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Extremely Average #45: I Suck

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Blog entry by Ecocandle posted 02-16-2010 04:54 AM 1714 reads 0 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 44: The Amazing Hand Saw Part 45 of Extremely Average series Part 46: Her Name is Angie »

On April 24, 1990 the Hubble Space telescope was launched into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. The images they sent back were blurry. It was one of the darkest days in the space programs history. After polishing the primary mirror for a year they had screwed it up, worse than Billy Buckner in the sixth game of the 86’ World Series. The mirror was off by 1/50th the width of a single human hair.

The holes, which I drilled in the legs for my router table, were off by more than the Hubble mirror. I am sure that the outrage among the scientific community will be less severe, though only slightly. I had the same problem with the workbench, though part of it was due to trying to measure and watch college football simultaneously, but the point is, I still drilled holes that were not true. I was careful in my markings; I was careful in drilling the holes and still just couldn’t get it right.

It has been said that those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. At the moment of realization that one has ‘done it again’, the five stages of woodworking begin. The woodworker will look at the pieces which don’t fit together, take them apart, then immediately put them back together, hoping that this time it will work. This cycle will continue until a feeling of disgust and rage boil up from deep within our craftsman. Reaching towards the sky and screaming to the wood gods, “Why Me” will provide no comfort and the Anger will not subside until he or she starts to bargain with the wood pieces. “Please fit together. I promise that next time I will be more careful. Come on, just this once…” This reasoning will end in tears and a feeling of overwhelming depression, and finally acceptance. Once acceptance is reached, the woodworker will figure out a solution and ultimately triumph. I am not to acceptance.

I have come to the conclusion that much as I love my Japanese hand saw for cutting, I may need to make an upgrade from a hand drill to a drill press. The worst part is that after letting two woodworking ground balls travel through my legs, I am anxious to try again. So obviously I will need to build another bench of some sort. Of course next time, I will use a drill press to drill the holes.

If I were in acceptance I would write a good transition to this paragraph, but I am still too depressed so I will just carry on without any thought to the rhythm or style of this piece. Also, figure skating pisses me off! But I digress. This has really gotten under my skin, both the figure skating and the drilling debacle. I can tell that it has even affected my writing as this post is neither funny nor entertaining. In fact, I would say it is, sad, and boring. It is difficult to write when one is dealing with stage four of a woodworking funk. I wish I had a
cookie.

Since I don’t have a cookie, I will ask for your help in reaching acceptance. To get there I think I need to have a solid plan for buying a drill press. So the question of the day, which I haven’t asked in over a month, is this, what would you, the reader, recommend as a good quality drill press?

I have looked at the Delta DP 300L 12 Twin Laser Crosshair Drill Press and it seems good, but there are a lot of ones to choose from. Any help would be greatly appreicated.

-- Brian Meeks, http://extremelyaverage.com



28 comments so far

View GregD's profile

GregD

637 posts in 1884 days


#1 posted 02-16-2010 05:19 AM

My first major woodworking tool purchases were, in order, a table saw, a plunge router, and a drill press. I got what was at the time (15-ish years ago) the standard 16” floor standing Delta. A friend recently started getting into woodworking and my advice to get a drill press – any drill press – worked for him:
http://lumberjocks.com/mhawkins2/blog/6834
Much of the time I use the drill press to drill a straight hole through a scrap that I then use as a guide for my hand (electric) drill. With practice I have gotten better at drilling straight holes; sometimes I use a small block of wood with a straight corner to line up the bit. Still, I assume the hole will be off at least a bit if I don’t use the drill press or a guide. More than once I’ve glued a dowel in a poorly oriented hole and tried again!

-- Greg D.

View patron's profile

patron

13170 posts in 2088 days


#2 posted 02-16-2010 05:23 AM

a small trick for the hand drill ,

get a small mirror ,
just the glass , 2”x4” or so ,
and lay it next to the drill bit ,
and looking down the bit ,
if it’s not straight ( 90 DEG. , in all directions ) ,
you will see it bent .
just like a hand saw .

as far as a drill press ,
most are reasonable ,
in the 4” range ,
unless you plan on doing machining .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Ecocandle's profile

Ecocandle

1013 posts in 1813 days


#3 posted 02-16-2010 05:25 AM

I don’t know what “reasonable in the 4” range” means.

-- Brian Meeks, http://extremelyaverage.com

View Chelios's profile

Chelios

567 posts in 1813 days


#4 posted 02-16-2010 05:32 AM

Befor you spend a bunch of cash on a drill press….try buying one of those bit centering kits that you use for doweling. You will spend 20 bucks and you can drill straight. It is basically a clamp with guiding bushings that wont allow the bit to go at an angle other than 90. Also is that treated wood? You probably don’t want to be sanding/cutting/breathing treated wood.

take care

View Ecocandle's profile

Ecocandle

1013 posts in 1813 days


#5 posted 02-16-2010 05:35 AM

I don’t think it is treated wood. I do wear a dust mask and have my Jet Air cleaner running at full blast, just to be safe. He asked if I wanted treated wood and I said no.

-- Brian Meeks, http://extremelyaverage.com

View Don's profile

Don

514 posts in 1820 days


#6 posted 02-16-2010 06:26 AM

The green color of the lumber really looks like pressure treated wood.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View Ecocandle's profile

Ecocandle

1013 posts in 1813 days


#7 posted 02-16-2010 06:28 AM

Maybe it is. I honestly don’t know. I am not sure I really understand what pressure treated wood is. I thought it was just green, because it was ‘green’. Wood still confuses me.

-- Brian Meeks, http://extremelyaverage.com

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1856 days


#8 posted 02-16-2010 06:42 AM

Here are a few ideas that might help you out Brian.

1. One way of keeping a drill bit relatively straight is to use a sacrificial drill guide. If you notch a scrap piece of wood and clamp it to the piece you are drilling, the crevice can help keep the drill bit straight enough until you have a deep enough hole that the hole itself will guide you. Please excuse the crappy photo, but wanted something quick to give you an idea.

sacrificial drill guide

2. There are 3rd party drill guides available in which you attach your drill and it will plunge into the workpiece and give you a relatively straight hole. Here is an example of such a guide.

3. What was already mentioned was a doweling jig. These are used to make dowel holes but also can be used as drill guides. They guide the drill bit and keep it from wavering. Example of such a device is here.

Options 1 and 2 you might want to become familiar with because there will be times when you will be drilling in something so large you will not be able to use the drill press, if you decide to purchase one.

I believe what David meant by the 4 inch range was the stroke of the drill press, or the drill depth it can handle. Benchtops usually have 2.5 -3.5 inch strokes. It varies. Stand alone drill presses have a much deeper stroke.

Hope this helps. And please keep one thing in mind. The reason why Jigs, attachments, precision tools exist is because most of us suck. If we didn’t, there would not be a market. So if you see a jig out there, it is because so many people sucked that someone had to invent an easier way to do it.

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Ecocandle's profile

Ecocandle

1013 posts in 1813 days


#9 posted 02-16-2010 06:44 AM

David,

That was very helpful. Perhaps I should try some of those ideas out before I make a benchtop or stand alone decision.

Thanks,

Brian

-- Brian Meeks, http://extremelyaverage.com

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 2633 days


#10 posted 02-16-2010 06:50 AM

Brian,
I have a couple “floor” Grizzly power tools and have had no problems with any of them so they come with my recommendation. They are the G0572 Hanging Air Filter w/Remote, G7944 drill press, G0452 6” jointer, and am seriously looking at a G0513 17” Bandsaw – 2 HP.
My Stepson Steve and I both purchased Grizzly G7944 drill presses almost 3 years ago and we both love
them. http://www.grizzly.com/products/12-Speed-Heavy-Duty-14-Floor-Drill-Press/G7944

If you are looking for a bench drill press the G7943 is the same press with a shorter main column. http://www.grizzly.com/products/12-Speed-Heavy-Duty-Bench-Top-Drill-Press/G7943

Grizzly G7944 drill press
Specifications:
•Motor: 3/4 H.P., single-phase, 110V
•Overall height: 64”
•Spindle travel: 3-1/4”
•Number of speeds: 12
•Drill chuck: 1/8”-5/8”
•Spindle taper: MT #2
•Range of speeds: 140, 260, 320, 380, 480, 540, 980, 1160, 1510, 1650, 2180, 3050 RPM
•Swing: 14”
•Drilling capacity: 3/4” steel
•Table: Precision ground cast iron
•Table size: 11-3/8” sq.
•Table swing: 360°
•Table tilts: 90° in both directions
•Approx. shipping weight: 172 lbs.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Don's profile

Don

514 posts in 1820 days


#11 posted 02-16-2010 07:13 AM

Brian, pressure treated wood is wood that has been injected with chemical preservatives under pressure. It’s great if you want to build a deck or something else for outside that’ll take a long time to rot. Treated lumber is the only lumber I’ve ever seen that was that green other than some really expensive exotic stuff from South America.

I can’t reccomend a good drill press because I don’t have one myself. I do have one of the drill attachments that David mentioned and they actually work pretty good for what they cost. Definately don’t buy a cheap desktop model drill press. I’ve got one from Porter Cable that cost me about $100 and it’s high on my list of regrets. My drill attachment works just as well for most stuff. I’ve had great experience with other Grizzly tools and plan to buy one of their drill presses sometime this year.

-- Don - I wood work if I could. Redmond WA.

View OutPutter's profile

OutPutter

1198 posts in 2738 days


#12 posted 02-16-2010 08:27 AM

Brian, I know you’re not in the best frame of mind perhaps and I don’t want to get your hopes up but, I’m not convinced your holes are inadequate to the task yet. I can’t see from the pictures what you were trying to drill. Can you post something that illustrates better what you were trying to do and how your result failed to work? The reason I say all this is that when I first started learning woodworking, I didn’t know much about how to screw up (like glue up but with screws) two pieces of wood. I didn’t know I didn’t know either until I ran across an article that showed how to do it properly. For example, the hole in the piece of wood that is being attached to the other piece of wood should be large enough for the screw to fit through without the threads engaging the first piece of wood. Anyway, it may be that accuracy is not as important in the first place.

-- Jim

View Ecocandle's profile

Ecocandle

1013 posts in 1813 days


#13 posted 02-16-2010 08:29 AM

Outputter,

Because I am using the same methodology that I used in the Workbench, I know the importance of the holes on each leg being aligned. If it is off, it makes assembly difficult. I will fix it. Worry not.

Brian

-- Brian Meeks, http://extremelyaverage.com

View OutPutter's profile

OutPutter

1198 posts in 2738 days


#14 posted 02-16-2010 09:10 AM

Looked back at the workbench videos on FWW and maybe I see what you’re doing. If you were drilling the holes for the threaded rods, you won’t have much trouble with the fix. The exit hole will be hidden anyway. If you got the dowel center punch thingies like in the video, you may be able to use them to mark the exit holes and drill from both sides of the 4×4s until the holes meet. Just a suggestion.

-- Jim

View stefang's profile

stefang

13633 posts in 2082 days


#15 posted 02-16-2010 01:16 PM

You have gotten plenty of good advice here Brian. I would only add that if you are willing to make the outlay for a drill press, then I would do it. There are many things a drill press can do, not the least to drill not only perfect 90 degree holes, but also a lot of angled holes. Its a great machine to use for mortising (drill first, chisel to complete) It can also be used for drum sanding, and even planing for smaller projects if you buy a rotary planer accessory. I sure there are lots of other uses too that I haven’t thought of right off hand. I first bought an inexpensive table model DP which was ok, but frustrating due to lack of capacity. I love my floor model DP. It doesn’t take up much space and it was worth every penny.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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