Drill press jig question

I'm trying to cut a handle (square rectangle rounded at both ends) in a board. I was doing this with a 1" spade bit. Basically I was cutting three holes, one in the center and one on each side, then cutting out the sides with a jig saw. I keep measuring where to put the center of the buit but it's off a little each time, in other words the holes don't line up perfectly. Granted, we're talking the width of a dull pencil point but it's driving me a little nuts.
Is there a drill press jig that might help on this or do I just need to do the same thing but more carefull?
Thanks, Richard
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Richard A. wrote:

I always drill one hole, then turn the press off and use the depth stop spun around the opposite side to hold the drill down. Then I clamp a scrap piece behind the part I'm drilling then release the drill and slide the wood to be drilled back and forth along the scrap to drill the rest of the holes.
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"Richard A." writes:

You are in a damned if you do, damned if you don't situation.
Trying to keep a spade bit centered in this application is a real bear.
Try a forstner bit.
HTH
--
Lew

S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
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Make a simple fence. It can be as simple as a strip of 3/4" plywood with two holes drilled in it. Use wing nuts and bolts to hold it in place. One lined up for the first hole, it is simple to repeat.
FWIW, most spade bits I've ever used are crap. Forstner bits or hole saw work better.
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Even simpler, any straight scrap clamped to your table. Clamping your work piece may also help keep things in line, especially with a spade bit.
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As others have said, a fence or constant spacer is one thing needed. The other item is often more difficult: a straight spade bit. It's very difficult these day to buy good spade bits. You can try checking yours out, and you may find it's off enough to cause your problem. A forstner or sawtooth bit would do a much better job (although at ten times the cost). A cheaper possibility might be a hole saw, if the material's not too thick. GerryG
wrote:

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Richard A. wrote:

Wow, what a great bunch of responces. Thanks much for all the tips. It's nice to know it might not be just me. I'll be using all the advice, get a proper tool and build a jig.
Thanks again, Richard
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Richard A. wrote:

Spade bits are rarely straight. If you spin the drill chuck by hand you will probably see the tip of the bit wobble as it rotates. The worst thing you can do is hold the work piece rigid. Try drilling pilot holes with a normal twist drill bit that is slightly larger than the width of the tip of the spade bit and then, using a slow speed on your drill press, drill into the workpiece with your spade bit letting your workpiece 'float' so that it wobbles along with the spade bit. Your hole positioning will be a lot more reliable.
Others advised about forstner bits and this is the best choice if you want 'round' holes with good edge finish but if you're just gouging out wood then spades will work if you know their limitations.
TWS
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I'll take issue with that one. First, if your bit is that bent, IMHO you should toss it. Second, once the wings of the spade bit have cut in, any wobble is restricted. Third, I'd really like the workpiece to stay where it is, rather than my having to duck out of the way. GerryG

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GerryG wrote:

The original poster stated that the wobble was the width of a dull pencil - you'll be tossing quite a few spade bits if you consider this unacceptable tolerance. My suggestion was to let the workpiece "float" with the drill running at slow speed. I didn't suggest having the workpiece totally unconstrained. There are several ways to keep the workpiece from rotating without holding it rigid so you won't have to "duck out of the way". The nice thing about spade bits is that they don't grab and lift the workpiece like twist or brad point drill bits do. You simply need to keep the workpiece from rotating.
TWS
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Well, "floating" could be taken many ways by many people. And his wobble was only a "...dull pencil point", which I didn't say was not acceptable. But with your further explanation below, I don't have an issue with what you mean.
An alternative is to use the pilot hole you also suggested, and position and slightly seat the bit there before starting the drill. I tend to do that, with the piece locked down to the fence/table, and positioned under the bit. For the best accuracy I use a starting drill for the pilot. With a few spade bits, I'll have to manually rotate until the bit is directly over the pilot. Not a disagreement, just an alternative. GerryG

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