How to Drill Holes in the Ends of Posts

Q:

I am refinishing an 1870s bed, but the bottom 9" of the turned posts were beyond repair. I cut off the damaged areas and turned new matching sections that I’ll attach using 1" dowels. However, the 4' posts are too long for my drill press. How can I drill a perfectly perpendicular dowel hole in the ends using a hand-held drill?
—Jim Kinder, Unicoi, Tenn.

A:

A shop-made drilling guide should solve your problems, Jim. Glue together sufficient scrap to create a guide block about 3" thick and 6" square. On your drill press, chuck a Forstner bit the diameter of your post end and bore a 1"-deep hole into the block. Without moving the block, bore a 1"-diameter hole through the rest of the block.

Seat the end of the post into the bottom of the guide block. Then use the 1" hole to guide the bit in your hand-held drill, as shown above. Drill as deeply as you can using the guide; then remove the guide and use the hole itself to keep your bit straight, should you need to deepen the dowel hole farther.

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