The poor Drill Press ... often the last tool to get picked, and the first one you go to when you want a precision job done. Drill presses are not necessarily the handiest tools in the shop, but after you have had one, try and live with out it. You will soon find just how valuable it is, and how much it get used for all those quick litte holes you some to need on so many things. For many years my drill press accessories seemed to get spread around the shop and to find something for it was always a kind of "find-me-if-you-can" hunt, so some time ago I decided to put everything that attaches and/or goes with the drill press either in the small roll-around cabinet it sits on, or in the small cupboard right beside it. It was almost like a miracle, all of a sudden the drill press began to get more and more use ...

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The one thing that confunded me for years was were to put the chuck key. For a time the chuck key lived at the end of a string attached to the drill press, but the cord always seemed to be getting in the way of tangling up as I twisted it around and around to tighten and loosen drill bits ...

.. Then somewhere, and I don't even remember where anymore, I found these 2 half moon magnets that were pretty powerful. I decided that I would try and attach them to the column of the drill press and use that to hold the chuck key. Well as luck would have it when I got them home, they fit like a glove on the column and the chuck key attached easily and is quick and easy to use and replace. A very nice solution to keeping that elusive chuck key in a known and handy location, and I always know where it is.

Another item I use often is the drill press vice. I am finding that I need to do a certain amount of metal working as a woodworker and drilling holes in metal, needs some sort of support or clamping and the drill press vice was well designed for that. Again ... keeping things handy means I will use them more readily so mounting the drill press vice, directly on the wall beside my drill press, means it is always at the ready.

Spindle control with this drill press has always been a pain. The last drill press (not mine) that I used frequently had a wheel that I felt had much better control that these 3 levers that my current drill press has. I can't tell you home many time I have been frustrated while holding something that I am drilling and then pulling on one of the levers and finding that I need to drill deeper and in order to do that I need to move that hand to the next lever which mean either letting go of what I am holding or stopping the drill to re-position my hand on one of the levers. I finally solved this by removing 2 of the levers that only ever got in the way, I really don't need them and now my drill press works great with only one lever and have never missed the other 2, but I could re-attach them if needed ... they live in the top drawer of the cabinet the drill press sits on.

 The Mini Sanding drums that come as a kit with 6 different sizes are quite useful, but sometimes I want to use 2 hands to sand in some smaller quarters. This means trying to hand hold something while the drum is spinning in the drill press and not that easy to support without some movement. To solve this I made a small sub base that sits on top of the drill presses steel base and it has a hole in it that accommodates the mini sanding drums. Not only can I sand much better but I have more opportunity to use more of the sanding drums because I can vary them in the holes and therefore get more use from them.

 I used to find it difficult to try and drill holes into the edge grain of some wooden parts I was making until I remembered that I could use the 90 degree supports that I make from 3/4 inch plywood. They are very strong and with the holes in them, they are perfect for holding smaller pieces of wood, wooden knobs and smaller parts, vertical and getting perfect holes every time.

Drill Press Tips

I'm not sure why the drill press seldom seems to get a sort of clean up. I doesn't make much sawdust but it sure makes lots of chips and depending on what I am doing, it can be quite messy. I have platter underneath that picks up a smaller amount of chips and cuttings but most still seems to land on the floor then I thought ... why couldn't I move the platter right under what I am drilling and save most to those chips from landing on the floor. Turns out this works great, not only is it super easy to clean up, but I'm more encouraged to keep the area clean because it's so easy now.

Lots of interesting things that can be done around the drill press .. what ideas do you have?

Copyright Colin Knecht