Pen Blank, Drill Centering Jig

Pen Blank, Drill Centering Jig

I had this pen blank, let call them holders, for a while. I made them back when I got my lathe, about two years ago. My old holders work fine but I always felt something was missing. Well after looking around on the web and not really getting any idea sparking. I got a Pen State Industries catalog in the mail. I was looking around in the catalog and came across Pen Blank Drilling Vise item number #drillcenter. As soon as I seen it I knew how to build mine and retrofit what I already had.  Take a second and take a look.

Pen Blank Drilling Center Jig Instructions

I am retrofitting my original design. You may have a few more steps.
Here’s what you will need.
Push/Pull Toggle Clamp – Link
1/4″ dowel Rod Wood or Metal
Light Duty Spring what ever tension you like as long as the spring fits over the 1/4″ dowel
Scrap wood
vlcsnap-00004This was what I started with. If you don’t already have this you will need to make this first. All this is two pieces of Pine 1 1/2″ X 1 1/2″ X 5 1/2″ In the center of each piece cut a notch out.
vlcsnap-00005This board is the same width as the other jig 5 1/2″ Leave it long for now.
Lay out the lines for the dowel rod. This steps not important. The only thing you want is enough room to add the dowel and spring.
Roll the layout line to the inside of the jig. Mark about center to drill the 1/4″ hole about 3/4″ deep. Insert dowel centering pin markers in those holes. The markers will mark the other side of the jig perfectly. Then drill those holes out just bigger then 1/4″ so the dowel will move freely in these holes.
Assemble the jig, insert the dowel to mark the length. With one side of the jig, back down on the table, insert the dowels, the springs and the other half of the jig. You may have to cut your spring to make a good fit. Have an extra pen blank of your choice to insert while cutting the spring. This you may have to do a few time to make it fit right.
Glue, clamp then screw one side of the jig to the flat board. Test the jig to make sure it move freely. I ended up sanding the bottom of the other side of the jig to help with this. I also put wax on the dowels.
Hardest part for me was to find this clamp. Ended up at woodcraft. They can be order online. Set the clamp down in position and mark the hole. Be sure to pre-drill. Then mount the clamp and adjust it to have a snug fit with the blank in the jig. You may have to adjust a few times to make this right.
This next step is for my drill press table design. You DON’T have to do this. If you have done my design this could work for you as well. Cut an extra sacrificial waste piece and attach to the bottom of the jig.