|Review by VanLewis||posted 06-22-2010 06:40 AM||4536 views||0 times favorited||5 comments|
I just moved my shop and got some more floor space, so I went shopping for a bigger drill press. I had basically two criteria: it had to be strong enough to handle timbers, and it had to have a long enough quill-stroke to get to the middle of those timbers. I do some timber framing and some very heavy furniture work, so the usual 14” press wouldn’t really work for me. I discovered that most presses, even 17” presses, have very short stroke, usually 3-4”. This means that you can’t even get to the middle of many of the timbers I work with. I bought the General because it was the only one I could find with a 6” stroke. It was easy to set up, even though I was alone, and everything was good enough for woodworking as soon as I wiped off the shipping grease. After drilling 1,000 holes for a cabinet job [boring afternoon…maybe I’ll move it in front of the window next time], I checked bit runout with a vertical guage, and found it about .003” in 2”: not good enough for machining, but better than you’ll ever need for even the finest woodwork. THe castings are heavy and flat, the machining is of the old-fashioned battleship variety. There are few plastic parts [even the lid is steel]. The Lexan bit-guard arrived cracked, but I don’t need it. It came with a laser guide, which is nice, but I almost always align wood to a stop, so visual guiding shouldn’t be necessary. I like this old Canadian company, and rely on my General mortiser, and I am happy to have this big new press. The table is pretty small, and not very well-milled. I added a Rockler drill-press table with fence, which improves woodshop usability.
I recommend it unless you are milling metal, in which case you’ll neeed something more refined.