Hole Drill Size and Drill Press

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Forum topic by Redoak49 posted 03-22-2017 12:42 AM 635 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3661 posts in 2187 days

03-22-2017 12:42 AM

Topic tags/keywords: drill press

I have a Jet floor drill press with a 3/4 hp motor. I want to use a large hole drill to cut 4” circles from 3/4” plywood.

Is this too much for the drill press? I would use a fairly low speed and secure the plywood. I need to do about 20 or a few more.

Of course, I could also cut them on the band saw but would have to spend more time turning and cleaning up.

10 replies so far

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 3429 days

#1 posted 03-22-2017 12:53 AM

Mine is a 3/4 hp motor. I have drilled 5 inch holes in plywood. Saying that, go slow because it can bog the motor down if you try to feed to fast.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3567 days

#2 posted 03-22-2017 12:53 AM

You wont have any problems, just don’t get too aggressive with the hole saw. make sure you have a clean backer board to prevent tearout by the hole saw. I recently cut 12, 5” pieces the same way on my Delta.

View ralbuck's profile


5385 posts in 2465 days

#3 posted 03-22-2017 01:48 AM

I have cut 5 inch holes in 2 by stock with a cheap bench top drill presses. I do wax the saw as a lube—just old candles used on the teeth fairly often.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View Woodknack's profile


12430 posts in 2578 days

#4 posted 03-22-2017 04:22 AM

A quote from Frank Herbert’s Dune: Climb the mountain a little bit to test that it’s a mountain.
In other words, try it.

-- Rick M,

View oldnovice's profile


7321 posts in 3566 days

#5 posted 03-22-2017 05:52 AM

I have a Delta bench top DP with a 1/3hp motor and I have cut circles near that size with a fly cutter without diffuculty.
Like Rick M says ”try it”!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View HokieKen's profile


7046 posts in 1337 days

#6 posted 03-22-2017 11:34 AM

4” shouldn’t be any problem. Biggest thing is keeping chips/dust cleared to prevent binding. Like ralbuck suggests, rubbing a little wax on the cutter can help. Slow speed and go easy, back out any time it acts like it’s straining.

Another thing that helps with hole saws is to drill a 3/8 or 1/2” hole tangent to where the hole saw will be cutting. That gives sawdust somewhere to go and keeps it from getting packed in the cut.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View TheGreatJon's profile


339 posts in 1432 days

#7 posted 03-22-2017 11:57 AM

Another thing that helps with hole saws is to drill a 3/8 or 1/2” hole tangent to where the hole saw will be cutting. That gives sawdust somewhere to go and keeps it from getting packed in the cut.

- HokieKen

Pro tip! I’ll definitely have to try it next time.

-- This is not the signature line you are looking for.

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1118 days

#8 posted 03-22-2017 01:47 PM


I see two drill press options. The hole saw and the circle cutter. Since I hate hole saws and avoid them whenever I can, my preference in the drill press is the circle cutter. I am not sure, but if the bevel of the cutter could be set to the waste side, a cleaner vertical edge on the disk may result. However, some binding may result with the cutter oriented in this way.

The circle cutter makes it much easier to release the cut disk than trying to pry it from the hole saw. The circle cutter, with a ¾” workpiece, should be able to cut the disk from one side, but for the best cut, like with a hole saw, cutting half way through on one side and the finishing the cut from the other face of the workpiece may be best. On plywood, I would fear that as the circle cutter is just about to cut through the workpiece face resting on the table, some tearing of the veneer could occur. Flipping the workpiece over to finish the cut would be the solution. If the circle cutter is kept clear of pitch and resin, I would guess it will leave a cleaner edge than the hole saw with less burning.

Here is a circle cutter with the capacity to cut a 7-7/8” diameter hole.

View bondogaposis's profile (online now)


5087 posts in 2549 days

#9 posted 03-22-2017 03:05 PM

I would use a fairly low speed

Use a really, really slow speed.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View runswithscissors's profile


2892 posts in 2223 days

#10 posted 03-24-2017 04:33 AM

The slowest speed your drill press will run.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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