Sorry that today’s poll may be a little boring … but I do have a question about a tool that’s found frequently in woodworking shops.
While they may have started as essential machinist’s tools, drill presses have become a workshop staple. Hey, if you need a hole bored straight into a piece of wood, there’s no more accurate way to get the job done. Drill presses also have scores of other uses. Want to bore holes on an angle into a piece of wood? Set the table angle and bore away. Chuck a sanding sleeve in there and you have a spindle sander. You can get a mortising attachment to make it a multi-tasker.
But, then there are the drill presses that sit for a long time collecting dust. I know someone who has no fewer than six drill presses, because other woodworkers give him theirs when they discover they don’t get any use.
Today’s question – just how essential are drill presses in a woodworking shop? Critical pieces of machinery, or a total waste of time?
7 thoughts on “Quick Poll”
Ar, ar! Yes a boring post.
Bought on of these about six months ago and am using it a ton on my work bench. However, it does spend a lot of time sitting in the corner not being used. But when I need it, its invaluable.
On a safety note, I did here that someone managed to take their thumb off using one of these. So as always, one wants to be careful .. and use a fence?
indeed, Marilyn. Also, clamping your work down is a great idea…
For myself, it’s absolutely essential, but I don’t believe it is for every woodworker, so I voted for “solid tool to have around”.
It’s invaluable when you need really accurately placed holes, and when you need to drill a special hole, like a through hole with a forstner upper level to countersink a bolt head.
Also, I’ve noticed that once I put a magnetic bar up on the side of the pulley hood, and started keeping my most often used bits on there, I’ve been using it more and more because of the convenience.
Also, an attached vacuum hose that plugs in to the shop vac is a great extra for chip removal.
(The only problem now is I’m starting to look at some really nice (and really expensive) bigger models)…lol
I’ve used my drill press as a makeshift lathe, a spindle sander, and to spin circular pieces of wood for sanding. I don’t recommend doing any of these operations regularly, but in a pinch…
With a good table and fence, a drill press can be indispensable in a wood shop. It’s either than or get good boring straight freehand!
When I moved from California to Tennessee I sold my Craftsman drill press do to it’s weight and difficulty in moving around. A Harbor Freight replacement was the first new tool purchased after the move, albeit the smaller version.
My drill press was the first large stationary tool I bought, and I’m pretty certain that I use it almost every time I’m in the shop. Nothing fancy — it’s a 16″ Craftsman — but I got a great deal when Sears decided to update their line of drill presses about 10 years ago and thus discontinued this particular model from a previous year. As I’ve explained to my 7 year old son, if you need to drill a hole and it’s possible to bring your work to the drill press (rather than bringing a hand drill to the work) there is no comparison to the accuracy and quality of the holes produced. It’s not even close. I wish all of my stationary tools were a dependable, reliable, and satisfying to use.