Shop-made Drill Press Table

by Dan "Photog" Chan

This statement first appeared in a thread on theWoodNet woodworking forum. It was compiled and reproduced here for easier public consumption. All text and images are the property of Dan Chan unless otherwise noted.


I claim few original thoughts with this project as I either saw or read about various features elsewhere and logged those nuggets away for future use. I took these individual component ideas from a variety of cool designs and combined them into my own amalgamation. "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?"

Here she is........

The deck is two pieces of " Melamine, laminated and wrapped in " Red Oak. The mini-T track in dados accommodates the fence and auxiliary hold-downs.

The Melamine fences I've seen on other tables have always put me off. They seem heavy and cumbersome and require joinery and more T-track for the stop block. My router table fence of this composition is unwieldy. Since I already had plans to add a weighty feature to this table, I went with a simple and light fence made from 2x2x1/8" aluminum angle. It slides on and off the table with little effort and the stop block design is cleaver (Shopnotes #87 May/June '06).

A pretty hot design.

The original cast iron table on my drill has no through holes for mounting the auxiliary table. These T slots forced an alternate method, as I didn't want the top deck surface to be sullied by recessed bolt heads in slotted holes. The fence t-track collects enough dust as it is.

I decided to route these slotted holes in the bottom of a drawer cabinet, which conceals them nicely. This box serves as a base on which the deck is anchored atop.

I went with simple drawer construction with inset hardwood guides riding in dados in the carcass. I recessed and epoxied rare earth magnets in the drawer and carcass back to hold the drawer closed. It sucks home with a satisfying thump.

About the replaceable insert---- the designs I have seen are usually placed dead center to the bit. I've always wondered why? When drilling through holes, the work piece needs to be backed up to prevent blowout and it wouldn't be long (one larger bit change) before your backer would be compromised. Even the sliding inserts, which allow you to drill a line of fresh holes, are centered in the table and I didn't like that idea either. If the insert was full table depth, sliding to a fresh spot sends it poking out toward your belly.

I used to operate a print shop paper drill, which bored binder ring holes in paper stock at a ream at a time. In its table was a small circular hardwood backer block which could be rotated to a fresh surface when needed. I borrowed this idea and similarly offset the point of contact so that a ring of holes could be drilled. When this surface is used up, it can be flipped over for another go.

I made plenty of spares using my disc sander and circle jig to form perfect circles.

Speaking of perfect circles, I didn't have a template to route the recess in the table's top layer, so I made one. I jigsawed a less than perfect hole in plywood and then glued in a plastic ring which was a near perfect circle. This ring was bandsawed from the neck of an irrigation grate. The template was sanded smooth and kept the router guide bushing on track.

The drawer and case (modification from Shoponotes #57 May 2001), besides solving my press' mounting challenge, is big enough to hold my most used bits close at hand. I'll resist the temptation to fill it up. As it is now, the additional weight makes only a marginal difference in the effort required to raise and lower the table. The whole thing detaches relatively easily if I ever need to return the drill press for use drilling heavy steel with oil etc.

Thanks for looking.


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