Why would you ever need a plunge drill? Find out!
We're not in the habit of recommending high-voltage cordless tools because 12- and 14.4-volt models have plenty of oomph for just about any woodworking task. But we'll make an exception for Triton's 18-volt Plunge Drill because it's like putting a drill press in the palm of your hand. The plunge mechanism locks out of the way so the drill can be used for all ordinary drilling procedures, but when the spring-loaded plunge mechanism is released and extended, it works similar to a drill press. Still, when I first looked at this tool, I thought, "Why on earth would I ever need this?" To answer that question, I proceeded to see how many practical uses I could find for it.
First, I bored a series of 3/4" holes perpendicular to a 2X4 fastened to my shop wall. Holding the plunge base against the 2X4 with one hand and plunging the spinning spade bit into the wood proved no problem. Drilling on a layout mark proved both accurate and repeatable. Next, I set the depth stop on the plunge mechanism so the bit would drill just over 1-5/8" deep, and marked both sides of a scrap of 3X3" walnut so that holes drilled from opposite sides would meet in the middle of the workpiece. Then I did just that using a 1" Forstner bit. The hole had a very slight ridge where the bit crossed in the center of the scrap, although the offset was no more than produced on my drill press when doing the same task. I was impressed.
The TDC-100 comes with an edge guide for repetitive chores like drilling shelf-pin holes, so I chucked in a 1/4" brad-point bit, set the drilling depth to 5/16" and the edge guide to drill 1-1/2" from the edge, and began drilling a series of 1/4" holes. Again, the drill performed like a champ. The included V-base is designed to drill perfectly centered holes in curved faces, such as a dowel. Again, it worked at least as easily and accurately as my drill press.
The TDC-100 Plunge Drill won't replace a drill press, but its portability allows access and provides precision in situations a drill press can't. Of course, this tool has all the standard features you'd expect of an 18-volt cordless drill: a two-speed gearbox, clutch, variable-speed trigger, reversing switch, 1/2" keyless chuck, two batteries, and a charger.
- Tested by Pat Lowry
Triton 18-volt Plunge Drill
Performance: 5 stars