Lathe Drilling Jigs

pen inlay
Pen Inlay by Ed Davidson, a.k.a. YoYoSpin
Many woodturners look for ways to add embellishments to their work. This can take many forms, such as coloring, segmenting, burning and inlay.

Inlays can be created by making a recess in the turning and filling with a contrasting material, such as metal powder or crushed stone. The photo inset is one such example of this type of inlay. This was created by Ed Davidson, a.k.a. YoYoSpin. He has a large number of video tutorials on his website,, as well as offering DVD tutorials titled Yo-Yo Turnings, Closed End Pens and Creating “Outlays” from Inlays. His instructions cover many subjects including pens, pendants, bottle stoppers, rose engine and the Beall Pen Wizard.

oneway drill wizard
Oneway Drill Wizard
So the tutorial for the pen in the photo uses a drill jig made by Oneway called the Oneway Drill Wizard which mounts in the banjo in place of the toolrest. A common electric drill can be mounted to the jig, and utilizing your favorite indexing method, holes can be drilled into the turning that are filled with inlay material.

Many pen turners have a mini-lathe and the 1” post on the Oneway Drill Wizard won’t fit. This got me to wondering if there is an alternative to this jig.

Many woodturners, and woodworkers in general, design and build their own jigs. This is also true for a lathe drill jig, although I had difficulty in finding tutorials for building one. The Sydney Woodturners in Australia have a page with pictures and basic description for building a Lathe Drilling Jig. But other than that, not much on building your own.

robert sorby precision boring system
Robert Sorby Precision Boring System
A little more research brought me to a jig made by Robert Sorby, called the Precision Boring System. Like the Oneway, it mounts in place of the tool rest. Unlike the Oneway, it is available with many different size posts to fit most any banjo.

A quick internet search indicated the the Sorby Precision Boring System was not available in the U.S. A quick email to Robert Sorby in England confirmed this. However, Lindesy Reynolds from Robert Sorby recommended ordering from

A drill jig can be used for many other operations, the most common of which is drilling turned chair legs.