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Finishing Pens: Drill with Lock-on

I was very interested in finding a solution that let me use both hands at once, so searched for drills and found this Ryobi (model D43K) with this specific feature: “The variable speed trigger helps you match the speed to the application, while the lock-on feature enables continuous drilling and helps to reduce operator fatigue during long drilling times.”


  • Corded, so won’t run out of battery mid-pen
  • ”lock-on” feature reduces finger fatigue during longer sessions


  • Doesn’t stand up on its own

To solve the last hurdle, I rigged together a setup with two vices and some Velcro cable ties and it works surprisingly well. It’s not perfect: there’s a bit of give, and you can’t orient the handle 90 degrees the other way, the vice won’t hold it steady. But I haven’t had any issues yet and I’ve been using it for a few weeks now.

When I’m not doing a pen, I just remove the mandrel and I get almost my whole work space back — if you have a larger table, it would be even less of an issue.

Here’s a photo of the drill in its vices:

Next up I’d like to look into flex shafts, because I suspect that would be the perfect final solution for me: attach a flex shaft, put that in the vice, use the always-on button on the drill and finish my pens easily and safely. When I’ve done that, I will make another post here.

1 thought on “Finishing Pens: Drill with Lock-on

  1. […] Next: how I solved the problem of not being able to do my pen finishing hands-free. Read that post here. […]

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