After cutting the blanks on the band saw, I line up the blanks and I start drilling the holes for the brass tubes. I always start with the larger diameter holes, that way if I stuff up, I can recover the other half for a smaller pen like the Sierra or Elegant Beauty.
When it comes to drilling out the blank, I always put the marked side with the center of the blank facing up on the press. The reason for this is because if there is a chip-out on the push through, we loose a bit on the end of the pen and not the centre of the pen. This helps with the grain match up on the pen. If we lose too much from the centre of the blank, the grains just don’t look as good. I anticipate the chip-out, that is why I always allow the 5 – 10 mm so we don’t waste the pen blanks.
The drill bit that I use is just a standard twist drill bit. I always sharpen my drill bit before a run of blanks. I use a Drill Doctor to give me a sharp cutting edge – the Drill Doctor is quick, in 30 seconds I have a nice sharp drill.
I don’t use a brad point drill bit because because they are difficult to sharpen. Unless your a very skilled trained professional or have an expensive sharpening machine, their next to impossible to sharpen. The same is true with the parabolic dill bit. Parabolic bits also seem to flex and wobble very easily, the bit likes to follow the grain of the timber resulting in far higher stuff up when it comes to drilling the smaller sized blanks.