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Sometimes when I don't think about a problem for a while, the answer just pops into my head.

Although this solution may not always work, I think it will most of the time.

I was never able to use the drill bit guides that I bought years ago at either Rockler or Woodcraft, because the plastic part couldn't remain square on the end of a 1 to 2 inch diameter stick.

Now, if I punch the center of the wood, so that my bit will start centered, and if I shim the 2-inch schedule 40 PVC properly, I can drill straight down the center of a stick.

(My photos won't load, I'll try again later.)
 

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I know it's an issue I still fight with. Especially on my natural shanks. I can't wait to see your pictures. Maybe it will help me.

Rodney
 

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Now I bought a 1/2" schedule 40 plug, drilled out from the inside with a 9/32" bit (go figure), and that now provides a nice guide.

I'll use some thin wood sticks I buy for mixing and applying epoxy to shim up the bottom end of the 2" PVC, which I cut off to 9" length to accommodate the less than perfectly straight stick.

I may have an hour tomorrow to make progress.
 
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Consistently and quickly drilling the shaft and/or handle it seems to me is an ongoing technical problem for us all. This looks like a nice simple solution. For the moment I've got the process down to drilling handles on a drill press while still in block using a joiners brad point drill bit rather than a forstner or flat bit - Working with two completely flat faces in the same plane (as the stock I keep or buy in mostly does) the hole is always spot on..... I drill shafts and irregular handle stock by eye using the same brad point drill bit - this is not without stress
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so that a working jig would be fantastic to use. I've come up with a number of jig designs myself but they never seem to deliver anything better for me than the same job done with no jig - the technique is less stressful but conversely disappointing in its result. I wonder how you've got on with this setup CAS14? Has anyone else come up with an alternative for irregular material?
 

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I answered in your other post but we do things very similarly and with the same degree of stress by the sound of it.

I use a Shopsmith in horizontal mode on square turning blanks for my turned shanks but natural shanks are not easy to line up and hold so the face is square to the bit.
 

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I'm guessing a Shopsmith is perhaps a bench top milling machine or lathe/drill/mill combo?

I was going to get a lathe at one point but as I only work natural unturned shafts I figured the axis for the drilled hole needs not always to be the exact axis of the stick (hope that makes sense) so that you will drill for the best end result - allowing for the fact that a stick even when straightened is not truly straight like a turned shaft.... Then came my jig experiments
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A Shopsmith is a multi-purpose woodworking machine. It can be set up as a table saw, lathe, drill press, disk sander. etc depending on what you want to do. There are also various attachments for it like jointers and band saws you can buy for them. Like any other multi-tool they work, but not always as well as a dedicated tool might. Overall they're good machines though. They excel at drilling and sanding operations.

I think Vance has the right idea indexing off the end of the stick. Then it's just a matter of centering the hole properly.
 

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CAS14 is Vance. ShopSmiths are common here in the states. They've been making them since the 1950s. People with limited shop space tend to buy them. They're spendy new but can be had cheaply on the used market and ShopSmith has excellent support for their products.

I can't seem to find any pictures of mine at the moment. I bought mine used close to twenty years ago.
 

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They're not perfect. I've never tried the tablesaw (saw bench) feature. I've always had dedicated machines that were better. I do like it for drilling and sanding and the lathe is ok. Their main downfall is the time spent switching from one function to the other. If you have limited space they can be a good option though.
 

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Re: Drilling down the end, straight down the axis

IF I understand the subject correctly (and not 100% sure I do) here's my tried and true method, i.e., I've drilled the approx center of many cane shafts/shanks to insert/screw in the dowel screw so I can then attach the handle (sometimes natural - sometimes purchased hardwood knob).

First, I put the cane shank in my vise and mark the approx center - just eyeball it side to side - with a black marker. I then turn the shank horizonally making certain it's level using my submarine level.

Then with the proper size drill bit in my cordless drill I can drill the hole level - straight - by watching the level on the top of the drill...being certain I'm also drilling the hole straight - not leaned left or right.

Hope that helps someone.

-neb
 
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