Woodworking Tool Tips: The Drill Press

When you think of must have tools for the wood shop, the drill press may not immediately come to mind. In fact, many people believe that if they have a regular power drill they will have no use for a drill press. That could not be further from the truth: a drill press is a very handy tool to have for the more advanced wood worker, or even the hobbyist who wants a good quality, versatile tool in their shop.

Of course the obvious use for a drill press is drilling holes, however there is so much more that a drill press can do. When you drill a hole into a project you do not need to worry about the hole reaming out of circle or the drill bit “walking”. Because the drill is built into a solid stand, you can be assured that the hole is straight and perfectly circle.

With a drill press in your shop you can bore circles into your material with precise depth, something that is very hard to do with a handheld power drill. If you use a jig, you can easily drill repetitive holes in your material quickly and easily.

There are two main types of drill presses that you can choose from. A floor mounted model and a bench top model. The bench top model is a good choice for smaller wood shops because it takes up less floor space; however you will be giving up valuable counter space for this unit as well. The floor model drill press is a heavier duty unit and has more power to it.

You can generally find more attachment options for a floor model as well. Because of the size of the unit, there is an opportunity for greater material handling capacity and the power to drill through tougher materials.

Many people think that a drill press is a very inflexible tool. However if you purchase the proper attachments, you can turn your drill press into a very flexible device. You can use the drill press as a spindle sander, a mortise machine or even a pocket hole machine. You can purchase sanding drums and planer heads that attach to the chuck for additional purposes as well.

When you are choosing a drill press, consider the amount of horse power you will need in your wood shop. Drill presses typically run from ¼ to 1 hp. The higher the horse power, the bigger the holes that you can drill in tougher materials. If you do not have a need for this type of drilling, choose a machine that is better suited to your needs.