How to make your own Foret or Bow Drill


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Thank you for posting this. What about that "electronic mother mounted behind"? The mother I already have is plenty, thank you very much.

 

Are you sure you don't need another one? You might be able to program an electronic one to bake you cookies on demand.

 

Sorry Mark, that might be a typo. I'll have to check. 

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Another possibility for a foret design that I haven't executed yet, but am considering, would be to buy one of these triple bearing live centers http://www.amazon.com/Toolmall-MT2-Center-Bearing-Turning/dp/B00M40S1UU to fit my lathe head or tailstock, then drive out the rotating hardened center and replace it with a spindle that I machine consisting of a threaded nose for the chuck, and a spool for the bow cord that drives the drill. Then my lathe would be the supporting structure for my foret. When not in use it would take up little space in a drawer, which is an increasingly important consideration in my shop. If it seemed necessary, the Morse taper could be locked into my lathe spindle with a simply made threaded drawbar. Such a device would work well on a wood or metal lathe, though a metal lathe would be required to make the spindle, of course.

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There are pillow bearing sets, and track rod ends and the like that would make a good foret available on Ebay for very small money. They take standard rod sizes, and the only challenge is to fit the chuck. If you have a threadcutting lathe this is very simple.

 

Last week I got a casting like the one Rodney Mohr shows, and it's made a really good drill. I put the spool in the middle, and bought an old rapier to use as a bow. I have doubled the gut string so that it runs around the spool twice. It works beautifully.

 

I also bought an old Craftsman lathe teadstock, and I've made a spindle. It will make a good foret too.

 

Both of the spindles are lapped in to run on the cast iron bore, and they should last for many years.

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Here's what I have been using as a bow drill for about 20 years:

 

post-4504-0-26155800-1419171805_thumb.jpg    post-4504-0-27901600-1419171826_thumb.jpg

 

The drill had a handle on the shaft that I removed to permit the drill to be clamped in the vise.  I got the idea from Hans Nebel, who uses this set up to drill string holes in pegs.  It is not as elegant or as traditional as a foret, but it is easily made from standard components that you might even already have.  I use it for most bow drilling operations that I don't do on the lathe.  I have never used a foret, but I can't imagine how one would be a substantial improvement over this set up. 

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Here's what I have been using as a bow drill for about 20 years:

 

attachicon.gifdrill 1.JPG    attachicon.gifdrill 2.JPG

 

The drill had a handle on the shaft that I removed to permit the drill to be clamped in the vise.  I got the idea from Hans Nebel, who uses this set up to drill string holes in pegs.  It is not as elegant or as traditional as a foret, but it is easily made from standard components that you might even already have.  I use it for most bow drilling operations that I don't on the lathe.  I have never used a foret, but I can't imagine how one would be a substantial improvement over this set up. 

 

Thanks for this illustration, Brad. I don't have a lathe or foret. Many tools, but not the right ones for bow making...

I was thinking of (perhaps) something like this, since I need such a tool, but have none.

But... I do have a hand drill (a really cool old  Stanley) with little to no play in it, and a small, portable bench vice, almost exactly like the one you show here.

Mnet - and the membership here - comes through again!

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That has been my set up too until now, mainly for drilling for pegs in the pegbox, but also for bow work.

 

I finished my new foret up however, complete with fencing foil, and I love it. There's something really nice about having traditional tools that work well in the workshop. . The cut is in one smooth motion, and it's very powerful. Also, I feel I can hold the workpiece more steadily, stand back a bit more, and line things up better.

 

Hull mentions lathe headstocks. Here's the one I got on ebay. It's from a very cheap Craftsman lathe, but the casting is beautiful, and the bore excellent. I'm always on the lookout for things like this. The trouble with violin malking is that everything takes ages, and you have to worry about finishing and varnishing and so on. Metal is great. When it's done it's done, and it either works or it doesn't.

 

 

 

post-30909-0-48718500-1419257343_thumb.jpg

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