured glass, cut square pieces of glass for the holes and sealed them with silicone.
    Finished the groove with crushed lapis lazuli to match the blue glass in the windows (holes).
     
  9. GRJensen

    GRJensen

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    I use a OneWay Drill Wizard and the indexing system with a Skil hand drill.
     
  10. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    Thanks - didn't know oneway made a jig like that. Looking now. This is the crossroads a lot of us home shop folks end up at - make or buy. Making jigs and rigs to do specialized tasks is part of the enjoyment but, sometimes it's better to just bite the bullet and buy it rather than spend days trying to replicate it.

    Follow up - found a thread here where the drill wizard is discussed. Saw other uses for it for mounting tools, etc. Net - ordering one. Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2021
  11. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    I wouldn’t even think about trying to make something like it for the price. As all OneWay tools it is a quality item. Just find the right drill to fit.
     
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  12. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    The oneway drill is excellent. really expensive but excellent. My system takes just minutes to make and works fantastic. Just take a square piece of wood and turn a tenon to match your banjo. Drill a hole the size of the drill bit you want to use and your ready to go. You can drill angled holes that will produce an oval after you turn a dowel that is glued into that hole. You can use Foresner style bits if you drill a hole the size of the shank and insert the bit through the drill guide before attaching it to your drill.
     

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    Gary Beasley and Mark Jundanian like this.
  13. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    John, clever and simple...I like it.
     
  14. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    Here is another photo You notice there are other holes in this one. I can get 4 different sizes of drill bits in one of these blanks. I do have several more of these drill guides with different holes and one has a metal piece welded to a steel tool post so the drill guide is cantilever out and can reach where my banjo won't let me go.
     

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    George Kuipers likes this.
  15. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    Isn't there a Murphy's Law for this? If you buy the specialized tool, you end up not enjoying or liking the resulting product, quit using it, and it expensively collects dust. If you make the tool, it doesn't quite work right, you end up giving up, and it sits inexpensively taking up shop space.
     
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  16. Mike Brazeau

    Mike Brazeau

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    I made this up years ago ago with a bushing kit from Lee Valley. I checked recently and they are still available. Will work with Brad Point bits and some smaller Forstners. Our guild site is being updated soon so link may not function in the future. http://ghwg.ca/techniques/Drill_Guide.pdf
     
  17. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    For me there is the side of real enjoyment when the tool does just what you want. What I first bought it for was Christmas ornament bird houses. Drilling the perch and entry hole in line and two different size holes. I tried different ways including using drill bushings in a post similar to Johns, but sometimes the holes would not be in line making the base scrap. They all come out perfect with the drill wizard. Didn’t have to sell many of these ornaments to pay for the drill wizard. I have used it for other things and happy with it.
     
  18. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    Got my drill wizard in. Very sturdy and looks well made. Problem - the post is too long for my Jet 1642. On my lathe the banjo lock shaft runs underneath the center of the post hole so it limits the length of any 1" posts I use. I've had to cut some before. I only need about 1/2" and really hate to cut the darn thing right out of the box but it has to be on center line...
     
  19. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    Unless you'd want to drill your accent holes at an angle....?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2021
  20. Randy Anderson

    Randy Anderson

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    Mark, maybe as an option but not as the default...
     

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