How to convert your drill press into a woodworking-friendly tool.

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Project by Brad posted 11-21-2012 04:05 AM 5853 views 23 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

“Now what?”

That’s what I asked myself after buying a $25.00 drill press at an estate sale and tuning it up. You can read about that adventure here.

The “what” as it turns out, was to make it woodworking-friendly by building and affixing a drill press table. Let’s face it. While the metal circular shelf might be great for metal working, it’s crap for delivering the precision us woodworkers require.

So after some research I created a list of criterion that my table had to meet:

• Hold stock securely for mortising and drilling
• Able to angle with bed
• Large enough to complete most tasks easily
• Pleasing appearance
• Replaceable insert
• Adjustable fence with slotted grooves top and bottom to secure stops and holddowns

That said, I settled on this design.

I tweaked the design by eschewing slot tracks that formed a square, and going with two tracks perpendicular to the front and back.

As an aside. Can I ask you a personal question? When was the last time you saw the word “eschewing” in a woodworking article?

The fence I made from a reclaimed oak 2” x 4” that I picked up for free at a Fort Collins, CO warehouse shipping dock advertised on Craig’s List. The base is ¾” plywood with oak banding around the edges. I eased the sharp edges with a roundover bit on the router table.

The t-slot hardware I got from Lee Valley because it was inexpensive. The hold-down hardware I got from Rockler on sale.

The stop blocks I made out of scraps.

The insert, I made out of 3/8” plywood.

Using it
First things first. Here’s the final build.

As careful I was in my planing and squaring the fence, it still requires me to tweak it a bit when I put it under tension. Meaning that things can go slightly out of square. This is a case where working the fence on a power jointer would have paid dividends.

Still, the fence is functional and, so far, has met all my needs.

You’ll note that the top of my fence has a slot but no t-slot track. I cut the slot in anticipation of purchasing the t-slot track later (wanted to minimize costs on the initial build). Frankly, I haven’t felt a need for it so I’ll go without for now.

I also had to cut out a bit of table to allow the table adjustment handle to move freely.


-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

12 comments so far

View DIYaholic's profile


19647 posts in 2795 days

#1 posted 11-21-2012 04:35 AM

I can’t say that I remember see the word “eschewing” in a woodworking article!

I do however, need a DP table! I also need a router table, cross cut sled, a miter sled, a pline jig….....

Thanks for the reminder.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Dave's profile


11429 posts in 2960 days

#2 posted 11-21-2012 05:10 AM

Now thats a great table. Way to go!

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View GrandpaLen's profile


1651 posts in 2393 days

#3 posted 11-21-2012 11:32 AM


All eschewing aside, that looks like a very user friendly table.

Work Safely and have Fun. – Grandpa Len.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View jap's profile


1251 posts in 2174 days

#4 posted 11-21-2012 01:18 PM

great job

-- Joel

View EarlS's profile


1529 posts in 2468 days

#5 posted 11-21-2012 02:48 PM

eschew – gazuntite. Do you need a tissue? As for the woodworking – nice build and low cost. It looks very sturdy which reminds me that I need to build a drill press table since the one I bought is flimsy and small.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View ybotyawnoc's profile


78 posts in 2191 days

#6 posted 11-21-2012 05:51 PM

This is really good, I need to make one myself

View BigDaddio's profile


19 posts in 3555 days

#7 posted 11-21-2012 06:30 PM

I think I may be motivated to finish mine now. I purchased a piece of Baltic ply clad in laminate for the table and every now and then look over and put it on my mental list. I also have the track and such. How many times do we do that? Buy stuff for a project we want to build but get side tracked by other shiny objects?

View Ken90712's profile


17570 posts in 3309 days

#8 posted 11-21-2012 06:58 PM

well done, Should serve you well.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View dnick's profile


986 posts in 2503 days

#9 posted 11-22-2012 04:27 AM

That’s a great table. Enjoy.

-- dnick, North Hollywood, Ca.

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 2311 days

#10 posted 11-22-2012 01:18 PM

very nice.your table has inspired me to build one for my drill press.

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View Mauricio's profile


7144 posts in 3272 days

#11 posted 12-10-2012 04:06 PM

Great blog Brad, Your making me want to make one. I need to upgrade all the half aas stuf I made when I was starting out in Woodworking. lol.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View bobasaurus's profile


3530 posts in 3304 days

#12 posted 12-26-2012 04:42 PM

I need to make a similar setup for my drill press. Thanks for sharing your version.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

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