Drill Press vs. Bridge City DJ-1

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Forum topic by mrpedal posted 02-03-2012 09:11 PM 4634 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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30 posts in 2565 days

02-03-2012 09:11 PM

Topic tags/keywords: bridge city dj-1 drill press question

It all started with a picture of a shit bunny.

Laughed a bit, then looked at the rest of the bridge city tool site. I was blown away… that someone one upped Festool in the price/precision niche. Heck, bridge city might be “Festool: Unplugged”.

ANYWAY… incredulous, I was sending youtube videos of their stuff over IM to my sig other, and she wrote back more or less asked “why whould you get a drill press instead of that? It’s smaller, quieter, and fits in a drawer”. Before I started comming up with lots of stuff and replying, I shutup. I have a 1 car garage shop… that the 1 car parks in. Everything is tucked away. There is probably room for one more standing machine, and I’m thinking band saw over drill press.

Could this be a way to sneak in drill press functionality? How much am I losing vs a dedicated benchtop (again, can’t be a big floor model) press costing < $450 bucks (price of dj-1) ?

here’s video of the drill jig:

disclaimers section:
- I own a couple festools, and while I hate the price, use the shit outa them.
- really hoping to get a pro/con list going, not start a money vs skill class riot. Even when I have a only penny to my name I will still have more money that woodworking skills compared to the stuff I see on this site :)

5 replies so far

View Rutager's profile


27 posts in 2330 days

#1 posted 02-04-2012 04:29 PM


I’ve had a DJ-1 since they were first introduced and just placed an order for a second one so I can use one in the standard dress and the other with the accessory jaws without changing things around. yes, they are fairly expensive; who cares really, we all spend lots of money on all sorts of stuff that we don’t have to have, so call the price a con if you want, but I’m going to place that in some other category.

Lot’s of pros: Accuracy is number one, it uses a stainless steel cable and pulley mechanism similar in concept to old drafting tables to insure that the tool centers perfectly- takes a fair bit of fussing and trial and error to get dead center on a drill press- DJ-1 just place on the board and clamp. The tool uses drill bushings which makes it damn near impossible for the bit to veer off course or flex. Size is another great benefit, I replaced a Walker Turner radial ram drill press with this thing and got a huge amount of space back in my tiny shop. Speaking of size, drilling into the end of long stock doesn’t work on most drill presses, but you could put an accurate hole into the top of a telephone pole if you needed to. Another thing that sets the tool apart from a press is in creative type drilling; there are many accessories available to drill curved stock, not to mention drilling into corners of stock or into centers of dowels.

Now for the cons: If you use lots of sizes of bits, you’ll need a bushing for each one (most bushings are about $12, but special order ones can get expensive). Large bits can be a challenge, it can be done, but you’ll need to run the shaft of the forstner bit in a bushing and have the cutting edge hanging below- most forstners aren’t sized on the shanks to any regular size, I have found that the Famag Bormax bits sold at Woodcraft run nicely in metric size bushings which are readily available.

I’ll wrap up by saying that I’m a big fan of the Bridge City Tools and when they announced the DJ-1, I thought that it was nice, but I don’t drill all that much on my press, so I didn’t think it would get much use, but what I quickly discovered was that instead of using the press, I was just grabbing my cordless drill to avoid the hassles of setting the press up and then getting less than accurate results, now I use the DJ-1 a lot and the holes are perfect and true.


View mrpedal's profile


30 posts in 2565 days

#2 posted 02-04-2012 06:12 PM

Great, that’s exactly the kind of pro/con stuff I was looking for. Thank you very much. I googled around a bit, and found bushings cheaper (not calculating shipping), but they were ten bucks each unless you bought like 100. Not much savings at all.

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2953 days

#3 posted 02-04-2012 06:25 PM

I use quite a few BC tools in my shop, some for close to 20 years. Also enjoy the Festool products, can’t go wrong with either.

I look at it exactly like Rutager does, we spend money on other things that aren’t important, why not spend it on better tools?

I don’t have this DJ-1, but it should be an asset in any shop!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3361 days

#4 posted 02-04-2012 06:29 PM

This does looks like a fantastic and very accurate tool, but I if I had to choose, I think I would stick with my drill press. Remember, it has a motor and chuck, so a lot of different rotary tools can be used with it. I use my drill press a lot and once set up I can do multiples very quickly. I like having that flexibility. The set-up for Forstner bits looked a bit clunky too, and I use them a lot. Good luck with whatever you choose. It is nice to have alternatives, especially when your space is limited.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Rutager's profile


27 posts in 2330 days

#5 posted 02-05-2012 01:12 AM


You’re right about doing multiples; the drill press will be a faster choice. They recently made an accessory jaw package available that makes using forstners much easier then just using the original jaws.


The set up charge is pretty expensive for custom sizes and I can’t figure out the rhyme or reason behind what sizes are custom, must be certain sizes are common for machinist. I know a couple other people with the DJ-1 and if I need an odd size, I’ll check with them first, even splitting the set up fee between 3 guys makes a huge difference.

Just to drive home the point of accuracy; I needed to drill a 1/4” hole 5” deep through the edge of 1/2” ply, my bit would only go 3”, so I drilled from both sides and it was perfect, I know I couldn’t have done that on my press on the first try.


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