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drill tips

Wire insulation helps hold tiny drill bits

The jaws on the chucks of many drills don't close completely—most leave a tiny, triangular gap in the center. This presents a problem if you want to use 116 " or smaller drill bits because the chuck may not get a grip on such a slender shaft.

To prevent these tiny bits from slipping, strip off a short section of electrical-wire insulation and push it onto the end of the bit. Then, chuck the bit into the drill. The wire insulation will give the jaws of the chuck enough grip to hold the tiny bit firmly.
—Judy Coffey, Elk Grove, Calif.

End drill-press fumbling with coupling nuts

I make wind chimes for gifts using copper or aluminum tubing suspended from an oak top. Before I can tie the tubes to the wood, I have to drill holes in them. And believe me, those holes have to be in exactly the right spot so everything lines up. That means I have to frequently reposition the vise on my drill-press table, which always had me fumbling around the thick table supports with a wrench. I finally decided, "There's got to be a better way."

I bought two coupling nuts, 112 " long, to replace the nuts on the carriage bolts that hold the vise in place. Then, I drilled 14 " holes through the coupling nuts near the bottom ends and put a short rod through each one. Short pieces of plastic tubing pushed onto the ends of the rods keep them from sliding out.

The coupling nuts give me easier access for adjustments to the vise. And the rod provides greater torque for tightening and loosening.
—Max Strain, Olathe, Kan.

drill tips

Bore vertical holes with scrapwood jig

Here's a quick-fix jig that will come in handy the next time you need to bore a vertical hole in the end of a long workpiece. To make the clamp block, laminate two 2×4s, one 9" long and the other 17" long as shown in the drawing below. Then, joint the sides that face the workpiece and the drill-press table to achieve a perfect 90° angle.

Next, joint the edges and faces of the 112 ×2×10" fence to perfect 90° angles. Use a framing square to align the two pieces at 90°. Then, fasten the fence to the clamp block with glue and four #8×212 " flathead wood screws and adhere a piece of 150-grit sandpaper to the clamp block as shown. Now, clamp the jig to the drill-press table, clamp the workpiece to the jig, and you're ready to bore your hole.
—E.C. Peters, Brighton, Ont.

drill tips

Reposition holesaw to end sawdust woes

I've used a holesaw many times in the past to cut out wheels for toys. And almost always, sawdust would clog the saw, the wood would burn, and smoke would fill my shop.

Now, I position the holesaw right at the edge of the stock, creating an escape path for the sawdust. No more clogging, no more smoke.
—John Santoro, Billerica, Mass.

drill tips

Protect fingers with this handmade disc

I recently purchased an 8" adjustable circle cutter for cutting clock-face holes, but the spinning arm of the cutter scared the heck out of me when I used it. So, to keep my fingers away from the danger, I made a guard from 14 " acrylic as shown. The guard fits between the cutter and the drill-press chuck, and the clear plastic lets me see the work.
—Pat Grashorn, Gilcrest, Colo.

drill tips

Grip stuck plug with this homemade grabber

Have you ever tried to free a stuck wooden plug from a holesaw? If so, you know that you can do a lot of damage to the wood workpiece trying to pry it out. Build this grabber, though, and you can free these wooden pieces with a quick twist of the wrist.

Size the grabber about 1" wider than the circular plug you're cutting and about 10" long. Turn it on edge and drill a 316 " hole for the machine screw as shown. Then, drill the counterbore and hole in the face of the workpiece and bandsaw a tapered cut from the end of the handle to the hole as shown.

For this grabber to work, the plug must protrude below the teeth of the holesaw about 14 ". So when you cut your circles, don't lower the teeth completely through the stock. Rather, drill down until the pilot bit emerges from the back side of the stock. Flip over the workpiece and complete the cut from the backside.
—Bill Woodall, Gladys, Va.

drill tips