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TexasRN

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I have been having issues getting my holes centered on my blanks. Last night I ruined 4 Lace Wood blanks. Between the cost and the frustration, I'm thinking its time to look at using the lathe to drill.

As with most, I don't have a ton on money to drop on this upgrade. My lathe takes MT2 and I'm trying to find the best, most budget friendly chuck. So far, I have been looking at the Nova 48111. Any input from anyone?

If I do go with this chuck, do I also need to get Pen Jaws?

Are there other alternatives that I should be looking into?

Thanks to all for any assistance.
 
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Kenny Durrant

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You can get a drill chuck for your lathe. I have a 1/2" chuck and it's been able to do everything I've needed so far. One thing to consider is there anything you might want to do later that if you spend a little more money now for a "Chuck" that will do more than just drill a blank you will save buying an additional tool later.
 

mark james

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On the link you posted, it does not appear that the pen jaws come with it. There may be some holiday sales coming?
 

jttheclockman

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Feb 22, 2005
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NJ, USA.
I have been having issues getting my holes centered on my blanks. Last night I ruined 4 Lace Wood blanks. Between the cost and the frustration, I'm thinking its time to look at using the lathe to drill.

As with most, I don't have a ton on money to drop on this upgrade. My lathe takes MT2 and I'm trying to find the best, most budget friendly chuck. So far, I have been looking at the Nova 48111. Any input from anyone?

If I do go with this chuck, do I also need to get Pen Jaws?

Are there other alternatives that I should be looking into?

Thanks to all for any assistance.
Being you have that chuck you can buy just pen jaws for it. Stand corrected. If you do buy this chuck then add the pen jaws. You will need a drill chuck also so get a 1/2" for sure.

I started out using the dedicated pen jaws from PSI but they had all kinds of problems and not sure if they corrected but I would stay away from them. I did buy a better set of those and they work well. They are the Vicmark set and yes they are pricey but 10 times better than PSI
http://www.timberbits.com/vicmarc-pen-blank-chuck

www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=nova+pen+jaws&tag=mh0b-20&index=aps&hvadid=78683853245465&hvqmt=e&hvbmt=be&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_4qtv80lx72_e
 
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magpens

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In my opinion, you do not need pen jaws, which in my experience always lack accuracy.

You do need a Jacobs chuck for your tailstock, in order to hold the drill bit.
You must also have a live center for mounting in your tailstock. . You will used both of these items a lot.

Before you drill the blank, you should round it. The rounding does not have to be perfect. It is easier to grip a (roughly) rounded blank in the chuck you pictured.

You can round the blank quite accurately on your lathe by following this procedure.
Make a small (roughly) centered hole in each end of the blank (assumed to be sort of square).
Use a dead center (60 degree can work; steb center is better) in the headstock.
Use the live center (60 degree) in tailstock.
Mount the blank between the two centers (tips in the small holes at ends of blank).
Turn the blank round.

If you want, you can roughly round one end of the blank using a sander. . Then grip that end in your headstock chuck jaws and use the live center at the other end. . Then turn the rest of the blank round.

Maybe you can grip one end of a square blank (as is) in your headstock chuck. . Use the live center to steady the other end, and turn round.

Once you have a rounded blank, you can easily grip it at one end in your headstock chuck.

Grip lightly at first and align the blank with the lathe bed using the live center as your guide to do this.

Then remove the live center, replacing it with the Jacobs chuck and drill bit.

Don't drill with the lathe speed too high. . A low speed is better, at least for starting the hole. . Back out the drill often to remove swarf
 
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mecompco

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Fairfield, Maine
I use the cheap Jacobs chuck with attached MT2 from HF--closing in on 300 pens made using it and it's still fine. I have the large PSI pen drilling chuck and it also works great. I like that it's large enough to handle bottle stoppers and even larger blanks.
 

Charlie_W

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Many folks use the lathe to drill and prefer it and many others use the drill press.
You have not explained how the blanks became ruined using the drill press. I would suggest looking closely at your drilling procedure to see where the problem lies. Is it drilling speed( RPM), or advancing the drill too fast? Type of drill bit?....sharpness of bit? Table angle, blank clamping method?
As far as the drilled hole being “centered” in the rough blank, that shouldn’t matter as long as there is still enoug material to achieve the finished dimensions for the particular pen you are turning.

Note the Nova chuck you listed is only for a 1” spindle and will not fit a lathe with a larger spindle if you upgrade in the future, you can usually get the Nova G3 for around $100 when on sale. It will need an adapter $$ to fit your 1” spindle or you may find one which is set up for 1” only.....but back to the same issue. If you can swing it, I would go for the G3. One locking wrench is easier than two tommy bars.
 

TexasRN

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I don't see a problem unless you are drilling a segmented blank and need perfect concentricity. You are going to turn the blank to match the hole with a mandrel or centres anyway why the concern? Or are you drilling out of the side of the blank?
Exactly,,,,I am too far off center and leaving so narrow a side that I was able to collapse it with minimal pressure from my fingers. I have also had issues with the drill bit no being parallel with the bland and my hole being skewed. Not too sure that the skewing is that much of an issue other than that it is frustrating.
 

TexasRN

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I use the cheap Jacobs chuck with attached MT2 from HF--closing in on 300 pens made using it and it's still fine. I have the large PSI pen drilling chuck and it also works great. I like that it's large enough to handle bottle stoppers and even larger blanks.
Are you using two of the jacobs chucks? One for the blank and one for the drill bit?
 

Curly

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Ah in that case the first thing I would check on the Drill Press is to see if the table is square to the head above. The simplest, easiest and cheapest (most important) is to get a wire from a coat hangar and bend it so that with it in the chuck it is bent to the side and then bent again to point at the table. Now with the drill press unplugged rotate the chuck by hand and look to see if/where the wire touches in one spot. If it does try to move the table so the wire touches all around when turned.

If the table can't be adjusted note where the high and low spots are and shim your vice to do the same. That should put you closer to getting a hole down the middle of the blank. Test it with sticks or bits of wood you have before committing to the spendy stuff.

If it doesn't help then you need to see if you are using dull bits. Bent bits, or the chuck has a problem.

The lathe is one of the best ways to make the holes but it can also have its own problems if there are alignment issues between the tailstock and headstock. Plus the need for spending more on the tools.
 

campzeke

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I agree with Charley and Curly above. I have drilled 100's of blanks on my drill press and only have a problem if I get in a hurry or careless. The advice above is 100% on track. Check your setup, make sure your bits are sharp and slow the speed down to 600-800 RPM. If you are using a small table model drill press the table may be flexing downward under pressure. If that's the case and you upgrade the drill press you will have a tool you can use for many other projects down the road. Either way works.... you just need to figure out what you want to do.
 

TexasRN

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I'm certain that it's not the drill bits. First time use for a new kit I bought. The bit is extremely large and difficult to view the exact point that the tip enters the blank. I am using a 2x4 that is split in two with cut outs for the blank. Two clamps at the ends of the 2x4 hold the blank very tightly. My press on has 2" of travel, so after reaching the endpoint, I slide the blank up as high as possible and the slip a sacrificial 2x4 underneath and then continue to drill. Since I am having to moving the entire construct up and down, there is no way to secure it to the drill press table.

If I had to guess, I would think my issue is when the drill bit is first entering the blank......either I am off center or I have the blank tilted in one direction or another.
 

leehljp

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I think many of the above fellows do something automatically, almost without thinking, when they have a similar problem - probably do the following:

1. take the bit out and roll it on a smooth flat surface to see if the bit is true/straight.

2. hold onto the chuck and see if they can wiggle it. (But not when it is turning ;) )

3. check visually under a good light to see if the bit is sharp or the cutting blades are symmetrical.

Before arriving at the conclusion of the DP being off, one needs to eliminate the quick & easy to solve problem.

My DP is good but a good CLAMPING system is needed.

What happens with blowouts is this: I can take a 2x4 board and force drill dozens of holes without much of a problem. There will likely be some tear out but not a problem for the 2x4 and holes. HOWEVER, with a 3/4 by 3/4 blank there is not the mass to hold the integrity of the wood together when drilling unless very careful. Nor is there enough mass to force the drill to go straight, particularly on wood with hard and soft tissue in the grain, i.e. the grain forces the bit in the direction it of least resistance. The only way around this is a FIRM clamping system. The dynamics on a lathe change somewhat in that the exit end is FIRMLY clamped - usually more so than on a blank clamp on a DP.

The guys above have enough experience to the point that they probably instinctively know what to do for a particular grain. On some delicate grains, some people, including me, cover the blank with gauze and a heavy coat of CA to hold it together while we drill.
 
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Curly

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I am using a 2x4 that is split in two with cut outs for the blank. Two clamps at the ends of the 2x4 hold the blank very tightly. My press on has 2" of travel, so after reaching the endpoint, I slide the blank up as high as possible and the slip a sacrificial 2x4 underneath and then continue to drill. Since I am having to moving the entire construct up and down, there is no way to secure it to the drill press table.
The only way I would trust 2x4s is if they were first jointed and then planed before cutting apart and notching. I believe they are your problem. You need a better clamping setup. If you have to boost the clamp to get travel then use MDF or something similar.
 

bsshog40

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I only use a drill press. I never have problems with being off-center unless my blank isn't square but I usually square it up on the saw if too bad. I also have a little push punch to mark my centers to make sure I can line up my drill tip to it. I drill at about 870 rpm. If I need to check my table for being level, I bought this little level at home depot for about $10. Very accurate and nice to have
 

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Charlie_W

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I only use a drill press. I never have problems with being off-center unless my blank isn't square but I usually square it up on the saw if too bad. I also have a little push punch to mark my centers to make sure I can line up my drill tip to it. I drill at about 870 rpm. If I need to check my table for being level, I bought this little level at home depot for about $10. Very accurate and nice to have
This will indeed tell you if the table is level.....but if the entire drill press is not plumb, you are not squaring the table to the spindle. For example, my garage floor slopes towards the door. Therefore, my floor model drill press is not plumb....but I have squared the table to the spindle axis.

Curly’s Method with a piece of wire in the drill chuck is the best way to check a table for being square with the spindle axis.
 

bsshog40

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I only use a drill press. I never have problems with being off-center unless my blank isn't square but I usually square it up on the saw if too bad. I also have a little push punch to mark my centers to make sure I can line up my drill tip to it. I drill at about 870 rpm. If I need to check my table for being level, I bought this little level at home depot for about $10. Very accurate and nice to have
This will indeed tell you if the table is level.....but if the entire drill press is not plumb, you are not squaring the table to the spindle. For example, my garage floor slopes towards the door. Therefore, my floor model drill press is not plumb....but I have squared the table to the spindle axis.

Curly’s Method with a piece of wire in the drill chuck is the best way to check a table for being square with the spindle axis.
Well I made sure my drill press was level also.
 
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I use a 3/8" drill bit attached to the chuck of my DP. I then attach my centering tool to the bit and lower it to my DP vice. I've attached a piece of wood on the bottom of the centering tool which allows me to clamp the tool onto the DP vice. Works well for me and my holes almost always come out true. Like Bobby said above, I also use a center punch to make sure the drill bit starts it cut in the center of the blank. This is the centering tool I use from PSI, DRILLCENT3.
 

tomas

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Jul 12, 2010
Messages
380
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Rio Rancho, NM
I have been having issues getting my holes centered on my blanks. Last night I ruined 4 Lace Wood blanks. Between the cost and the frustration, I'm thinking its time to look at using the lathe to drill.

As with most, I don't have a ton on money to drop on this upgrade. My lathe takes MT2 and I'm trying to find the best, most budget friendly chuck. So far, I have been looking at the Nova 48111. Any input from anyone?

If I do go with this chuck, do I also need to get Pen Jaws?

Are there other alternatives that I should be looking into?

Thanks to all for any assistance.

I use the dedicated 2 jaw pen blank chuck. It was relatively inexpensive and has worked perfectly for me...any mistakes have been my own doing.

Tomas
 

JimB

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Mar 18, 2008
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West Henrietta, NY, USA.
Since I don’t do segmented blanks I just eye-ball it when drilling. I use a $10 HF drill press vise on a Ryobi bench top drill press. I put the blank in the little vice getting it as straight as I can and I drill. Sometimes quill doesn’t have enough travel so I drill as far as I can, loosen the vise, raise the blank, tighten the vise and drill the rest.

No fancy jig. No V cuts in the vise jaws. Ive never even checked the drill press table for square. I’ve been doing it this way since the day I started turning.
 

dogcatcher

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The most accurate drilling system for me is to turn the blank to 3/4 or 5/8 round between centers and then use my collet chuck to hold the blank on the headstock end and a drill chuck in the tailstock. I start the drilling process using a center bit, then use a jobber bit to drill through the blank. For around $120 these 2 chucks are all that a penturner needs, but a 4 jaw universal chuck is a lot more versatile.

The collet chuck should be the most accurate of the wood chucks available, first it doesn't crush and throw off center the blank, second it is attached either through the MT or the threaded spindle. If you MT or threaded spindle is off, then it won't matter what you use, you are out of luck.
 

Dehn0045

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I mostly use a Nova G3 with pin jaws, like brailsmt. Note that the required adapter to match your lathe is likely substantial compared to the cost of the chuck ($100 for the chuck, $20 for adapter, or so). The jaws (either pin or pen) are another expense as the stock jaws that come with the set are not good for drilling (this adds another $50 to $70). So you are looking at about $200 if you go the Nova G3 route. If you get the dedicated pen drilling chucks you are looking at more like $100. However, the extra $100 for the G3 adds a lot of versatility for other projects.

I also sometimes use a collet chuck, like dogcatcher, when accuracy is required. Collet chucks have their place and are a good tool for a turner to have (not just for pens and drilling). I have this set and it works fine for me: https://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/p/101/4400/Apprentice-Collet-Chuck-7-Piece-Set?term=collet+chuck&term=collet chuck
 

whp4

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Jan 28, 2017
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I only use a drill press. I never have problems with being off-center unless my blank isn't square but I usually square it up on the saw if too bad. I also have a little push punch to mark my centers to make sure I can line up my drill tip to it. I drill at about 870 rpm. If I need to check my table for being level, I bought this little level at home depot for about $10. Very accurate and nice to have


This will indeed tell you if the table is level.....but if the entire drill press is not plumb, you are not squaring the table to the spindle. For example, my garage floor slopes towards the door. Therefore, my floor model drill press is not plumb....but I have squared the table to the spindle axis.



Curly’s Method with a piece of wire in the drill chuck is the best way to check a table for being square with the spindle axis.
Well I made sure my drill press was level also.


That still isn't necessarily going to do the job. The coat hanger trick ensures the no matter how sketchy a drill press is, the drill chuck axis of rotation is perpendicular to the table. A level cannot do that as it does not know the orientation of the drill. Think about what happens if someone forgot a washer somewhere while bolting the head to the column — even if the drill press column and table are level, the drill itself might be pointing off at an angle. Of course, if you have a bent drill bit, you are going to have trouble making good holes no matter what!

A vertical milling machine is essentially a drill press on lots and lots of steroids — the table can move, and the quill (the part that acts like a drill press) can usually be tilted both front/back and right/left. There's a procedure called tramming the mill where you ensure everything is lined up so stuff ends up being square to the reference surfaces. A level is not involved — you could tram a mill on a loading dock ramp, if you had to. Instead, you use a very sensitive version of the coat hanger trick.


Sent from my iPad using Penturners.org mobile app
 

ramaroodle

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Feb 15, 2018
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Seattle
I don't see a problem unless you are drilling a segmented blank and need perfect concentricity. You are going to turn the blank to match the hole with a mandrel or centres anyway why the concern? Or are you drilling out of the side of the blank?
Exactly,,,,I am too far off center and leaving so narrow a side that I was able to collapse it with minimal pressure from my fingers. I have also had issues with the drill bit no being parallel with the bland and my hole being skewed. Not too sure that the skewing is that much of an issue other than that it is frustrating.
I switched to using pen jaws and have had no issues since then but....

Not sure how you can be that far off if the blank is square and perpendicular to the drill press table and the table is perpendicular to the drill bit. As long as the blank isn't curved the issue is that the blank and the bit aren't aligned. I'm sure someone else with more experience than me has addressed this but I'd suggest cutting a bunch of blanks from scrap 2x4's or something while you figure out what the issue could be. Should be an easy fix once you figure out the cause. Save your money for now I'd suggest.
 
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