Drilling Smooth Eye Holes With No Tearout


Drilling The Eyehole In a Rocking Horse
Here is how I do it using a drill press. I drill a lot of eye holes.

A sharp quality is essential no matter what type of bit you use.

I insert the bit and adjust the table height so the tip of the bit barely touches the backer board. The idea here is to get a tiny hole (forstner or brad point) or little bump (twist drill) so you can easily locate the hole position from the backside of the board.

Drill the hole with the proper speed. Faster speeds are better for small holes. Turn the board over. Find the small hole or bump and carefully drill from the other side. This is easy with brad point or forstner bits. It takes some practice to work well with twist drills. With twist drills, I hold the piece lightly while lowering the bit slowly into the wood.

To get a smooth hole, you need to let the bit do the cutting. I have watched many woodworking videos where they force the bit through the wood.

Softer woods require sharper, better-quality tools to get smooth cuts.

If possible, drill your holes before cutting on the scroll saw. I have broken many pieces by not doing this.

When buying forstner or brad point bits, buy the best you can afford.

Lee Valley Lipped brad point bits a great.
Buy the sizes you need. With sets, I find that there are always a lot of bits that do not get used.

I like Freud or Fisch wave cutter bits for my forstner bits. However, I have a couple of carbide-tipped metric bits I purchased from Aliexpress that work amazingly well. They only come in metric sizes.

I always buy high-speed steel bits.

For twist drills, I use Harbor Freight bits. They may not work for steel, but I am not using them for steel. They are cheap and run true.

Harbor Freight brad point bits are junk. I bought a set to try them out. Only three of the bits were useable. The rest were ground off-center or were not straight.


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