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Thread: Drilling a lamp

  1. #1

    Drilling a lamp

    I want to try and make a lamp but don't have any idea where to get a drill bit that would be long enough to drill out the center. Is there a special trick or drill bit that I need to use. I would think a regular drill bit would wander all over the place. I want to make the lamp at least 12 inchs tall and that is just the wood. Any one made one or have any idea where to get what I need.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    Dennis, I know some folks use a 'gun drill' for that type of long hole. I have no personal experience to offer on using one or where to buy it, but I figured knowing the name might give you a starting point.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    I have several "bell hanger" bits. They are used by electricians. They work well if you keep the drilling pressure light and clear the hole frequently.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Tokyo Japan
    I think you will drill from both ends, and yes there is a special bit for doing this, as it is long and has to easily clear the chips.

    I think you also need a special hollow live center for this too.

    I remember an article in the AAW magazine about it last year....

    Time to fire up google
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    North West Indiana
    Our local lumber yard had a bit when I needed one for students that were turning lamps. It needed cleaned frequently. We turned, sanded and then finished the lamp on the lathe, then we would clamp it in the vise and stand over it on a chair and using a hand held drill, drill through. We took the measurement of the rod that goes through and then got the bit.

    God and family, the rest is icing on the cake. I'm so far behind, I think I'm in first place!


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    GTA Ontario Canada
    Dennis, when i built my shop i needed a long bit when doing the electric wiring. I found them in two forms at Home Depot.

    1) An extension for a spade bit. But in this case the diameter of your hole would be large as the joint is pretty thick.

    2)A long drill used by electricians to drill between the floors through the wall plates and the joists. Take a look at the tool section at HD but also in the electrical section i think its marketed by Greenlee if my memory serves me correct.

    But you will need to think about a drill press that is a floor model as opposed to a bench top. I doubt a 12 inch lamp plus 12 inch drill would make it under my bench top drill press. Alternative if you gonna turn the lamp you might manage it in a chuck mounted in your tailstock.

    Best of luck dont forget to show us your project as you progress.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    I had a very long drill bit made years ago to drill ramrod holes for muzzle loading rifles. It is a standard 3/8" twist bit. And, yes, it does wander. I made a lamp recently and drilled before turning, thus eliminating problems from the wander. A good machinist/welder can make up a bit like this for you at not much cost. I have several extra long bits and augers and pull one or more out for use about once a year. Nice to have when that unusual need comes up. BTW, back out frequently to clear chips since there are only a couple inches of flutes at the front to do that job.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    S E Washington State
    You could cut the blank in half, route a groove down the center of each half and glue it back together.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    I've made a couple of lamps with one of these,

    from craft supplies. You also have to have a hollow tailstock or headstock and a hollow dead center for the tailstock or a hole through the headstock and whatever you are using to drive the wood. Mine was only 5/16 and considerably cheaper at the time.

    A gun drill is supposed to be better. Also, I have bought 12" bits from the local ace hardware if that is long enough.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Reno, Nv
    Home Depot, Lowe's and the like sell 12" and 18" Auger bits that should work for that. It is best to drill from each end so any deviation is minimal...kinda like doing a pepper mill.
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

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