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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was cleaning my shop - or, as my wife puts it, "Moving the same old c**p from here to there", when I found this jig I'd made years ago.

This was in the days before YouTube, and I was installing a handrail down the foyer stairs when I realized that I needed to drill the holes under the angled handrail. Having never done this before and, given the length, I wasn't sure about trying to drill them on the drill press so
I thought about how to do this and came up with this little jig.

I had the newel post in place at the bottom, the rosette attached at the top and the handrail cut and screwed in place,

- laid out the spindle locations on the treads going down the stairs, and transferred the location to the underside of the railing using a plumb bob.

- the jig was clamped to the bottom of the handrail, the angle lock loosened, the guide rails adjusted until they were plumb and the angle lock tightened.

- I'd marked the center of the hole on the jig so lined that up with the location of the spindle and then drilled the hole. Did this for the whole length of the handrail - had to reverse the jig when I got to the newel post as the jig was too long so needed to replumb the guide.

When that was all done, I took the handrail out and then installed the spindles - dowel screws into the treads and then the spindle screwed onto them - and then dropped the handrail over the spindles and reattached the ends of the handrail. Surprisingly, it all went together.

I thought I'd thrown that little jig out years ago - maybe my wife is right about my shop - would be interesting to look it up on YouTube and see how it should have been done.
 

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cool...
and the real deal drill guide...
 

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That's a nice little jig, perfect for the job and Stick's right, that drill guide is nice and substantial. One of the best parts of woodworking is coming up with solutions like this.
 

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Very nice. I'm going to be doing exactly the same in a few days!
 
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I own that very same drill guide. It sure has come in handy over the years. Any time I need an accurate hole, angled or not, when too far from an edge that my drill press can't reach I dig it out and remember why I bought it in the first place.

4D
 

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Doub that you could find that quality of drill guide today.

keep moving the stuff around in the shop and tell us more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Doub that you could find that quality of drill guide today.

keep moving the stuff around in the shop and tell us more.
The drill jig is still available from Garrett Wade (and I think made by General)

Drill Guide Jigs: Guide Jig for Portable Dril - Garrett Wade

It's not as sturdy (all plastic except for the rods) though as the old Portalign I had that was stolen but it's much easier to set up for angle drilling.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Great and useful jig Tom! A man without a c**p, is a man without history. Do not put in the garbage. Soon or later we discover that we need them!! Sid.
Thanks. The drill guide is something that I use a lot, really helps when you need the holes perpendicular to the surface. I may however "retire" the little jig; if I ever do another staircase, chances are that the handrail dimensions would be different - and it really wasn't that hard to make, a little fussy getting the alignment strips centered to the hole.
 

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I have one of those that I bought for doing the same job in my last house when I finished off the attic to add 3 more bedrooms.

Keep it! There will be other times when it will come in very handy.

For instance-

1. there are two V shaped protrusions on the top of the base casting that make this tool very handy for drilling centered holes in round or odd shaped stock. Set the stock in the V and drill the hole.

2. The angle feature is handy when making chairs (in addition to drilling railing spindle holes) to get the leg and spindle holes drilled at the correct angles.

3. When adjusted for 90 deg the jig is handy for adding straight drilled holes in projects that are located too far from the edge of the material to drill in the drill press.

4. It also has two threaded holes in the base. Adding pins to these holes lets you drill centered holes easily in the edge of stock for dowels, etc. Place it on the edge of the stock, rotate the jig until both pins touch the stock and drill the hole. It will be perfectly centered in the stock edge.

I come up with a reason to use mine every few years, and I thank myself again and again that I bought it and still have it, but I sometimes have to dig deep in my shop to find it.

For others who may be interested -

If you don't have one, several companies make them, but with different features. Mine was made by General Tools and it has more features than other versions that I've seen, it even has a depth stop. Any place that sells General Tools should be able to get you one, even if they don't stock them. Here is the catalog information from two sources.

http://www.testequipmentdepot.com/general/wood-working/wood-joinery/36-37.htm

https://www.amazon.com/General-Tool...qid=1495804722&sr=8-1&keywords=general++36-37


Charley
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@CharleyL

Yes indeed, they are very handy. The one shown in the photos is the second one I bought (third actually if you count the one that was stolen). I also have a Milescraft (I think, but an older model) that is actually a little sturdier, plus having a more secure attachment for the drill - the chuck is removed and the threaded spindle of the drill is screwed into the carriage rather than having to clamp the drill chuck onto an undersize spindle like the General - but I bought the General because of the ease in drilling angles holes. After thinking about it, I could have saved the money spent for the General by making an angled block and drilling a guide hole in that - easy enough to measure the angle of the handrail and cut a block to suit.

Out of curiosity, I did a search for handrail drilling jigs and came up with a couple;

from the sublime (at less than $200)

Home-Baluster Drill Jig

to the ridiculous (at least for the "weekend warrior" at over $800)

https://www.amazon.com/L-J-Smith-Stair-Systems-LJ-3060/dp/B00608LDI4

If I was doing it for a living, the Bore Buster certainly looks like a well made and versatile piece of equipment but you'd have to use it a lot to justify the cost.

I used to use the guide a lot for drilling holes in countertops for attaching the backsplash - drilling a straight hole through 1-1/2" of countertop so that the screw didn't come through the side of the backsplash was a challenge for someone with no depth perception - but have now switched over to a guide similar to this one which is a whole lot handier.

Home - Portable Drill Guide by Big Gator Tools Drill Straight - Every Time!
 
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