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Drill Press Secrets

Updated on April 14, 2012

A drill press may seem like a simple tool—it drills holes in your stock. But a drill press can be so much more than that. A drill press can be used for all sorts of great woodworking projects. With the right tips and techniques, you can really get the most out of your drill press. Use this guide to drill presses and learn the secrets that only the experts know.

  • Tear-Out - When smaller objects need clean cut holes drilled through them, a wood cradle can help to prevent tear-out as well as hold the project in place while you’re drilling.
  • Instant Centers - Find the center instantly of any stock piece by placing the material up against the fence. Bring the bit tip down to the wood to make a small mark. Flip the stock around and line it up against the fence. Bring the bit tip down against the stock again—if the marks line up, you’ve got the perfect center; if not adjust the fence to fit.
  • Sanding Drums - A drill press can also be used as a sander. An inflatable drum sander can be used on a drill press to sand stock easily. Deflate the drum sander to allow the sander to conform to curves quickly and easily.
  • Create Pocket Holes - When you need to create pocket holes in materials for hidden attachments, a drill press table can be set on a 45 degree angle to create the perfect pocket hole. Clamp the stock to the fence tightly to ensure the proper angle is achieved.
  • Angled Jigs - If you need multiple angled holes in your woodworking materials, an angled jig can instantly keep angled holes aligned evenly as you work your way down the project. Build your angled jig with a set of hinges and multiple stops to make switching between angles simple and efficient.
  • Flip Stops - A great way to create multiple, evenly spaced holes in your woodworking project is to use a flip stop set. Cut several blocks the same distance between your holes and drill an offset hole in the corner. Use a bar clamp to hold the project and your stop blocks in place. As each hole is drilled, flip a block up and slide the project over the correct amount.
  • Level Tables - A level work table is crucial to getting many woodworking projects completed accurately. Check the accuracy of your table by inserting a wire into your drill press chuck and bending it at a 90 degree angle towards one side of the table. Swivel the wire in the chuck to the other side and adjust the table as necessary.
  • Preventing Clogged Bits - A clogged bit can severely damage your woods surface when boring through soft materials. Be sure you have a sharp bit and use a spray on degreaser to prevent wood from clogging bit flutes.
  • Instant Depth Gauges - When you need to set multiple depths for drilling, you can use a few pieces of painters tape adhered to the depth gauge to instantly gauge depth without having to constantly reset the depth gauge.


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