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Drilling busts for plinths

Discussion in 'Tools of the Trade/Accessories' started by valiant, Jan 2, 2019.

  1. valiant A Fixture

    Hi guys,

    I hope that this isnt teaching grandma how to suck eggs, but I have produced some diagrams which will hopefully be of use to some of you, when drilling out resin busts to mount onto brass rod. In a conversation with another club member this evening, he seemed to think that this was a "dark art"! Hopefully, this may dispel the myth...!!

    Pic 1. If you try to drill out at this angle, then the drill bit will skid across the surface.

    Pic 2. Drill a small hole at a tangent to the surface - big enough for the tip of the drill bit to fit into.

    Pic 3. Angle the drill bit to the required angle, then slowly start to drill into the bust, withdrawing the drill occasionally, to remove the swarf. This ensures the cutting tip of the drill doesnt get "blinded"

    Pic 4. The hole ready to accept the correct diameter rod.

    Thanks for looking,


  2. Alex A Fixture

    great advice !
    and if you make your own bases, drill the hole first then cut the base at an angle.
    This way, the rod will always come out perfectly straigtht from the base
    Nap and valiant like this.
  3. valiant A Fixture

    Alex - thanks for that, or use a pillar drill and machine vice!!(y)
  4. Nap A Fixture

    Hi Steve and Alex

    Thanks for these wise words

    Definately use a vice to hold ( I use thick foam to protect the resin ) .....it's hurts if you don't !!

    A simple but valuable piece of information ...useful for all especially new members

  5. Landrotten Highlander Well-Known Member

    My tip would be to adjust your method by drilling a 'pilot hole'.
    This is done as a step 3a - drill a hole with a small drill, e.g. 1 or 1.5 mm. Step 3b would then be to dril the hole suitable for your chosen support.

    The purpose of this 'pilot hole' is to act as a guidance for your larger drill, since the centre is 'empty space' (i.e. air instead of resin) the point of your larger drill will be tempted to follow the path layed out by the smaller drill.

    That make sense?
    valiant likes this.
  6. valiant A Fixture

    Yeh, that would work, too - Although Ive never actually drilled a pilot hole myself - too eager to get the job done!!(y)
  7. mick3272 A Fixture

    Very useful Steve, I am looking forward to the next thrilling installment in how to get the hole in the bottom of the Bust straight. I have tried all sorts of contraptions in the past & still B---s it up 9/10 times.
    valiant likes this.
  8. valiant A Fixture

    I actually hold the bust in my hand when drilling, then keep checking from all angles, whilst the drill is in place, to make sure the hole is straight....(y)
    mick3272 likes this.
  9. mick3272 A Fixture

    Yes that is what I have started to do.
    valiant likes this.
  10. DEL A Fixture

    What I tend to do is drill the hole in both the bust and the plinth about two sizes too big for the pillar.
    Half fill each with fresh milliput, insert pillar and adjust as required. Once the putty has started to 'go off' remove pillar. This will make the holes slightly larger than the pillar but you'll need that for glue.
    Clean up any excess putty and when hard, glue pillar to base, let dry. Slip two washers, polished brass or to match onto pillar and glue the bottom one to the base neatly covering the hole. Repeat with bust, doing the bust last give a little more adjustment options as relatively few people ever look under a bust but most will note the joint to the plinth.
    Seems a lot of hassle but is dead easy and looks professional.
    harrytheheid, valiant and mick3272 like this.
  11. mick3272 A Fixture

    Cheers Del,
    In truth that's what happens in the end. Very rarely get it right I end up wiggling the drill about to get a bigger hole, get the rod in straight and pack & fill.
    Unless it is one of mine, then I ask Tommi to do a proper job for me when he cast's mine.
    DEL and valiant like this.
  12. Landrotten Highlander Well-Known Member

    I recently started using copper wire as used for my Bonsai. This wire comes from Japan and has been annealed in a very specific way (very difficult if you do not know the correct process or use the wrong copper [electrical wire is no go for instance]).

    I drill the hole only marginally larger than the diameter of the wire - as straight as I can make it. I glue my length of wire in the bust first, and after the glue has set bend it to the angle I want - works very easy, as the wire bends sharpish where it enters the bust. Same process for the plinth end.

    Seems to work fine for me. There is no danger of the wire becoming too soft after bending - rather the opposite as this type of copper work hardens very quickly, so no more than 2 attempts as the 3rd becomes very difficult indeed.
    valiant likes this.

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