Drill a Hole Lengthwise Through a Dowel

33,743

149

19

Introduction: Drill a Hole Lengthwise Through a Dowel

I am working on a project that requires that a through-hole be drilled lengthwise through a dowel. (The resulting tube will be used as a cam collar for a wooden camshaft I'm making.)

I had to make several of these, and the techniques that I found online didn't work well for me. Here's my Instructable that shows what did work for me, in three easy steps.

Step 1: Build a Jig

Take a piece of scrap board, and a few inches from one end drill a hole the size of your dowel. (3/4" in my case.) Use a drill press if available, to ensure the hole is drilled perpendicular to the board.

Saw a slot about 1/4" wide from one end of the board up to the hole. (I used a table saw to do so.)

Step 2: Insert Dowel in Jig

Mark the center-point of your dowel. (There are some good Instructables that show how to find the center-point of a dowel.) Use a punch to indent that center-point; this'll help guide the drill bit in the next step.

Insert the dowel into the jig. It will be a bit loose, so tap in some shims to tighten up the fit.

Step 3: Drill a Through-hole

Put the jig on top of a piece of scrap wood and clamp it to your drill press table, lining up the dowel's centerpoint with your bit. I'm using a 25/64ths bit, because I want the opening in the dowel to accept a 3/8" dowel snugly but loose enough for the dowel to rotate.

Now use another clamp to squeeze the jig's "jaws" -- the arms on either side of the slot. This serves to grip the dowel hard in the jig, so that it doesn't spin once you start drilling.

Drill the hole. The jig holds the dowel at 90 degrees, and keeps it from spinning.

You'll end up with a nicely centered hole through the length of the dowel. This works well for bushings, stop collars, and cam collars for animated or moving toys, and any other instance where you want a precise wooden "tube."

1 Person Made This Project!

Recommendations

  • Pocket-Sized Speed Challenge

    Pocket-Sized Speed Challenge
  • Metalworking Contest

    Metalworking Contest
  • Maps Challenge

    Maps Challenge

19 Discussions

0
Wefneck
Wefneck

5 years ago on Introduction

I have to do this all the time for different projects, thank you this will be super useful.

0
hchute
hchute

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

You're welcome! Thank you for the comment.

0
Excoriator
Excoriator

1 year ago

If you can arrange to rotate the dowel and keep the drill fixed (e.g. by mounting the dowel in the chuck and the bit in a vice), you will produce beautifully concentric holes every time.

You don't need to be too careful about finding the centre if you allow the bit to 'float' by NOT clamping the vice holding the bit to the table, it will find the centre by itself. You get near the centre by feel or eye or both and that's all you need to do.

I've managed to drill a 5 mm hole through the centre of a 16mm (5/8) dowel, 200mm long, using a long bit, and doing it from both ends. The two meet in the middle perfectly, the holes are so concentric. No skill is involved (fortunately for me)

From the picture, the dowel in this case is a bit big for most chucks, but the tip may be useful for others or maybe it would be possible to arrange to rotate it some other way?

0
SiliconFarmer
SiliconFarmer

2 years ago

Check option 5 in this Instructable: https://www.instructables.com/id/Find-exact-center-and-drill-concentric-holes-in-me/ This is how I was taught to do it. This technique gives you the hole in the center pretty easily.

0
mrmetallica
mrmetallica

4 years ago

i need to do this but about 24" long.would this work for that lenght .ideas welcome.

good idea by the way.

0
twighahn
twighahn

Reply 3 years ago

how would one drill a hole through a longer dowel?

0
WoodieWannabe

Good idea. I've got a similar, but "longer" problem - I need to drill a 20mm hole lengthwise through a 1200mm dowel (that's a roughly 3/4" hole through a 47" dowel, I think, for the non-metric people here). I'm planning to make a hollow spiral shaft for a standing lamp - the dowel already has a smallish "pilot hole" which I formed when I glued up the shaft from 4 pieces of timber (and turned round on the lathe). Any tips and ideas, ladies and gentlemen?

0
cybergod
cybergod

5 years ago

I would have thought it easier to drill the inner hole, fill with plaster (soft and easy to remove later), then once set, use a hole saw for the outer diameter. Finally, drill out and scrape the plaster. Just my thoughts.

0
hchute
hchute

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

I'm not sure -- it might be worth a try. I find that hole saws are a real pain for smaller discs, like the 3/4" diameter dowel show here. In my experience I often have to destroy the cut-out just to get it removed from the hole saw. So I think I prefer to start with a dowel of the desired size, and then cut the inner hole out of the dowel.

0
1710hammer
1710hammer

5 years ago

Excellent. Wish I had the shop for this and projects that needed it!

0
hchute
hchute

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Thank you! I was pleased that I was able to pick up that benchtop drill press for less than $200. It's been invaluable.

0
cmehan
cmehan

5 years ago

Creative.

I'd like to see the camshaft when completed.

0
hchute
hchute

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Thanks! I'll post the camshaft soon, maybe as another Instructable. It's part of an "automata" moving display -- you turn a crank handle, and a bunch of cams make a series of figures move on a little stage, with different actions.

0
hchute
hchute

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Whoops -- thank you! Fixed it.