Drill Press Station

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Project by Alfetta159 posted 05-19-2014 05:58 PM 2224 views 12 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When my father gave me his old shop equipment after he retired from woodworking, two of the pieces that impressed me the most were a table saw that had been mounted onto a rolling cabinet complete with drawers and a dust receptacle and a router bench again full of drawers and cupboards. To me, they represented workstations where just about everything regarding a particular type of shop work could be kept and moved where needed. Another piece that my father had given me was a bench-top drill-press. It’s a helpful tool in the shop, but it needed a place to stay. Sure, I could put it on the bench, but when I needed the entire bench surface, where could I put it? It’s certainly too tall for most shelves. While looking around on the web, I noticed a photo of a cabinet that had a similar drill-press mounted on top, and I realized that was exactly what I needed, a roll-around tool chest suitable for mounting the drill-press and lots of drawers for storing not only the accessories that I needed for the drill press but all my drills and drivers as well as barrel sanders, anything that spins around in a chuck or makes a hole. At this point, I had run across some other ideas for what I now dubbed the drill-press station. This included techniques to store bits and other accessories and a drill-press table that included a fence. Along with another modified plan from the good people at Woodsmith, I decided to approach this project in three phases.

The cabinet:

The cabinet is based on a plan from Woodsmith. It’s a roll around shop cart that is intended for general help and particularly outfeed support. I chose this one because the drawers were oriented on the wide face, and I wanted the drill-press to be oriented similarly as the drill press table will be just a bit wider. The modifications that I made included stretching the case so that it was 6 inches taller, dropping the outfeed supports completely, and including five drawers of various heights instead of just two including a special drawer at the bottom which I’ll elaborate upon during the third phase. The case comes together with some 3/4” MDF and some douglas fir 2×4’s as well as some pine boards used as cleats. I admit that during assembly, I forgot to cut a narrow dado in the back panel used to support the bottom panel as well as the rabbets in the bottom panel creating the tongues intended to mate with the grooves, but I improvised with biscuits, and everything came together just fine. I set it all down on my favorite double locking casters from Lee Valley Hardware. When it came to the top four drawers, I followed the plan using the locking rabbet technique as the drawer fronts were as tall as the rest of the drawer case. One difference was using full 3/4” stock instead of planing it down to a half inch. I could have done better to make sure that I had the changes to the dimensions worked out before assembly. For the bottom drawer, I created a short case using dovetail joinery for strength and a false front that is much higher than the case because while the drawer is only about four inches deep, I was planning on holding items that were significantly taller. All the drawers were mounted on 18” metal ball-bearing extensions, and the drawer bottoms were lined with cork. In retrospect, I would consider using 2×6 caster plates so that I could have oriented the fixed casters to roll along the axis of the narrow side of the cabinet. Also, Woodsmith recommends a technique where a piece of plywood or MDF is used to mount the fixed drawer extensions level and even in the cabinet. I didn’t do this, and it made mounting the drawers much more difficult than it needed to be and turned out a bit sloppy. I now know that on future plans, especially furniture, I’m going to use that technique when needed. But that’s not to say that I couldn’t just remount these drawers using that technique someday, so all is not lost.

The table:

The table is another Woodsmith plan called Drill Press Table and Fence. I built mine pretty much to the specification of the plan. I made the flange bolt dadoes in the plywood base only 9/16” as the long width the flange bolt head was 5/8” and the short width was ½” and I didn’t want by bolt heads to spin when the knobs are tightened or the bolts to bind when I moved the fence. I used ¼” MDF for the top, and I gathered up all of the scraps of similar MDF and cut almost a dozen insert pieces, so I should be good for a while. The table was fairly straight forward and came together very well.

The storage:

Phase three involved that odd drawer at the bottom. I used my inspiration for this phase from yet another plan from Woodsmith called Drill Bit Storage. The idea in the plan was to create drill indexes and similarly sized and constructed bins that can hold other types of indexes all of which would hang from a cleat fabricated from ¾” board and an aluminum, L-shaped extrusion. I rather liked the modular storage, but I didn’t care to hang it on the wall. After all, my drill press station was mobile, and I wanted everything in to be kept in the drawers so I created that bottom drawer with the aluminum extrusions on the edges of the case, a case high enough to place the hanging bins from the extrusions but short enough to make sure the bins sat on the floor of the drawer and a false front high enough so that I could store longer bits like spade bits upright in the bindexes as I now call them. The only real modification that I made to my bindexes is that I didn’t use a drawer pull in front. Instead, I extended the front face of the bindexes so that there is a small ear with concentric spotfaces on each side for my thumb and forefinger. I positioned these ears offset on one side and the same side on all of them, so when they are placed in the drawer five to a side, the ears line up offset and I can grab one or the other easily. While I used some half inch stock that I had rescued from a wood pile, I ended up using half and quarter in plywood for most of the construction.

Overall, I’m really thrilled to get this project complete. It has already started to free up a lot of space on various shelves and drawers in other cabinets bring everything about drills and drilling together. There is a tremendous amount of storage space, but I intend to put everything about spinning chucks in this cabinet including hand-held drills, battery powered drill/drivers, and Dremel tools as well. I’m not sure that I’m completely satisfied with the hanging bindexes. They seem versatile, but somewhat inefficient. I didn’t want to use the giant board at the bottom of the drawer that has dozens of holes for various bits as the bindex approach allows you to pull all of the items from a set of bits out of the drawer at once, but the design necessary to make it hang from the wall and in this case stay upright in the drawer might not be the best choice here. So I think I have something else in mind.

See the full gallery here.


8 comments so far

View English's profile


342 posts in 360 days

#1 posted 05-19-2014 09:21 PM

Nice looking work station, Well Done!!

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

View NiteWalker's profile


2710 posts in 1460 days

#2 posted 05-20-2014 12:11 AM

Excellent job!
Added to faves. :-)

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

View J Azuma's profile

J Azuma

30 posts in 365 days

#3 posted 05-20-2014 04:36 AM

Very Nice. I love the bottom drawer.

-- J Azuma

View Bobito9's profile


5 posts in 354 days

#4 posted 05-20-2014 02:17 PM

Well done!

I especially like the Makita 6095. Reminds me of my childhood, working on the floor of my dad’s shop!

-- Bobby

View helluvawreck's profile


17024 posts in 1749 days

#5 posted 05-20-2014 02:19 PM

This is a nice design and well done. It will make a wonderful addition to your shop.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Alfetta159's profile


14 posts in 356 days

#6 posted 05-20-2014 03:38 PM

Thanks, everyone.

@Bobito9: I’m not sure whether to be embarrassed or proud of that old Makita. It’s so old, it still uses a chuck key. But it keeps going, so what the heck. It’s certainly not the oldest tool in the shop that I still use.


View whitebeast88's profile


3752 posts in 1073 days

#7 posted 05-20-2014 07:36 PM

very nice,excellent cart.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View Bobito9's profile


5 posts in 354 days

#8 posted 05-21-2014 02:25 PM

Take it as a compliment, you have a good choice of tools.

-- Bobby

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