Making a continuous hole from one end to another in a long piece of wood is challenging enough even if one has the special tools and equipment needed to drill all the way through with any hope of accuracy. I didn't want to make an investment in a special length bit for what would be a one- time need, yet all I had at hand were standard length drill bits of the typical jobber's length as is found in every toolbox. If however, I could devise a way to bore the work from both ends and meet precisely in the middle, those bits would do the job. There is a trick old timers used that was done with just simple hand tools, a little patience, and not much else.
I had a requirement to fabricate a wood handle for a mini- lathe spindle crank project I'm working on (Instructable coming soon). It needed to be about 5” [127mm] long and about 1- 1/4” [32mm] finished diameter. A centralized hole had to be drilled to facilitate mounting it to a mandrel so I could not only turn it on my lathe, but counterbore the ends for a professional looking finish. I had some scrap walnut salvaged from an old pallet that I though would look great, so I cut two pieces the same width and length, made a setup on my radial saw, and cut a very shallow score or kerf in exactly the same place on each. This very procedure could have easily been done with a handsaw or a backsaw on a scribed line and in fact that method works just as well.
With glue applied, I carefully aligned the two pieces so that the kerfs now formed a tunnel from end to end, clamped them up, and set aside to dry. After removing from the clamps I shone a light to illuminate the new hole, proving it was through and through. The last operation then was trimming to desired length,
I proceeded to add the counterbores to each end, centering the forstner bit on the holes and making the needed recesses. Next step was to use a series of small to larger bits until I reached the clearance size for a 5mm mandrel rod. Here it is important to bore from each end in minor increments so as to prevent bit wander, don't try and blast through in only two or three. I did it in about 5, it takes no great time to do this and if done correctly, the drill bit will always take the path of least resistance and follow the previous course. The procedure was a success, the mandrel slipped through smoothly- next stop, the lathe for some shaping.
After turning, quirking, and sanding were done, I gave it a coat of boiled linseed oil and wax and let dry overnight. To create a slip fit over the crank handle pin, I again followed the same careful hole enlargement scheme as in the previous step, finishing up at about 9mm. The counterboring allowed the nuts, washers, etc. to nest out of view inside the handle for a cleaner look.
Step 5: Parting Thoughts
And that folks, is my long boring story. ☺
And when it's approved, please vote for me as "The Cutest Baby Of 1950" contest, and thanks.