Problem Drilling Through Cherry & Walnut...Suggestions???


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Hi: I bought both Cherry & Walnut in 3" square sections & cut them down to 8 1/2" pieces to make Salt & Pepper Shakers. No problem getting them to round, parting off the top section, and drilling the 1/4" hole in the top piece. However, when it came time to drilling the 1 5/8" inset for the bottom & the 1 1/16" opening for the body, none of the Forstner bits that I tried could cut through the wood. No matter what turning lathe speed that I tried, nothing work. I should also note that these are sharp bits that are almost new. I have purchased and used laminated wood in the past & have had no trouble using the bits to drill through the wood. Am I missing something here? I think that the density of these woods is just too much for these bits to handle. So, does anyone have any suggestions on how best to solve this problem? I did use a 1/2" drill bit to drill through the body of the Walnut piece after having shaped the bottom section using turning tools. However, that only amounts to 1/2 the size of hole that I need. I searched on the net & could not find drill bits larger than 1/2". I figured if I could find 3/4" & 1" drill bits, then I could use those in sequence to finish up boring the hole. I hope that this all makes some sense? Any feedback would be much appreciated.

BTW, I did find a 1" dowel type drill bit on Amazon for boring into cement. However, I am not sure if it would serve my purpose & it is rather expensive @ $56.00! Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009MA5TLE?psc=1

Thanks for any help,

Steve

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I use cherry and walnut all the time on the lathe and use forstner bits whenever possible. I have done more cherry than walnut, but both have been fine

Is the bit spinning with the work? I have had the drill chuck spin in the tailstock at the same speed as the headstock is turning the wood, thus the two are spinning in tandum and no cutting will take place.

The solution if this is the issue, just grab the tailstock chuck with your hand (before touching the stock) and slowly move it into the work piece, make sure to relieve the build up once you get an inch or more in, so you don't overheat and blow out the stock. Drilling the lathe is essentially the opposite of drill everywhere else. Normally you hold the work steady and press a spinning bit into the work. On the lathe, the work spins, and you want to pres the fixed bit into the spinning work.

If this isn't the issue, can you better describe what is happening when you push the bit into the stock. All in all, forsner bits are your best bet on the lathe, especially when you are boring a hole larger than 1/2". I really don't think it is a bit issue, but more likely a process/execution issue. I have used forsner bits up to ~2 1/2" thick on the lathe without issue.

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Thanks for the input. Chris: I tried what you are suggesting & all that happens is that the bit jams in the wood & the lathe stops turning. Never had that happen before but it's happening now? I kept trying to feed the bit as you suggest using various speeds, etc... to no avail. So, it may be the fact that the wood that I purchased is meant to be used as table legs and seems quite dense & hard. I just ordered a set of bits that contains a 1" industrial drill bit, so I will see how that works out. However, I still will be left with the problem of drilling the bottom hole which has to be 1/2" deep & 1 5/8" wide. I may just have to resort to turning those with lathe tools & get as close as I can to the true dimensions. Again, thanks for the suggestions......

Steve

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Sounds like your belt is slipping. It's pretty regular for lathe belts to get worn over time or because they were abuse, or mis-installed(that may be a made up word!).

Pop the cover off your lathe and see if the belt is in rough shape. I sounds like the motor is lacking the torque to turn the blank with some resistance.

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Chris: Thanks for that info, I will check that out for sure. However, even if that's the case, I think that I am just going to make a template with a 1 5/8" circular diameter that I can tape in place over the end of the wood block & use a plunge router to make the cut. That way I get exactly a 1/2" deep by 1 5/8" circle every time without the hassles of having to use a Forstner bit; which I never really liked anyway. I have used this technique when making Guitar body recess holes, etc... & it works great.

Steve

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Checked the belt & that is not the problem as it looks new & intact with no evidence of any slippage. I tried the same bits on my drill press and had the same problem, so I think that it's the density of the wood that's the problem. So, I will go with plan B & use the router to cut the larger hole & a 1" drill bit to bore out the center. I am also thinking about trying one of these bits: http://www.irwin.com/tools/drill-bits/speedbor-max-self-feed-wood-bits The other option is to simply stop making S & P shakers!

Steve

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I made 6 short pepper grinders and 4 taller onesthis past fall, all having a crank on the top. The only wood I had a problem with was a African hardwood that I don't remember the name of. I had a similar problem in that the would not cut, just spin and get hot. I just started with a 5/8 forester bit and worked my way up to 1". The used the 1 1/16 bit and then the 1 and whatever. It was not the best solution but it did work. Slow speeds, sharp bits, not cheap bits and a slow feed rate. Takes them all to drill 1+" of end grain. The other option is just turn it. I did that with the top hole. I didn't have the 21/64" drill so I drilled the next size smaller and the enlarged the hole with a modified scraper.

BRuce

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You can always step the hole size. Start with a regular bit and drill the biggest pilot hole you can. I have never had the slightest bit of trouble in any wood with a forstner bit on the lathe. Go slow, both the RPMs and advancing the tail stock, and clear the bit frequently.

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Sharpen the Forstner bits and clean them . I use a small diamond paddle and a dremel tool bit for the inside of the rim. Even fairly new bits are not as sharp as they can be. They also sell a kit to sharpen them.

Another approach is to drill a pattern of smaller holes within the circle, this gives edges and gaps to let the bit get a bite on the wood and reduce the heat building up. Always use your slowest speed on big bits. Clear shavings often. I use constant a compressed air stream. Drilling end grain is the toughest .

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The red flag for me was, You put it in the drill press and it still didnt cut. That right there screams that the bit is not sharp. I work mainly in Cherry, and a whole bunch of different exotics, and I've yet to run across one that would not drill. Cherry is on the lower end of the Janka scale. I would attempt to sharpen the cutting edge of the bit, or just toss it in the trash, and get a new one. You don't want to use a self feed bit in a lathe, as the lead screw will make the chuck and bit want to pull out of the tailstock.

The bit you linked to on amazon is a concrete coring bit, the leading edge is diamond embedded and would not work at cutting wood. It would only burn a ring in the wood. I doubt you could even get it mounted to use it.

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All excellent points to consider! I will have to do some more work on finding out exactly what's causing this to occur. Alignment may be one consideration along with the bit not being sharp enough. Very frustrating having to deal with something that should not be a problem at all. Oh well, off to the wood shop for more experimentation! Thanks everyone for your suggestions/comments......

Steve

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Thanks Chris that was very informative. I like old Eddie & have viewed some of his other videos, very entertaining chap!

UPDATE: Well, I figured out what the problem was/is. The tailstock on this lathe is not in proper alignment & I never even noticed it before now? It moves from side to side by approximately an 1/8" or so and there is no way to set it to the proper alignment. I purchased the lathe from Penn State Industries about 2 years ago. It's one of those Mini lathes (Commander model) & is OK for basic turning but not much more. I should have spent the extra bucks & bought a better lathe. I guess you get what you pay for. Anyway, I made a template with a 1 5/8" opening & was able to use my smaller DeWalt plunge router to make the initial bottom holes in the rest of the shakers that I am making. After setting everything up, it only took me about half an hour to rout the holes in 6 shakers. It was actually much easier than using a Forstner bit. Now all I need to do is figure out how I am going to drill the holes through the bodies of the shakers. Once I do that, the rest is a cake walk.

So, Canadian Bear gets the cigar for being right! Thanks to everyone again,

Steve

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  • 2 weeks later...

My grandfather was using a drill he did not know was reversible with a spade bit. Bit wouldn't cut, he looked at it, took it out and reground the cutting edges, chucked it back up and went to drilling his holes. He was amazed when I showed him the reverse switch .

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