who needs a drill press table?

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Forum topic by HokieMojo posted 02-19-2010 09:06 PM 1957 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2104 posts in 3756 days

02-19-2010 09:06 PM

I’m seriously wondering who needs one. As far as I can tell, the short answer is that anyone who doesn’t want to mar their work by putting it on the metal table, or anyone that makes lots of cuts and wants to be able to clamp their work quickly. To me, this doesn’t sound like building a table is a great use of one’s time.

That being said, I’m 99.9% certain that I’m missing something since everyone that uses a DP seems to have an auxiliary table. Could you guys enlighten me as to why I should make one for my benchtop DP? If I were to build one, what features are important? Any recommendations for me to do research on my own? I’ve found lots of free plans but they don’t talk much about what makes them better than another (or better than a quick clamp applied to my default metal table).
Thanks guys!

7 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4247 days

#1 posted 02-19-2010 09:14 PM

Hokie, I have a benchtop drill press also, and I just don’t see a table being a great asset either.

Having said that, I think a full-sized drill press would be a different story. I could see myself doing more types of operations with a more powerful machine, and a bigger table to support bulkier workpieces would come in handy.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Kent Shepherd's profile

Kent Shepherd

2718 posts in 3315 days

#2 posted 02-19-2010 09:22 PM

I used a drill press for years without one. I have now used one for about 2 years. I would not go back to using my drill press without a table . The thing I like best is the ease of setting the fence. I agree also about not marking work. As far as work hold down, my table has a larger capacity than the metal table on the drill press, so it is easier to clamp larger pieces, or even support them. I had a vice grip type hold down clamp before. It was a little awkward, and limited the size of work it would clamp.

So obviously, I vote for an axillary table, but I do have a floor model drill press.


View Jeison's profile


968 posts in 3136 days

#3 posted 02-19-2010 09:25 PM

The main reasons to make one are to give yourself a larger stable surface for your workpiece, to be able to add hold-downs to keep the piece from shifting, a fence to keep it aligned while your moving it to make multiple plunges and such.

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View TheDane's profile


5448 posts in 3691 days

#4 posted 02-19-2010 09:36 PM

I, too , have a bench-top drill press with an auxiliary table … wouldn’t have it another way.

I built mine from scraps about 3 years ago.

My table gives me a 14” x 24” masonite work surface with a fence and T-tracks. Plus, I have replaceable top inserts, so I can drill through a work-piece without blowing out the grain and without fear of damaging my brad-point bits. With the insert removed, I can use it with a drum sander.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View spaids's profile


699 posts in 3722 days

#5 posted 02-19-2010 09:52 PM

I have a drill press table not for the surface or for the clamping but for the fence. If I want holes in a piece of wood in a repeatable and reliable location, I have to have a fence. I then know that all the holes I am able to drill are that set distance from the edge of my work piece. I can also clamp some kind of stop block the the fence for even more alignment accuracy. The fence is just SUPER handy. I also have a removable piece of wood under the bit so I can drill into it and have very good support for the bit when it comes out the other side of the work piece. I get holes with nice clean back sides. ( HA HA “nice clean back side”) No blow out. And my table was FREE (scrap ply) Its ugly but it works great. I consider my drill press PRE table a useless piece of junk when compared to my drill press POST table. Threre’s 2 cents for ya.

Click for details

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View Alan S's profile

Alan S

181 posts in 3346 days

#6 posted 02-19-2010 10:31 PM

I don’t have a DP table, and a few weeks ago a workpiece I was drilling got grabbed and spun at 3000 RPM (way too high a speed, but that’s another story). It did a number on a couple of my fingers and my thumbnail. After nursing my injury for a few days, I clamped my workpiece down with a couple bar clamps and drilled what I needed to without incident. Maybe with a DP table and some convenient hold-downs I wouldn’t have injured myself in the first place.


View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 3410 days

#7 posted 02-20-2010 12:09 AM

I have the Woodpecker's dpt, bought back when I was young and carefree, and had some excess money :)

I’m mostly mirroring things said, but I find it crucial to have more surface area as I often find I’m drilling larger, awkward things, though I suppose some infeed/outfeed support stands would work fine here, at the expense of some setup and breakdown time. What I really love is the T tracks built in and the fence that slides in and screws with thumb screws to it. There are laser etched rulers on each of these, but I find them to be entirely useless. I don’t even try to use them. What I’ll do is make a measurement on the first of a stack of pieces that need to be drilled at some distance from the edge, loosen the fence, slide it until I can line up that point with a sharp point in the drill press, even plunging and locking the height of the drill to stab that point and hold the wood in that pivot. Then I’ll bring the fence up until it’s flush, which also spins the part into alignment, lock down the fence, then unlock the spindle. Now I can always drill that distance, and it was super fast to set up. I have 2 flip stops for the fence which can be flipped up out of the way entirely, or flipped down to become accurate stops along the fence. I had a stack of small boards in which I needed to drill 2 holes at the same distance from the edge, so I just set up the stops and could flip them up and down to rapidly drill both holes in each board. It felt like an assembly line. The hold downs that fit in the T slots have let me hold hard stuff to the table so I could drill with more aggressive bits safely and accurately. Also, I have toggle clamps for the fence that let me slide a board up to the fence, flip them down to clamp the piece, drill, flip them up, and repeat for a big stack of boards.

So that’s it in a nutshell. It lets me setup for holes rapidly, keep accuracy from one edge, which is often a necessity (e.g. hinge holes in opposing faces), or from two edges with the stops, and the surface is a dimpled laminate that is very easy to slide wood along, and it doesn’t mar or mark the surface at all. It’s nice and clean, like a laminated counter top.

Oh, one more thing – it has a recess in it for sacrificial wood. It’s something like 3”x3”x1/2” deep, so very easy to crank out new inserts in any wood you want. I made a handful one day out of MDF. This lets you drill more tearout-free holes. I even used a hole cutter in one to make a hole big enough to just fit a sanding drum bit, put that in the spindle, lowered it into the hole a little bit, locked the spindle height, and used it as a little spindle-sander. I can drop that insert in whenever I want to spindle sand, and it’s easy to make more for my other drum sanding bit sizes. I also used the fence as a back stop to accurately create an offset auxiliary fence for pseudo-jointing board edges.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

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