Some years ago I cobbled together a 2.25” thick steambending
jig table of floor sheathing and drilled the hole pattern as
suggested by Michael Fortune in his FWW article about
steambending jigs, using a pair of nested wood sleaves
to plunge a hand drill at 90 degrees through the layers.
That table was destroyed partially by exposure to rain and
it’s demise finalized when a tree fell over on it. I was
occupied with cabinetmaking at the time and not
Now I’ve got the need to bend chair parts and I set out
to build a 4’x-5’ x 3” thick bending table with hardwood
ply layers on the outside and floor sheathing inside.
Actually I just used some scraps and some weather
damaged veneer core cabinet ply for the outside layers.
I laminated the thing up as suggested by Fortune using
screws to hold each layer to the previous layer while
the glue dried, then removing the screws.
The next problem was the drill. Having done it before on
my smaller and thinner early table build I looked around
for the drill jig but could not find it. Not relishing the
idea of pushing a 7/8” spade bit through 540” of holes
I decided to modify my little drill press for the job.
Taking the drill press apart is easy. I have a boneyard
of metal junk, but not 2.5” pipe so I resolved to
turn the ends of a piece of wood to fit and try to
work it out from there.
As you can see, the wood post benefits from some
extra support. The whole thing does flex a bit in
drilling, but I bear down on it with my weight and
operate the quill levers, letting up now and then
as the drill cuts the various densities of wood in
the table and the holes are coming out pretty
well and I think within tolerances.
My drill press has little laser guides which I learned
to tweak today to line up more exactly than they