Forstner bit?

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Forstner bit?

Postby Nick Jackson » 19 Jul 2007, 12:20

The one bit I loathe about making new dolls is the finger hole in the neck. Up to now I've always used a 30mm spade bit and, because you're drilling into the end grain, it seems to take forever. (This method does, however, create rather wonderful sawdust which I keep in a jar and mix, as required, with wood glue to make my own filler.)

Anyway, on recommendation of One Who Knows About These Things, I've just ordered a forstner bit. Just wondering if anyone else has used one and/or if anyone else has any preferred methods.

Need to conquer this one – can actually put me off making the next head.
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Postby digger » 19 Jul 2007, 15:55

The forstner is more at home with shallow holes. I have never tried a deep hole but would take a lot more clearing time than a flat bit. They also run a bit hotter and you dont have as much control over them once they have set on there way. I fear they may have a shortened life from the overheating.
I find the easiest way to use flat bits is to hone them from new, and then after every few uses, always use a pilot hole and put a smear of beeswax on the side.
There is a fairly new bit that is somewhere between a flat and a forstner that is supposed to have good clearing and be more adaptable.
Do you use a hand drill and a vice, or a drill stand?

Don't do this at home kids but I put the handdrill in a clamp and then hold the wood against the bit, for some small pieces like a puppet head . I saw this way of doing it at an old Bobbin Mill, and find it less arduous and it gives more control on the "bite" of the bit. Its also easier to clear the sawdust.
Do you drill the hole before or after the carving?
I can understand an element of trepidation if making the finger hole is the last part of the process. theres always the fear of it all going wrong.
Uncut blocks are easier to clamp or vice up., but every time i have done it that way I find the hole is in the wrong place for the balance and manipulation of the carved head.
Maybe I will soon get one that I am happy with and be able to move on to the painting part!!!!.
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Postby Chris » 19 Jul 2007, 17:04

I don't think you want the forstner bit nor the flat wood bit (ie spade) for this particular job Nick.
Firstly forget the the electric drill and get out the old brace, or heavyweight hand twist drill. Then use this with an auger bit. I promise you'll have no problems.

The auger is a slow-speed wood bit designed for hand-drilling. A threaded screw on the tip of the bit centers it and draws it into the work, while a pair of spurs slice the circumference of the hole and two lateral cutters remove wood shavings. The bit's deep flutes quickly eject wood chips as you drill. Auger bits come in numbered sizes that represent 16th-inch increments. - well mine do. There must be ones made in metric now. <br><br>
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Postby Nick Jackson » 19 Jul 2007, 17:57

Thanks for that, Chris. Must admit it's a few years since I tried an auger although they're the ones which tended to split the block. Still, I've more patience these days so will give it a go.
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Postby Miraiker » 19 Jul 2007, 20:21

I bought a flat bit with a threaded point like an auger (made by Bosch). It was bought to drill larger holes in a piece of flat wood to make puppet stands. 32mm.
As always when wanting to drill right through the wood I put another piece of wood underneath so it didn't spoil the underside on coming through.
I finished up with something like a helicopter flying round the kitchen (despite clamping) and a badly bruised hand.
I've decided not to use it again.
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Postby CvdC » 20 Jul 2007, 00:47

30mm for a finger hole?
My advice from some else who knows about such things was for 7/8th" which is ... 22mm I think. Nice fit on the average finger = good control of the head.
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Postby Nick Jackson » 20 Jul 2007, 00:56

You must have awfully thin fingers

Just measured the ring I wear on my 4th finger and that's 22mm and very hard to get it over the knuckle.
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Postby johnstoate » 20 Jul 2007, 09:08

Not surprised Nick, 7/8" converts to nearer 28mm. in my book. Miraiker was right with 32mm. But in fairness to Chris, He is reading everything upside-down! :lol:
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Postby Miraiker » 20 Jul 2007, 09:21

It's lovely to told I'm right, John but my 32mm bit was for puppet stands not finger holes.
Actually I use 22mm for parlour size puppets (young performers, ladies and some young men) and I use 24mm for most others unless I know they have larger hands.
As Chris VDC said, comfortable fit without rattling around in them.
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Postby johnstoate » 20 Jul 2007, 09:28

I see, I presumed that at 32mm. you were allowing a lining for comfort in use though, Which I hope you will agree would make for a nice, snug fit. At least for big mitts like mine! :lol:
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Postby Chris » 20 Jul 2007, 09:30

It really is rather pointless, Chris, recommending a finger hole size. People's fingers vary vastly in diameter.
Drill the hole generously oversized, then wrap a strip of felt several times round your finger and, after testing, glue felt and wth it wrapped tight round finger insert it into the hole. Allow the felt to slightly uncoil and press with finger to stick to the wood.
You should finish with a snug, not too tight but comfortable finger fit, but flexible enough to allow for the finger swelling in hot weather.



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Postby CvdC » 20 Jul 2007, 09:49

John Stoate are you telling me that if I cross the equator 7/8" becomes 28mm? what a strange world we live in!
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Postby CvdC » 20 Jul 2007, 09:53

I actually don't care what size people make their holes. It's just that 30 mm seemed rather large for anyone's finger.
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Postby James » 20 Jul 2007, 10:23

Miraiker, you'll be telling us you sand the hole as well next, you'd be putting Bryan to shame!
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Postby Nick Jackson » 20 Jul 2007, 11:15

CvdC wrote:30 mm seemed rather large for anyone's finger

I couldn't work with a head that was tight around my index finger knuckle – need waggle room. However, all my dresses are made tight around the back and very narrow on the front (even if later jackets etc disguise this) this pulling the head tightly down but still allowing quite a bit of waggle when needed.
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