Drilling on the lathe using pliers?

Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

igran7

Member
Joined
Feb 9, 2006
Messages
1,067
Location
Clackamas, Oregon, USA.
I know I saw a video on U-Tube a while back that showed someone drilling using the lathe and holding the blank with a pair of pliers. Does anyone know where I can find that video?

Thanks for any and all help with this.
 
Signed-In Members Don't See This Ad

wudnhed

Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2006
Messages
2,685
Location
Brawley, CA, USA.
He makes it look so easy.................I would probably have a pair of pliers sticking out of my forehead if I attempted this:beat-up:
 
Last edited:

Dalecamino

Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2008
Messages
14,191
Location
Indianapolis, In.
You know ? I bought a drill chuck from JohnnyCNC over a year ago , and have never used it . Thanks to this thread it comes to mind to give it a try . My little Crapsman DP does ok , but seems to be developing a wobble . Thanks for posting this thread .
 

babyblues

Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2007
Messages
656
Location
Portland, ME, USA.
Yikes! Another example of something that isn't a good idea no matter how many people DON'T get hurt doing it, lol. I can see drill bits and pliers bouncing all over the place.
 

Wheaties

Member
Joined
May 8, 2009
Messages
714
Location
Omaha, NE
Yikes! Another example of something that isn't a good idea no matter how many people DON'T get hurt doing it, lol. I can see drill bits and pliers bouncing all over the place.

Like bungee jumping! It isn't a good idea no matter how many people DON'T get hurt doing it
 

Texatdurango

Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
4,650
Location
Show Low, Arizona
Personally I see nothing wrong with holding the antler with the pliars!

I read a post recently where some were shocked to see a motorized sanding pad being used to sand a spinning bowl. Seems like some think unless you use a proper tool placed against a proper tool rest that you are just an accident waiting to happen and that just isn't so.

I have also seen proper tools bent or broken even when used with proper tool rests which proves safety comes from the common sense of the user not just the tool!
 

Fred

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Messages
3,557
Location
N.E. Atlanta, Georgia U.S.A.
I have also seen proper tools bent or broken even when used with proper tool rests which proves safety comes from the common sense of the user not just the tool!

Just shows to go ya that if any tool is used wrong in the slightest way it can get ya!

Maybe with some tools it is the proper way that one holds their mouth. Kinda reminds me of my grandfather .. He always had his tongue sticking out of his mouth a little bit when he was hammering nails and such. Then one day something happened or went wrong and the hammer flew back and split his tongue right down the middle. He NEVER stuck out his tongue after that one!
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2006
Messages
7,866
Location
Tellico Plains, Tennessee, USA.
Yikes! Another example of something that isn't a good idea no matter how many people DON'T get hurt doing it, lol. I can see drill bits and pliers bouncing all over the place.

My thoughts too... I've drilled with a drill press holding the blank with pliers, but I also get a 40% failure rate.... I recently saw something about putting the blank in the chuck... using pin jaws, putting the drill bit in a jacobs chuck in the tail stock and advancing the tail stock... actually works quite well and less likelihood of damaging the bit, the blank, the head, the hand or any other part of the body.
 

Randy_

Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2004
Messages
5,708
Location
Dallas suburb, Texas, USA.
Yikes! Another example of something that isn't a good idea no matter how many people DON'T get hurt doing it, lol. I can see drill bits and pliers bouncing all over the place.

When working around power tools there is always a certain element of risk involved even if you follow all of the rules......which most people don't.

People all have different perceptions of what is dangerous and what is not and they have different ideas about what is an acceptable level of risk to expose themselves too. I know lots of people who are deathly afraid of table saws; but use them anyway because they are always very careful..... probably moreso than most of us..... and have determined that the element of risk is not higher than they are willing to undertake.

Personally, I don't see the drilling of blanks on a lathe with a pair of pliers as being a particularly risky exercise. Probably the thing that scares me most is the reports of some people about using a power miter saw to trim pen blanks.

I respect the choice of those who choose not to use the drilling method described in the video; but, personally, believe it is a pretty low risk operation. I have used the technique myself and never seen any indication that it could be a problem. :)
 

Texatdurango

Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
4,650
Location
Show Low, Arizona
I would hazard a guess that several of those saying that this practice is unsafe, probably don't even wear a face shield while turning, I guess safety is all about perception afterall.

If you work around hand and power tools long enough, things are going to happen and the only way to be totally safe is to stay in the house.... where some probably belong to begin with! :eek:
 

workinforwood

Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2007
Messages
8,173
Location
Eaton Rapids, Michigan, USA.
You would be correct George that many times I don't wear a face shield. I agree with all you say really. There's risk in everything. I was not being king of safety or anything of the sort, I was simply making a quip. If I do something extra strange, I'm more likely to get injured. So to use pliers, I'm sure they'd end up in my eye because I'm not smart enough to wear a face mask all the time! Use your pliers..I never even cared, just saw some humor in it is all.
 

Chasper

Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2007
Messages
1,981
Location
Indiana
I've been using this method for most drilling since it was first posted here; not just for antler but for most other blank drilling as well. I think it is safe, but agree you must be cautious, as with any use of power tools. Failure rate for me has been under 1%. The only failure I've had is when using a really sharp bit, the bit will want to grab and pull the blank into the bit. For the first two inches of the hole the pressure on the pliers should be to stop the blank from turning around but also to push it back into the tail stock. Make sure the tail stock is controling the penetration speed, don't let the bit take over.
 

Texatdurango

Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2007
Messages
4,650
Location
Show Low, Arizona
You would be correct George that many times I don't wear a face shield. I agree with all you say really. There's risk in everything. I was not being king of safety or anything of the sort, I was simply making a quip. If I do something extra strange, I'm more likely to get injured. So to use pliers, I'm sure they'd end up in my eye because I'm not smart enough to wear a face mask all the time! Use your pliers..I never even cared, just saw some humor in it is all.
Jeff, actually we're sorta both in the same boat in that I too was looking at the light side of all this.

Frequently when someone shows a video or discusses a process, some see the need to jump in with... "Did you see how they held their skew?" or "See how low their tool post was?" as if there was an accident waiting to happen unless you used your basic tool post and choice of 5 gouges using an approved pen mandrel! These are tools and there are a million ways to safely use them and as I said above, I've seen more than one photo on this forum where some poor soul turned his 1/4" pen mandrel into spagetti and I thought "how on earth did they do that".
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2021
Messages
48
Location
NZ
Although quite unconventional it looks safely and thoughtfully executed. And quick.
Biggest hazard would be anything like a loose sleeve catching. Can't see a reason for pliers to be embedded into anything, like a forehead....
I just straighten antler a bit on the edge sander and mount it in the jaws might have to try a couple of positions before drilling.That bent stuff is going to be turned away anyway.
Seems difficult for me to find antler small and solid.Spikers (first year) seem to be the best.Density seems quite variable.
 

monophoto

Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2010
Messages
2,072
Location
Saratoga Springs, NY
I don't know if there is really a right or wrong way to drill on the lathe. I normally use a jacobs chuck in the tailstock with the blank mounted in either a scroll chuck or a collet chuck in the headstock. I've tried holding a drill bit in pliers or vice-grips a few times (and I have an old drill bit mounted in a handle for drilling depth holes for hollowing vessels). I tried mounting the jacobs chuck in the headstock and pushing the blank into the bit once or twice. The most common problem with those alternate methods is getting the bit truly centered in the blank.

But my bottom line is that for me, the tailstock-mounted jacobs chuck approach always works, while the other techniques have often failed. So I do what works for me.
 

sbwertz

Member
Joined
May 11, 2010
Messages
3,392
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Personally I see nothing wrong with holding the antler with the pliars!

I read a post recently where some were shocked to see a motorized sanding pad being used to sand a spinning bowl. Seems like some think unless you use a proper tool placed against a proper tool rest that you are just an accident waiting to happen and that just isn't so.

I have also seen proper tools bent or broken even when used with proper tool rests which proves safety comes from the common sense of the user not just the tool!
I often use a sanding disk in a battery drill on the lathe.
 
Joined
Sep 24, 2006
Messages
7,866
Location
Tellico Plains, Tennessee, USA.
Since antler pen blanks are often curved or slightly mishapen, it's probably more efficient to hold with pliers as you can easily judge where the drill bill will go through on a straight line. I don't do pens any more, but I did drill most of my antler using the pliers method.
 

NGLJ

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2021
Messages
137
Location
Surrey BC, Canada
I spent may years working in the chemical industry where safety is paramount. I designed and taught safety procedures to engineers and process workers. I worked on accident investigation teams. One thing that I always emphasized is that safety is a state of mind. You can tell people a hundred times what they should do but if they don't "think safety" they will make a mistake. I can't think of one incident, some major, where someone's careless act was not a major contributor. Basically "if you want something to be screwed up just introduce people". You might think that because of my background that my shop looks pristine and I walk around covered in protective clothing. No it looks like most woodworkers shops (dusty) and there is a practical limit as to what you can wear without that in and of itself adding risks. You need protection but you also need mobility and dexterity. My mindset is "if it doesn't feel right it likely isn't, find another way". Use your Spidey-Sense like Peter Parker :).
 

sbwertz

Member
Joined
May 11, 2010
Messages
3,392
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Since antler pen blanks are often curved or slightly mishapen, it's probably more efficient to hold with pliers as you can easily judge where the drill bill will go through on a straight line. I don't do pens any more, but I did drill most of my antler using the pliers method.
Me too.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2021
Messages
48
Location
NZ
Think of it as a horizontal drill press and moving the table instead of the drill press quill...and degree of risk,well a bit of antler might get airborne. Not much different to holding a blank in a clamp to drill it on a drill press.
 
Top Bottom