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Drill Press Table


If you have used a drill press, you already know why I built this jig. The tables on drill presses are small, the ribs on the bottom make it tough to clamp to them, they're lacking a fence, and you usually want to put a piece of scrap wood down, so you don't accidentally drill through your project into the metal table.

Really, there's not much too this jig. It's just a couple sheets of plywood glued together. You dado two slots into it, for mounting some aluminum track. You cut out a spot in the middle, for holding "sacrificial" inserts -- this is the part under the drill bit. It'll get marked and drilled, so you want to be able to replace it. Then you build a simple fence, which can be attached to the table using those two aluminum tracks. That's it. Even with two kids underfoot, it only took me an hour or two so to build.

My inspiration primarily came from what I recall reading in various magazines over the past few years. To refresh my memory I went searching on the web and found a few pictures. The first was a photo of a Rockler drill press table - shown above: (Click on the photo to link to the web site)

The second was a photo/article from Wood magazine - shown left. (Again, click on the image to link to the web site) For my jig, I just stuck with the plain horizontal table, and didn't add on the vertical option.

I expect that most of you work somewhat as I do; when building a jig you try to work with what is available in your scrap pile. I found something close enough to my desired size, so my drill press table came out at 28" wide, by 15-1/2" deep. For the sacrificial board in the middle of the table, I arbitrarily picked 6" wide, by 4" deep.

I mentioned above that I used two pieces of plywood, glued together. The top piece was 3/4" thick. The reason for using two pieces, is that I had to cut a dado most of the way through that 3/4" thick top piece, in order to mount the aluminum track flush with the top. I use a wobble-dado blade on my tablesaw. It does the job, but boy do you need to fiddle with it a lot to get the right width of cut.

Here's a bit of advice. Take the bottom sheet of plywood, and position it on your drill press table. Then mark where there are holes/slots in the table and drill through the plywood to mount some T-nuts. You can then use some bolts, or knobs to attach the wooden table to your drill press, so it is fairly easy to remove. Furthermore, after you glue the two sheets of plywood together, the t-nuts are captured inbetween, and they do not mark up or obstruct the top sheet of plywood. I think this is a great idea, unfortunately I didn't think of it until AFTER I had already glued my two sheets of plywood together. Phooey. For now I have just used wood screws to mount my wooden table onto my drill press table. We'll see if that becomes a problem or not. I suppose I could always add on a third layer of plywood...

Here's a very plain top-view diagram of my table. You might notice the circles at each corner of the sacrificial insert in the middle of the table. Those are ~1/2" holes that I drilled. For this first insert, it gave me clearance to insert my jigsaw blade to cut out the four sides. However, for future insert's, it also gives a bit of finger room, for putting the insert in and out of the table. You can see them in the picture of the rockler table also. Just to be clear -- I cut out the sacrificial insert before I glued the two pieces of plywood together, so it rests upon the bottom sheet.

I did need to buy some hardware, which I found at Lee Valley Tools. I found a link on their web site to the aluminum track, and also to the Phenolic knobs nice, oh well.

Here's a poor grainy picture of the jig. Notice how close the handle is to the fence? I wonder if my fence is a bit tall. I notice on shorter pieces that the handles will often bang into the fence as I lower the drill bit. Sometimes I have to remove one of the handles, which is a bit awkward.


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