Wise Buys: Drill-Press Tables
Most drill presses come with smallish cast-iron tables that, frankly, don't work well for woodworking. Besides having a 1" or smaller relief hole in the center, support gussets on the bottom make clamping workpieces or jigs difficult. In search of good aftermarket table alternatives, we tested six models and found that most left us scrambling to make up for their shortcomings. We do, however, recommend two factory-made models, as well as one built in our own shop that we still use every day.
Hartville Tool #46515
This large table has more features than any other. With four T-track slots in the table and two hold-down clamps, I found it easy to clamp almost any size workpiece. The 36"-long, 31⁄4 "-tall aluminum fence has two T-slots on its face for mounting the stopblock, with adjustment screws on the back side to square it to the table. I like the cam-style fence clamps because the fence doesn't shift when you tighten the clamps as it can do with threaded knobs. The 11⁄16 "-thick, melamine-coated MDF top proved flat, but the kit comes without hardware for mounting to the drill press. Following the instructions, I drove four screws with washers into the bottom through the table slots. The 5x6" particleboard insert sat below flush with the tabletop, resulting in tear-out on the bottom of workpieces. (I replaced it with a flush-fitting MDF panel.)
—Tested by Bob Hunter, Tools & Techniques Editor
To learn more:
Peachtree Woodworking #1015
If you don't have the time to build your own table, this model offers plenty of good features for a reasonable price. To start with, you get two aluminum hold-down clamps and a UHMW stopblock. The 23⁄4 "-tall MDF fence sports a T-track along its 32" length, and mounts solidly to the table track with aluminum angle (although I had to shim it square to the table). The table itself is 2"-thick MDF with plastic laminate on both faces, rather than the thinner melamine coating on some. I found it quick to install and remove from my drill press with two threaded knobs that fit through the slots in my table.
—Tested by Bill Krier, Editor in Chief
To learn more:
WOOD magazine plan-built (issue 156, June/July 2004)
Dimensions: 141⁄2 x291⁄2 "
I might be a little prejudiced when it comes to this table--because I designed it—but it fulfills all of my needs, and for about half the price of manufactured tables. Two T-track slots in the table accommodate hold-down clamps as well as the fence; a third T-track helps me quickly position and clamp the microadjustable stopblock. The 3"-tall fence gives plenty of vertical support without being in the way of the quill-feed handles. Plus, it telescopes on each end for a maximum length of 48", and the table has replaceable center inserts. You'll invest a few hours making it, but the payoff is worth it.
—Tested by Kevin Boyle, Senior Design Editor
Hardware kit: #ADP-1