Drilling holes in wood is an important part of woodworking, and I know that I very often just take it for granted ... until I have a failure, like wood cracking on me, or I can't find the bit I need, or I can't find the key to my chuck, I try to hold the wood with my fingers and end up making a bad cut ... and the list goes on ... There are many, many things we can do that will make our hole drilling quicker, easier and almost always give us better results too, and for me, sometimes it's just slowing down a wee bit to take the time to do a better job, and a lot of doing a better job for me means convenience ... that is, having things handy to use and not having to go looking or making things just so I can drill some holes ...
Watch it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/embed/0mhJ8h8506M
Keeping the things I use most frequently close to my drill press has helped me a lot. Not having to waste time looking for things reduces my frustration ... and as I talked about in the past, looking for the key my chuck used to be a big deal ... not anymore ...
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Some time ago I acquired a pair of semi-round magnets that happen to fit perfectly on the column of my drill press ... sure, nice for me, but what does everyone else do? Well, I discovered an equal or maybe even better alternative. Some very small, fairly inexpensive and very strong magnets that will easily do the same job as the semi-round ones I use. I purchased them at Lee Valley Tools (a free ad for Lee Valley) these people have lot of magnets for sale, to find out, just search for - magnets - from their home page, you might find some other ideas that you can use ... the rare earth magnets I showed are the half inch size shown on this page. They are quite inexpensive and work great ... I am still finding more uses for them too.
Holding wood that is being drilled, especially in a drill press, can be harmful if you are not careful. The reason the drill press is so much more dangerous is that when your flip the switch on, it stays on until you turn it off. Compare that to a hand drill (with much less power) and you are constantly in control of the switch and speed, so your reaction time is much quicker, but accidents can happen here too. The best solution when drilling holes, especially when drilling smaller pieces of wood is to make sure they are secured i.e. clamped down or at least held with a clamp and not your fingers.
One of the best, easiest and quickest clamping holders is a simple wooden hand-screw clamp ... I also like quick release clamps, but the wooden hand-screw is best as it can be easily clamped to the drill press table as well.
Another huge safety device for drill presses are fence systems. I don't have an auxiliary top for my drill press anymore as the 2 of them in the past and I seemed to use them and when I did, they always seemed to be in the way, so now I almost always just use the steep top that is part of the drill press machine. I like it because I can somewhat quickly attach a wooden fence to it, but recently I discovered that my Magswitches also make a great fence system for my drill press table. For those of you who do not know what a "Magswitch" is, basically it's a mechanism that allows a switch to be turned on the top of the unit that engages a powerful magnet and when sitting on a steel top it locks the mechanism to the top and makes it almost impossible to move. To see more about the company click here.
These magsitches are not cheap, but the good news is that they can be easily moved from jig to jig to even a pair of them could easily last you a lifetime.
For more detail, read about them here on Colin's Woodworkweb Amazon Store.
Another fence system I have used is a simple Angle Iron bar, held down with clamps and although I use this sometimes for wood drilling, I find that I use it more often for those times I am drill metal. I find that the metal filings embed in wood, and that can mar some finishes that I might be working on so I prefer the angle iron fence for drilling metal pieces. I like the angle iron for a few reasons, it's always flat and level, never warps and if I drill holes it, it doesn't affect how it works. I always have a chunk of it in the top drawer of my Drill Press cabinet.
This method of drilling holes I have used for years ... long before I every acquired my drill press, drilling straight up holes was a challenge and using a couple of blocks of wood for a guide is a quick and easy way of at the very least, doing a better job, not always perfect but usually close and it always does a good job and I still use it today especially when I need to drill holes is some sort of an awkard place, like inside a cabinet and I still need to make sure the holes are very close to a 90 degree angle ... this system works very well ...
Copyright Colin Knecht