Corded Drill Recommendations (Update)

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Forum topic by smp928s posted 07-31-2012 03:35 AM 2509 views 0 times favorited 36 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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15 posts in 2418 days

07-31-2012 03:35 AM


I am just getting into rustic furniture making and am a novice in the field of woodworking and tools in general. I have made a bench using mortise and tenon for the legs. I cut the tenons by hand with a draw knife and I cut the mortise holes with a hole saw, which was an arduous process. I have started my second bench (first bench was poplar with ash legs, second will be all hard maple) and I have purchased a 2” self feeding saw tooth bit. I drilled my mortise holes in the second bench with a drill that is quite old that belonged to my grandfather (my father affectionately refers to it as the “man killer”). The wood was somewhat green and the drill lacks reverse. It was easier than drilling the poplar with a smaller drill and hole saw but it wasn’t easy and the bit bound up several times.

My questions is this: What specs should I be looking for in a new corded drill for using the 2” self feed bit and also keeping in mind I would like to eventually purchase a tenon cutter. Any specific drill recommendations would be excellent. I am in the process of drying several more slabs for future benches and would like to be able to speed up the process (although I enjoy doing it the old way with the draw knife and will likely cut my tenons on the current bench that way).


36 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile


1740 posts in 3006 days

#1 posted 07-31-2012 03:56 AM

1/2 inch millwalkee. Look no further.

View redryder's profile


2393 posts in 3298 days

#2 posted 07-31-2012 07:47 AM

I think most any 1/2 inch corded drill in good condition should get the job done.
It does for me….................

-- mike...............

View doughan's profile


96 posts in 2788 days

#3 posted 07-31-2012 09:33 AM

I second milwauke…for a two inch bit with self feed you should get one of their 450 rpm 1/2 heavy duty drill …look on craigs list for an old one…Mine is 27 years old and still works like it did out of the box(been so long since i bought it i don’t remember if it had a box)Ive bored 2 1/8 inch holes in about 20k doors in that time…alot of them with two holes.
The drill picured above in red ryder’ post is ok but if you are drilling 2 inch holes in hard maple you should look for one that has a screw in addition’ll have more controll

By the way cool bit for the peg end…where do you get them

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3631 days

#4 posted 07-31-2012 10:09 AM

1/2 inch Milwaukee – no contest.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2890 days

#5 posted 07-31-2012 11:11 AM

I third that millwalkee.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2873 days

#6 posted 07-31-2012 11:41 AM

I’ve (my crew) burned up a 1/2” Skill, two Porter cables, an old Makita, and a crapsman. Never owned a Ryobi or any power tool from harbor freight. Dewalt is one of my favorite brands too but they were cordless.

My old Milwaukee has never let me down. Same story with all the sawsalls I’ve owned.

Buy the best and you’ll never regret it.

a draw knife? Man, you are a purist like Underwood.

You have to post some pictures of the benches! Love to see them.

View paratrooper34's profile


915 posts in 3148 days

#7 posted 07-31-2012 11:52 AM

I have to go with most of the above – I have a 30 year old Milwaukee drill that works like new. I am going to have to replace the dry rotting cord soon. But the drill is good to go.

-- Mike

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5171 posts in 2690 days

#8 posted 07-31-2012 12:14 PM

It’s hard to imagine another make of corded drill holding up like a Milwaukee, though I’m sure there must be one somewhere. But why risk it, go with the red one (or red and black, if that’s the current color combo)..

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View smp928s's profile


15 posts in 2418 days

#9 posted 07-31-2012 12:48 PM

Wow, thanks for the quick and excellent recommendations. I will definitely be looking for a Milwaukee drill. Here are some poor photos that I took with my cell phone of the first bench I made. The wood for the bench is an interesting story. My brother and I were fishing with my nephew on a small stream in Upstate, NY and “nature called” for my brother haha. He walked over to an overgrown area and when he came back he was dragging this board with him. It was approximately 7 feet long and maybe a foot and a half wide with a big crack that was about 2’ long coming from one end in the center of the board. The board was filthy, had pole barn nails sticking out of it and it looked like it had spent its life outside. We could tell that it had washed down the stream during Irene last year. I took it back to my parent’s house who live nearby and eventually I hand planed one entire side with a Stanley #5. I was pretty sure once I exposed the wood that I had poplar due to the purple “streaks” in the wood. I cleaned up the board, removed the nails and cut a bit of the cracked end off (left part of the crack for that distressed look). The one photo shows the tenons before they were trimmed and sanded down. I finished the bench with a dark gel stain and a few coats of poly. The wood was pretty unattractive and I made some rookie mistakes after I had it mostly done (you’ll see the streaks and marks made by an electric planer I didn’t know how to use). I was going to go back over the bench with the Stanley and smooth it out but my father said “Leave it, gives it character.” Haha, I think he just wanted to see it finished. The most enjoyable part of the process was either the hand planing or shaving the ash legs with a draw knife. Those were also the most time consuming :)

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2445 days

#10 posted 07-31-2012 12:49 PM

As everyone said above, look no further than the 5.5 amp Milwaukee magnum


View smp928s's profile


15 posts in 2418 days

#11 posted 07-31-2012 02:12 PM

Looks like that Milwaukee Magnum will be the drill I ultimately buy. I am going to scour Craigslist and eBay for a deal and if not, I’ll buy one new. Thanks to everyone for giving me clear recommendations. I wish everything was this easy!

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2445 days

#12 posted 07-31-2012 02:16 PM

That thing is a deal brand new. That jacobs chuck is worth almost as much as they charge for the drill


View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2872 days

#13 posted 07-31-2012 02:40 PM

I cast another vote for the Milwaukee Magnum Hole Shooter. It is not without faults but longevity is not one of them. I don’t like the trigger. You cannot grip the handle on mine without pulling the trigger…the entire trigger. It is long. Sometimes I need to release the trigger and hold the handle tightly.
Just doesn’t work that way.

View JayT's profile


5957 posts in 2408 days

#14 posted 07-31-2012 03:26 PM

It isn’t often you can get this many Lumberjocks to agree on one product, which should tell you something. I am with the rest. For high torque, low speed applications, you absolutely cannot beat the Milwaukee Magnum.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View smp928s's profile


15 posts in 2418 days

#15 posted 07-31-2012 04:56 PM

Might be a dumb question but I am assuming I DON’T want a hammer drill? A guy near me is selling a Milwaukee 1/2” magnum hammer drill for 40$...

showing 1 through 15 of 36 replies

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