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Thread: Drill press vise

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

    Drill press vise

    I've seen these advertised in a few places, but haven't talked to anyone who actually uses one. Are they any use for woodworking, or are they primarily a metal working tool? If they are useful for woodworking, what do you do with them? One of my projects some time this year will be a drill press table, but I don't want to miss out on anything I should be having.

    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Austin, Texas
    I have used them, but don't have one on my drill press. They are great at positioning small things precisely, but most of my wood projects are larger than that, and the vice gets in the way.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Oceanside, So. Calif. 5 mi. to the ocean
    I'm with Charlie. I have one; I do use it sometimes for working with wood. It is heavy enough to be stable. It can be moved on the surface of the work bench yet it is heavy enough to be stable for holding a small piece.

    I do use it occasionally on the drill press. I would not be upset if it was gone. I have it from times when I did a small amount of metal work. I use it just enough to keep it. It is always in my way or in the way of something.

    Would I purchase one if I did not have this one? NO!


    First of all you have to be smarter than the machine.

  4. #4
    I have one and use it very occasionaly. I knew going in that this was a tool that would be used not very often, so I just got the cheapest one I could find at HF. It is very heavy and like everyone says, when you have to hold something small and very steady, it comes in handy
    Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsmen can hide his mistakes!

    The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because they are generally the same people.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    somewhere east of Queen Creek, AZ - South East of Phoenix
    I have one and use it a lot, wouldn't be without one.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I have a smallish one that I use a fair amount for drilling small things, especially if they're metal. It's not attached to the drill press table, but I clamp it when appropriate.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    There are two kinds of folks who use drill presses - those who clamp their work down well and those who are eventually going to get slapped a piece that gets caught (used to be the second type, learned my lesson the hard way and am slightly more paranoid now).

    In my opinion DP vises are pretty useful if you do a lot of small pieces that are hard to clamp some other way. Basically think about how you want to solve two problems:
    • Solid clamping for all sizes of work you are going to do. This obviously varies depending on the size/shape/etc...
    • Initial and repeated alignment. Being able to clamp parts 2-N the same as part 1 can really help your work go easier for some projects.

    Obviously there are a LOT of ways to solve all of these problems and DP vises only solve it for some classes of work (and aren't the only solution there).

    I'm going to give my stock advice for new tools: sit down and write out ~20 drilling operations with different sized and shaped pieces you would want to do and figure out how you would secure them to the DP in a safe and repeatable way. If you've solved that problem, you're pretty close to done.

    I "ended up" with two drill presses (an old - SN 282 - Jet 17" that I got a decent deal on ~5 years ago and an 18-900L I bought last year) the Jet has a metal working style table, the 18-900 has the larger flat WW table. On the Jet I have ~semi-permanently mounted a HF cross slide vise (apparently the price has gone up, it was $45 on sale when I bought it) - this has been really handy because you can "dial in" the location on more precise drilling operations - the HF vise does have a some slop compared to higher end stuff I've seen in other folks shops but at $45 it was worth it - at $70... less convinced.

    I made good use of the HF cross slide vise when I cut all of the rosettes for the trim in our house - I clamped a stop to one side of it and was able to position every rosette in exactly the same place without messing with it. If I was doing it today I'd use the lathe for that project and it would be even faster/cleaner/easier but given my tooling at the time it was a big win.

    Also if you have a way to clamp large flat things to your DP table (as you must ), you can always mount a vice to a auxiliary table later and just clamp the aux table to your main table as needed. If I had "only one" drill press, that's likely what I'd do..

    I probably wouldn't buy a vise until I had a real use for it in either case.

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