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How to drill perpendicular to end of stick ?

22555 Views 44 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  CAS14
New to this forum, and to learning how to make walking/hiking sticks.

A question I have is :

How do you drill straight, perpendicular "end-on" holes into the end of a curvy stick ( not a perfect dowel).

I'm trying to drill into the ends of a rather tall hiking staff , which is taller than the florr mounted Drill press I have.

I've been looking at plans on how to build a horozontal drill/boring jig, and playing around with the idea of getting 2 x-y cross-slide vise to hold the top and bottom ends of the stick , to be able to adjust the alignment to a drill. Then looked at mounting my unimat with drill configuration mounted on the lathe bed, to be able to move the drill head. Other thoughts are to find one of those jigs that allows you to strap in an ordinary hand drill to "create" a cheap drill press....but still the problem of either moving the drill to drill into the stick, or vice-versa, moving the entire long jig holding the stick.

How do you all do the end-on perpendicular drilling ?
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Basically use hand eye cordination . useing a hand held drill more you do it better you get. It would be more trouble of making /purchasing setting it up the jig

I take it your trying to mount a topper on the shank

I use epoxy putty if not quite right, but have found i dont need to use it very oftern.

good luck
I've always struggled with that on long material -- I'm interested in seeing a diagram on your lathe set up.

BTW -- welcome to the site!
If your using a lathe you can get centre hole boring tool, i havnt a lathe so never turn my shanks just use natural material finish .But they are handy for making a two pie

ce .But i just use a small nail for alignment just tap it into the shank lay them on the bech tap them together which leaves a imprint for drilling
My problem in a nutshell: I seldom use a dowel or shovel handle, and nearly always use what I cut in the woods. Thus, my sticks are of varying diameter, and they are nearly straight only when I use something like red cedar. So, the definition of "parallel to the axis of the stick" depends on what part of the stick you mean. Often the lowermost few inches isn't perfectly aligned with the rest.

I have a little metal drillbit guide for common bit sizes that facilitates perpendicular holes on flat surfaces. This is difficult to align on the end of a stick. Sometimes I select a piece of copper tubing or a fitting of a size that will fit loosely over the end of a stick, and then I have a perpendicular, circular surface, perpendicular to the tubing or fitting, and to the section of the stick that it encompasses. My drill guide can then be laid on the end of the tubing or fitting. Sometimes, I just eyeball it and hope for the best.
All my toppers are fitted with 4" threaded steel bar 8mm in dia. Thers 2" in the shank 2" in the topper fixed with epoxy glue ;usually i get a fairly true hole but i sometimes wack the bar with a hammer place the topper on and just turn the topper it usually settels pretty snug
I've been in a quandry over this post.

There are machines and techniques that can do what you ask. However, not cheap, handmade especially. (want to know? I'll drive you crazy with instructions)

For a handmade connection point, just hand drill to the best of your abilities, then square the face of your drilled surface with a rasp or file. In Other words, drill your hole, then make the mating surface 90 degrees to your hole. 5 degree "out of square" on a curved stick is imperceptable.

OK, real world scenario:

Your workbench is about 42" tall.

Your stick you want to drill is a long hiking staff of 62"

Clamp your stick using spacer shims to your workbench until you get the vertical centerline you want. (I keep a lot of shim stock at work. The 5S team has learned to keep their hands OFF, they don't understand why a stack of shims are so valuable. After much verbal abuse, they tolerate me.)

Clear off your workbench so that you can stand on it. Then climb up on it.

You can drill straight down, Right? Use the smallest pilot bit you can, that will tell you whether you are out of vertical. Just do it! Then follow with final size! Now get off the workbench before you fall off.

Finally, use a rasp or file to square the face of your stick to your hole, and you're done.
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its just easyer to lay the stick in a vice and drill a right angle into it.I have made loads of hiking poles it works.And yes have made mistakes just redrill the hole chaffing drill up and down attach the topper fill with expoxy resin putty

Just haveiing the stick at a right angle dos`nt ensure you will drill a right angle perfectly by hand.

But what sort of toppers are you using and how do you attach them?are you using a collar ?

just nosey

Your vise method would be a lot easier. I've done most of my drilling that way, or in a drill press.

I'm a newbie to stick making, haven't even made one, yet. I will be going on my first stick hunt this week.

I'm not a carver, so any toppers would be found objects, adapted to be a topper. When that happens, I'll figure it out then.
I use my vice or vise as you call then all the time as i mostly carve all my toppers, i think its RAD that has made a variety of objects to fit on the end of his stick suprising how people are adaptable and its not a bad idea to fit something on the shank that you like or find useful Rad has allsorts of attchments on his .just love the one with a compass thats accurate to a deph of 50 ft ,i can see him now walking along the bottom of a river checking directions , sorry rad a bit of fun.,but it just goes to show how useful they can be,he has used his for a camera mount and mesuring stick etc.

The main thing is just enjoy doing it.

good luck hunting sticks, this is somehing i cant do without the land owners perrmision, but we have by law the right to roam now even tho a few landowners object.

But cutting a stick when no ones around thers no harm done. guilty as charged
I can't just go where I want to, either. I have to ask permission of the landowners. People here are pretty protective of their land. So are the farm animals that might be on them. I'd hate to be walking a tree row and have a Bull take a dislike to me being in "His" pasture! Cows and Horses are equally territorial. Owners know where they have livestock, and steer you away from those areas.

Public land is OK, and most that allows camping also allow foraging for firewood. that will be my excuse, anyway!
Normally a friendly word will get you what , most people dont mind a few sticks its when it get into large qauntites they object after all keeping plants strong encourage further growth and some of them need coppicing

Your laws may be diffrent from ours but not. much. The right to roam is a very powerful tool that we have by law but if you obey the countryside code most land owners are okayBut yes you will come across the difficult ones

A lot of the paths that are used go way back and to medievel times and people will always have the right of way these oftern cross farmland /private property and even run through peoples gardens but nothing can prevent people from using them.If they do by any means the local council would be forced to act upon it to ensure that is reopened. because of the right of way Some farmers are strongly against it but the ramblers association is a powerful vioce when it come to things like the right of way most land owners would aviod a case that they know they would lose

But you must also have right of way Over here if a path is used for 7years or more and can be proven it becomes a right of way.A landowner by law must close the path once a year to prvent this from happening

normally there isnt a problem with walkers.

just have a friendly word with land owner about gathering a few to keep coutryside carfts alive normally this will hep

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I just went stick hunting through my own brushpile and yard. One Hawthorne branch is big enough, but only long enough for a cane. Another one got broken in a violent wind storm this fall, and if it doesn't survive, will make a nice staff. I also had to cut down 2 Red Maple to make room for a fence this late summer. Those will make some nice sticks.

There are several places I found that I want to hike the tree rows, I'll just have to ask permission.
Its usually the best way ,most people are friendly.

I unfortunatly buy most of my shanks but there already seasoned for 2 years and straigtend ,i personnally dislike bent sticks just my taste and oftern tweek one if there is a small bend in it using a hot air gun.

I never strip the bark of a stick ,as i use hazel and chestnue and blackthorn ,i find the colour of the shanks to nice to waste and belive natures packaging is the best. Many here will not agree with me , its just chioce.

Its usually american stickmakers strip the back mayby its the type of bark on there shanks or its just simple preferance .It dos`nt really matter .Main thing is enjoy doing it and see how your type of sticks develop and takes you.

If it works for do it
I like bark, so I'm leaning to not stripping it. Natural sticks is what I have in mind.

I do have old deadwood elm, that has naturally lost its bark. Those are the ones the wife keeps pointing at and saying "make a stick of that for me!" She is half Lakota, and the elm are native, so maybe the wood sings to her. There are almost straight bits of it, with just a slight curve, I 'll try to make her happy.

Of course, she hasn't seen Sakakwea Silver Buffaloberry, or Oahe Hackberry, (Neither have I), but I know where to go at least see if they will make good sticks. I have seen ( and eaten) Buffaloberry, but I wasn't paying attention to the wood, just the berries. They are tall, dense shrubs, 10 feet tall at the highest. The Hackberry is a mystery as of yet, but two arboretums have examples of them.

I forgot to mention earlier in my stick hunting post, I also have a lower branch of Juniper, about 6 feet long, nearly uniform 1 1/2" diameter. It is still amazingly flexible, even though I pruned it just last summer. I've wanted to make some Gin of the berries, but don't know how to ferment them, and don't have the equipment to distill from the fermentation. Of all the Spirits, Gin is my favorite. It doesn't kick my head the next morning.
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i am not familar with a lot of wood you have and use over there but there are plenty of people here who could tell you more about them.

But there are plenty of reciepes on the web using juniper berries for flavouring

The berries you metined i know nothing about them i have never heard of them but will probably look them up.

Alawys interested in different fruits

I have been trying to find the name of a fruit we had when we where in Maderia its a cross between a pineapple and a bannana,it looks like sweet corn but is green in colour never found the name of it yet we cant buy it in england its very tasty.

have fun with the sticks
I'm not familiar with a lot of the wood here. That's why I will visit the arboretums available to me to find out. So many of the trees here, were and are, introduced by man. The buffaloberry is indigineous, so that piques my interest in using it.

Different fruits are fascinating. With world commerce, lots of 'new' fruits are now available in the markets, so it's fun to explore all the different flavors.

I will have fun with my sticks! Learning to craft good ones is where the fun is.
I just bought a drill guide with some long bits that might solve this dilemma for some sticks, and perhaps it will improve my drilling aim for most. Perhaps I'll have it by next weekend.

That is one of the advantages of having Shop Smith. This site hav a simple one
interesting ideas here ? needs careful reading
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