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Step 3: Drilling Blanks

Drill 7mm diameter holes through the blanks for the brass tubes of the slimline kit to fit, using the guide holes from the previous step. The holes should be as perpendicular as possible so you get the hole going through the whole blank and not at an angle. For this, it's handy to have a jig attached to a vice: there are diagonal cuts that basically help hold the wood upright as you drill into it (image below). You can still use any old clamp, but this system is very helpful for drilling holes in blanks.

For drilling into the wood, you'll want to do "peck" drilling to avoid it cracking from pressure and chip buildup. Cut into the blank 1/4" deep at a time, pecking into the wood and raising the drill bit to clear chips. If you have issues with the wood cracking, it may be because you are drilling too quickly or not clearing the chips often enough. It can also be helpful to have a flat piece of scrap wood supporting the bottom surface of your blank as you drill through the bottom.

Drill a hole through the 2-1/16" section first. It should go all the way through. Then, for the longer blank, you still only need to drill 2-1/16" deep, not through the whole thing, in order to glue the brass tube. To do this, use your drill hardstops on the left of your drill press. With the drill bit tip resting on the top of your long blank, put the 2-1/16" blank at your hardstops and adjust the top one so that it rests at the top of the blank, as shown below.

If you happen to be drilling with a handheld drill (brave of you!), you can tape your drill bit at 2-1/16" from the tip and drill to the tape edge.

Use your barrel trimmer to clear out the hole you made in the long blank (chips may be stuck at the bottom, and it may be a bit ragged), and drop a brass tube in to make sure the hole is deep enough. If not, gently twist the barrel trimmer in the hole to make it deep enough, or go back to drill press as necessary.