Pen-Blank Drilling Jig
A drill press plays a major role in pen-making but is effective only if you hold the blank securely and squarely while drilling. Made from any available shop scrap, this jig with its integral clamping fence promises perfect results every time. Construct the jig from plywood, solid wood, or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) as shown in the drawing below. Measure the angle of the support fence carefully and attach it to the base with countersunk screws from underneath. Extra holes drilled into the top of the fence store pen-blank drill bits when not in use. To use, put the pen blank in place and hold it tight with a spring clamp. Center the bit over the blank and clamp the jig to the drill-press table.
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For a Quick Tip
Quick tip: a level drill press
This drilling jig can ensure a perfect 90° hole in your pen blanks. However, because the jig registers to the table on your drill press, it can't do its job if the table isn't perpendicular to the drill bit. Instead of using a square to true up the table, a short length of coat-hanger wire will do the job quickly and accurately. Cut a length of wire approximately 6" long, and bend it at right angles in opposite directions about 1" from each end. Don't worry if your angles aren't exactly 90°. Chuck one end into the drill and tighten while the angle on the other end points down at the table. Now raise the table so it touches the wire. Slowly rotate the drill chuck 180° by hand so you can detect any high or low spots on the table and adjust accordingly.
—John Clark, Cuddebackville, N.Y.