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Drill Press Uses For Woodworking Projects

If you are primarily into woodworking projects or a DIY worker who also works with metals, you require some of the advanced tools to help you achieve your goals. Of the many high-end tools available that make your project easier, a drill press is a standard tool used mainly by professionals.

It is a common tool available in most workspaces that are into woodworking projects or home repairs. It generally works with plastic, metal and wood. We will learn more about this stationary power tool which has been specifically designed to work with metal and wood.

What is a Drill Press?

DRILL PRESS - 1A drill press is designed in a way to bore holes in plastic, metals and wood. It is a motorised tool that works similarly to a handheld drill. It uses different kinds of bits that help make different hole diameters. However, the only difference between a handheld drill and a drill press is that they are benchtop or stationary tools.

If you are looking for a great drilling tool that can handle the occasional project and home repairs, this is not a great choice. People who are into serious projects needing to deal with metals and wood often choose a drill press. These tools are designed to simplify boring holes, counterbore the holes and use the sanding attachments for the desired finish.

How Does a Drill Press Work?

A stationary drill press machine is a heavy tool with a considerable price tag. It takes up your floor space, and hence it is recommended for people who need to work with wood and metal materials daily. Unlike hand-held drills, drill presses are not portable but are known for being precise and extremely powerful.

It consists of a rotating handle that controls its spinning mechanism, which is also known as the spindle. It moves in a vertical manner. The spindle takes care of making precise holes easily. All the drill press models are designed with a depth stop to create holes with constant depth.

What are the Uses of a Drill Press?

There are multiple uses for a drill press. It is considered one of the most crucial tools for any company that is only into woodworking projects and other metal materials. Following are some of the most common uses of this powerful tool.

1. Drill Press Basics

When it is your woodworking project where you need to make holes by drilling in the pieces of stock, it is better to go for a cordless or handheld power drill. But, if you are concerned about precision or you need to drill holes of larger diameter, it is better to use a drill press.

The tool is engineered with a powerful motor compared to a cordless drill. The chuck and quill present in the tool has been properly aligned and is designed with adjustable height to make sure that the holes are vertically aligned while being drilled. So, to obtain a precise result, a drill press is mainly recommended.

2. Mortise Cutting

Mortise is also referred to as a rectangular or square hole. It generally receives tenons of similar-sized cuts of adjoining wooden pieces. Before the use of advanced tools, these mortises were generally cut by hand with the use of a chisel. Modern days, you can find a specialised machine known as a mortiser used for cutting mortises.

Mortiser generally consists of a squared chisel with drill bits present inside it. These are used for cutting squared edges and drilling holes in the mortise. If you don’t want to invest in another tool like Mortiser, your drill press is enough to cut most stock in the mortise, and then you can use a sharp chisel to square the edges.

3. Using a Drill Press Mortising Attachment

If your woodworking project needs more than one mortise along with tenon joints, you can use a power drill to create mortise along with a sharp chisel with it. However, if your woodworking project requires a vast number of tenon joints and mortises, it is better to look for a dedicated mortiser that can easily create clean mortises.

In case you don’t have the budget or space to buy another tool, your drill press can be a viable option. Several manufacturers of floor-standing drill presses provide an attachment known as a hollow chisel mortiser. With this attachment on the drill press, you will be able to use different bits sizes with widths from 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch.

4. Sanding Spindles

If your project involves curved cuts from a bandsaw or a jigsaw and needs to be properly sanded, you can get the best and quickest result from an oscillating spindle sander. It is most often used for people who require regular sanding. However, if the tool is not accessible, a drill press can be the right solution.

When you find a barrel sander attachment fitting into the chuck of the drill press, it will be a great choice to get the job done. Apart from this, as a drill press provides different speed levels, making adjustments in sanding speed will help you to work with any kind of materials and achieve the desired result.

5. Cutting Tapered Snug – Plugs

When plugs are installed into workpieces, it offers an excellent finishing. It also makes sure of neat workpieces consisting of invisible joints and other aspects. It is almost impossible to cut a well-fitting plug properly. As most commonly, they do not sit on the holes they are created for, it becomes a hassle. However, using tapered snug plug bits can become a problem solver.

With the use of a drill press, it can become easier to cut identical plugs with smooth sides and precise measurements. The tool can make it easy to install and enjoy a good experience. These plugs are generally tapered at a 3° angle, which helps them to slide easily into the specific holes to reach the depth. Using a powerful tool like a drill press that allows you to make precise dimensions can be greatly helpful in cutting the tapered snug plugs.

6. Doweling

It has been a long time now since doweling has been in use. It is a common choice of woodworker who requires making strong joints. It has a very simple principle where even rounded small wooden sticks known as dowels are commonly inserted into the matching holes of corresponding boards, which, when glued, offer durable and strong wooden joints.

There is no doubt the fact that a crucial aspect of dowel joints is drilling proper holes in their adjoining board. In case the holes drilled are not placed properly, it will have alignment problems, and the joints will be compromised. Hence, using a drill press can be the right choice when it comes to drilling precise holes and creating strong joints.

7. Spot Drilling

Offence spot drilling is considered the initial step of precise drilling. This is where you require choosing a drill bit or centre drill with a split point, as these bits can be a great choice for positioning precise holes.

Using a drill press can be helpful to slowly reduce the bits until the drill press is engaged with the surface. This helps create slight indentation, known as a starter or spot hole. Once done, you will need replacing with twist bits to drill a hole properly. You can also keep drilling the starter hole. As the drill bits engage with drill slots, it creates a neat and clean outcome.

8. Drilling Holes

When it comes to drilling holes, a drill press can be an ideal use. It is typically used for achieving high speed and precision. For drilling holes, 118° twist drill bits are most commonly used.

9. Hole Saw on Metal

Based on your job type, it is better to use twist drills, step drills, wood drill bits, hole saws, etc for different materials.

Using tile bits can benefit drilling tiles and diamond bits for drilling glasses. Choosing the right drill bit is essential based on the material to drill clean and precise holes.

10. Chamfering & Deburring

Once you’re satisfied with drilling a hole, you can use a chamfering drill bit to widen the lips of the hole and remove the burr while drilling. It helps protect hole edges and easily insert the shaft. You can also find dedicated chamfering tools, twist bits, or countersink bits with slightly bigger diameters.

11. Countersinking

Countersinking is often one of the most commonly used techniques and is highly effective in removing materials present on top of the hole. It forms conical depressions for screws so that it can fit flush with surface workpieces. In such cases, a drill press works perfectly well.

It requires countersunk or countersinking bits to achieve this. It is generally placed in the centre position of the hole where you would like to counter-sink. When the drill bits come in touch with the material, it follows the hole edges and gradually increase their orbit until reaching the desired outcome.

Countersinking is commonly chosen when you require bolts and screws to fit the work surface. In this case, the countersinking drill bit would not orbit around the drilling hole, but it must be aligned to the centre of the hole. Then you need to sink it to get your required depth slowly. The canonical depression created for screw heads helps to fit in easily.

12. Counter Boring

Another popular technique is counterboring, which is most commonly used for increasing the top diameter of the existing hole to a depth that is a little bit more extended than its screw head. This is commonly done to help screw hands sit properly below the work surface and not compromise its clamping force.

A drill press is commonly used for counterboring by the use of the counterboring bit. It is designed with a guiding diameter on the tip and then with flat cutting tips. Using a twist bit for drilling holes can be recommended if you own a dedicated counterboring tool. Now you require a canonical bottom to counterbore.

Make sure it is flat to ensure the screws are correctly seated. Next, you can either choose to use the end mill, which is similar in diameter, to acquire a flat bottom or grind it step to make a flat drill bit.

13. Tapping

Tapping is a widespread technique, usually used for creating internal threads. It ensures the secure fitting of screws into the workpieces. It requires you to drill pilot holes which are equal to the thread’s core diameter. Followed by this, you can utilise tapping bits for cutting threads, and you can now install screws.

However, you must bear in mind that once you have made the tapping, you require a rotating tapping bit in the reverse direction to take it out. If you don’t follow this process, it might damage threads and break the bits. The drill press models come with tapping modes and can make it easy.

In this mode, it consists of a spindle which keeps rotating clockwise while tapping and reaches a desired depth. Then the spindle rotates in the reverse direction, which helps the tap to get unscrewed from its thread.

14. Reaming

Reaming is another process that helps to create precise holes. It is known for great accuracy and offering a seamless finish. With this technique, you can easily widen a created hole by using a reamer to acquire great precision.

For this, you require drilling the diameter of the hole slightly undersized to let the reamer cut accordingly. It is an excellent choice for exact dimensions with a smooth finish.

15. Boring

For high-speed boring, the drill press is considered a fantastic choice. This is the application where you require making several identical holes that are smooth. It is impossible to achieve and complete the task using hand drills. Making use of an auto-feed drilling machine can be better. Such machines would require you to program them to complete the project by inserting a workpiece and letting the machine do its task.

If you are using a manual drill press, you must make some measurements to stay assured that all the holes are positioned properly. This is undeniably not complicated. Irrespective of the way you choose, a drill press can always offer accurate and faster results for such projects.

16. Sanding and Polishing

The drill press can be a great choice and effective for sanding and polishing by making use of sandpaper attachments. If you are using an electric sander or hand-held operations, using coarse sandpaper, helps to obtain a coarse finish, while fine papers will provide a polished and smooth surface. Additionally, you can use lap or lapping paste for hole polishing into a fine and smooth finish.

17. Cleaning Metal With a Wire Wheel Brush

You can utilise wire wheel brush attachments to achieve clean metal work pieces faster. As these wheel brushes generally spin efficiently at a higher speed to brush debris and dirt from the metal surface, it works greatly for cleaning metal. However, the only limitation is that you need to use smaller workpieces that can fit on the table.

18. Slash Drilling Operations

You can also find many attachments available, which can be helpful to use as a slashing device. These will help you to easily cut thick objects within a matter of time by using the attachments.

For this, you require aligning objects and blades properly to make the pilot strokes. Once you have aligned, make sure to lock the object and perform the job. It can become really helpful when you don’t have a dedicated slasher machine.

19. Horizontal Dusting

If you are primarily into woodworking projects, you would be happy to find the versatility of drill presses. These drill presses can also perform the job of duster on the woods. However, all you need is to attach a dusting attachment to its tape, and it will instantly work like a duster.

It is a clever trick that you can choose to leverage the many potentials of one machine. Make sure to use several types of duster to give perfection on wooden surfaces.

20. Screwing and Unscrewing Action

As mentioned above, the drill press is known as a versatile tool. You can also use this powerful tool to screw bolts and also unscrew them. This is not something secret but becomes highly effective for workers. For this, you require setting the machine speed at its lowest to perform the job.

Make sure to use needles that fit the bolt and then use them as a screwing machine. It is an excellent choice for any project as it ensures reducing the overall time required for screwing and unscrewing.


Hopefully, all the information regarding the several uses of drill press will help you to understand why this is a must-have machine in your project. This is one tool that performs the tasks of different tools. As it is known for being very powerful, it requires understanding its functionality and is used to acquire desired results and finish.

So, it is time for you to start using the drill press to enjoy better results on your metal and woodworking projects.

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