Ornamental Turning Book of Knowledge
Drilling Frame

Drilling Frame
Image courtesy Bill Ooms


Drilling Frame with a direct drive motor
Image courtesy Mandala Rose Works

The drilling frame is similar to a drill in the way it works. For use, it is held in a quick change tool post (QCTP), and the QCTP is bolted to an cross slide.

  • If you wish to make your own drilling frame, Bill Ooms has provided great directions.

Drilling cutters take various shapes, and some examples from Holtzapffel's Turning and Mechanical Manipulation, vol. 5 - The Principles and Practice of Ornamental or Complex Turning are shown below.


New cutters, made with carbide cutting surfaces, are available from Chris Ploof at Ornamental Tools.


Various drilling bits
Image courtesy Ornamental Tools

The cutter is typically held in a collet (one is shown in the picture to the left), but Jacobs drill chucks have also been used.

The cutter is traditionally rotated using an overhead drive, but direct drive approaches are also used. (An example of a direct drive approach is shown below on the right.)


Just getting started?
The cutting frame is certainly needed; however a drilling frame can wait a little while. Do consider it for one of your first add-on parts.

As with cutting frames, drilling frames can be purchased from a number of vendors (see also, Buying a Rose Engine Lathe), or you can make your own. Directions for making a drilling frame are nicely described by Bill Ooms.

If you make your own, you will need belting for it. I used the same cable belting for this as I used on my overhead drive.

Key Note : Drilling Frames are like Cutting Frames in that they are where the quality of ornamental cutting comes to life. If there is vibration in the drilling frame it will be transmitted to the cuts, and the quality of the work will be poor.

When you are using the ornamental lathe, listen for noise in the drilling frame.

  • The drilling frame should have a whir like a finely tuned machine, and the noise level should be low.
  • If there is vibration, the noise level will be higher. Sometimes much higher. And the tone of the noise will be higher. It won't sound or run like a finely tuned machine.

About this site
Disclaimer : eMail comments to me at OTBookOfKnowledge @ Gmail.com. The process of woodturning involves the use of tools, machinery and materials which could cause injury or be a health hazard unless proper precautions are taken, including the wearing of appropriate protective equipment.