Making a mortise with an old drill press.
I have said before that an old rickety drill press is better than no drill press at all. In the photo above, I am using my Dad’s old Craftsman bench top drill press to do some deep mortising.
This drill press shakes worse than a wet dog; it shakes so much I feel like I need to call someone to help me keep everything in place. I am doing some mild exaggeration here, but in the photo above I am using several clamps while drilling some mortises. The clamps keep things secure while the drill press vibrates away. Old and rickety, but it still does the job (a new drill press will be my next power tool purchase).
I have heard recently two different podcasts which discuss high profile woodworkers who don’t have the latest and greatest table saw, or hand tool. Either old tools are being used or very rudimentary processes are being employed to make excellent furniture. I used to hide the fact that the drill press I use is so humble and old, but no longer. :)
The goal: fabricate the parts highlighted in blue and attach them and the casters to the router table.
As I work on the base for my router table, I need to make a number of mortise and tenon joints. I recently watched a really good video at FWW.com which shows Gregory Paolini using a plunge router to make a quick mortise. I also have seen Chris Schwarz using a drill press to create a dovetail joint (I love the large photo at the top of Chris’ post).
For my mortises, I had originally thought to make them using my router table – plunging stock onto a 1/4 inch spiral bit, but I need to make a 3/4 inch wide mortise 1 1/2 inch deep. The drill press is better suited for this and I happen to have a 3/4 inch forstner bit, so the drill press won out.
After using the drill press to remove most of the stock, I still needed to square up the mortises and cut the corresponding tenons. This involved work with some chisels and my block plane. Since I am very much a novice at this, fitting the tenons to the mortises took some time, but it only got a little tiresome. I’ll get faster at this with more practice.
Note above on the four sheet rock screws – these attach the base to the inside of the cabinet.
Time to add paint to the face frame and touch up some paint where I used the sander earlier in the build process. Again, the combination of high quality paint and a good quality brush make this process a lot of fun.
At this point, I need to add the dust port to the back; a step which would have been a lot easier if I had cut the hole for the port prior to gluing the back in place. But I think I have a good, but slightly complex method for doing this. It will involve my router and a pattern cutting bit. I am trying to resist buying a hole saw kit which I would not use very often. I will then begin working on the top which signals I am more than half way through this build. Stay tuned…
Thanks for reading – Jeff