My new tool

Look at this baby right here! Yup, I’m just strutting as proud as a papa, because now I am the happy owner of a drill press.

The only problem is that I bought this tool back in 2003.

Lemme explain. I have heard from other woodworkers that a drill press is a piece of must-have equipment for the shop. You can do all kinds of stuff with it. Why, you can bore holes. But, you can also use a circle cutter. And a plug cutter. And a sleeve sander. Gosh, there are a ton of tools you can use!

As far as applications? Sanding. Cutting mortises. I mean, drill presses are Jacks of all trades. So, I collected my pennies back in the day, and I went out to the local Lowe’s and purchased this.

Now, it’s not the most tricked out drill press out there. Not by a long sight. There are no lasers, no hold downs, no expanding tables… Just a really basic, smallish sized unit with a fairly powerful motor, an adjustable table and the ability to drill nice straight holes.

The only problem I have ever had with the unit? I couldn’t find a place to put it. Just as with my miter saw, it sat, tucked neatly away behind a piece of shop furniture for the better part of a decade while it got covered with dust.

There were times I used it for sure. I would have to squat down and manhandle the unit out from its hidey-hole, find a place for it – usually on the workbench – and use it to do the five or six things I needed done. After that, I would manhandle it down into storage again.

I tried to make it more useful by building a rolling cabinet for it. Some plywood, a few casters, a handful of screws and BAM, I was there. I even made the piece the same height as my workbench so I could use that for infeed or outfeed on my table saw. But, the vast amount of time, the drill press sat in its case.

When I pulled the side cabinet out this past weekend, I was wondering if I could fit the drill press under there with the drill mounted to the top. The stack was about six inches too tall. Flummoxed, I spent the better part of my evenings after work trying to figure out how I could make this arrangement work. That’s when the idea hit me… how about a cabinetectomy?

Using my track saw, I set the case on its side and sliced it apart about six inches from the bottom. Once it was free, I banged the bottom of the case free from the three sides and screwed it back into place. I stood the drill press up on it and wheeled it over to the new area. It fit with about two inches to spare! I used a pair of screws and some fender washers to attach the drill press to the top of the cabinet, and then cleaned the caked-on sawdust off the tool. Much nicer.

I also took the opportunity to gather up all of my drilling supplies and stash them in that cabinet. This way, when I need to do any work at the press, I can simply reach in, find the bit and get to work.

The best part of this whole operation? It took maybe ten minutes to get the stand cut to size! Now, I have to build myself a little bit more useful table to expand the small machinist table – something with a little T-track to help make drilling a pleasure.

I’m looking forward to getting some good use out of my nearly decade-old brand new tool.

7 thoughts on “My new tool”

  1. I have the exact same issue that you had for years – my drill press is under the extension wings of my table saw and I almost never use it since it’s such a PITA to get out. Of course it also has the disadvantage of being so short that once you put a drill bit in the chuck, there’s only enough room to drill into about 1″ of material. What a useless drill press – but it was free when I took it from my Dad’s shop after he passed away. Also there’s a huge amount of wobble in the chuck – argh.

    This has all led me to just use a hand drill whenever I need a hole. I’ve drilled some mighty crooked holes in my time but it’s remarkable how seldom that matters.

    I need to buy a new one – then build a cabinet like you’ve done.

  2. I have an old bench top drill press (1970’s) and it must weigh 100# but, I built a roll around stand for it similar to yours. The drill press was so heavy that I had to put two layers of 3/4″ plywood for the top! I took the time to put 6 drawers of varying depths in it for storage of bits and accessories and an open area at the bottom. I have a lot of drill bit sets and sanding drums as you might imagine.
    It has worked for me quite well for several years.


  3. I have the same drill press and use the heck out of it.
    I like your stand.
    I mounted mine on top of a roll around tool cabinet and it really is nice being able to move it over to where I’m working on a process.
    I bet you get a lot more use out of it now.
    That was a smart way to use your new found space.
    Nice job Tom !

  4. That is what it’s all about Tom. None of us have the perfect shop, nor can we have the best of every tool either, but we take what tools we have in the space we have and turn out the best projects we can. What more is there to reach for?

  5. Well, I guess I’m the weird one here… my 16″ floor-standing drill press was one of the first pieces of large, stationary equipment I acquired for my shop, and I use it virtually every time I build anything. When it comes to putting holes in something, my mantra is “if you can bring the workpiece to the drill press, do it.” Precise, straight, squared-up holes can dramatically improve the fit and overall quality of a build.

  6. Glad you’re happy with your Delta drill press. I got a low-end delta table saw a few years ago for a remodeling job and it didn’t last through that one project. The fence locking handle broke almost immediately, then the miter gauge, and finally the power switch broke >in the ON position< !

    On the other hand my no-name super-cheap drill press has been going strong for some 30 years. I guess you need to check out specific models even for major brand names.

    Your post just may get me off my butt to build a rolling cabinet for my press. It'll have to be as narrow as the presses worktable, as right now I'm storing it betweenthe workbench and a door that opens in.

    Jet Drill Press

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