Hole Drill Size and Drill Press

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Forum topic by Redoak49 posted 03-22-2017 12:42 AM 506 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3076 posts in 1895 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


3153 posts in 3137 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 3275 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


4011 posts in 2173 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 Rick_M's profile


11117 posts in 2286 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.


View oldnovice's profile


6550 posts in 3274 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 (online now)


4623 posts in 1045 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


337 posts in 1140 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


1327 posts in 826 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


4608 posts in 2257 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


2654 posts in 1931 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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