Holes in tool handles


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Dear all!
What accesories do you need for the lathe if you want to bore a hole in spindlework, f.ex. a hole in a tool handle. I have seen this done once but can not remember the details. I probably need a special chuck?


Taffy Turner

Established Member
24 May 2004
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The Land of My Fathers

You need a Jacob's chuck. You need to find out what size taper is in your tailstock, most lathes have a number 1 or 2 Morse taper. You can get a Jacob's chuck from Axminster or jsut about any of teh on-line retailers.




Established Member
2 Feb 2005
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Crowborough, East Sussex
Using a Jacobs chuck is OK provided that the spindle remains fully supported and central just using a chuck at the headstock end. For boring long holes in spindles, you'll need a hollow tail centre, so that you can pass a shell auger through the tailstock and the hollow centre in order to bore the hole. Axminster also sell hollow boring kits - see this link:

http://www.axminster.co.uk/product.asp? ... 81&recno=6

The hollow tail centre has a removeable point that is enclosed by a ring. you mount the spindle conventionally, then turn the tailstock wheel to force the point far enough into the work so that the ring cuts a groove for itself. Remove the work, remove the point, then re-mount onto the ring groove. This enables the auger to be passed right through the tailstock centree - don't bore out more than 25mm at a time and withdraw to remove debris frequently. HTH :)



Established Member
21 Oct 2002
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Ceredigion Uplands

There are different techniques for tool handles with a partial, blind hole that needs to be central and a through hole in, say a table lamp. As you mentioned tool handles, try this technique for tool handles, carving gouges etc.

If you use a Jacobs chuck and bore the hole on the lathe, it invariable wanders off centre and this sometimes means that your tool is off centre on the handle. The smaller the drill in size the more it will flex and wander. So, try this method that establishes the hole first with a pilot and allows you to re-centre the work so that the turning on the handle is central to the line of the hole. You can complete the hole to accomodate the tool at the end of the job.
You will need a live tail stock, a Jacobs chuck and drill to begin and a 4 prong drive to finish, plus the usual turning tools.
1. Chuck a Jacobs in the headstock with your pilot drill in it.
2. Take your raw blank and mark the centre at one end (the tool end)
3. Fix the tool rest in line with the drill so that the pilot is aligned with the centre you marked.
4. Select the lowest speed and holding the side of the stock, carefully push the stock into the drill, keeping it in line and level on the rest so that the drill penetrates to the desired depth.
5. Stop the lathe, allow the work to remain on the drill, swing the rest away and re-start the lathe and turn it off, let the work spin and mark the centre point at the other free end with a pencil as it spins to a stop.
6. Disengage the work and remove the Jacobs and fit the 4 prong drive.
7. Re-chuck everything with the 4 prong driving in the centre that you marked and the live tail stock in the hole.
8. Turn the handle shape as desired.
9. It will all now be aligned with the pilot hole in the middle.

Don’t expect two holes drilled from both ends to meet in the middle – they’ll pass like ships in the night. For a through hole from one end to the other you’ll need a hollow (preferably live) tail stock and a long spurred gouge.

Hope it helps