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Thread: Drill Press Table - A Comedy of Errors

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM

    Drill Press Table - A Comedy of Errors

    I decided the new drill press needed a bigger table. I've admired the older Woodpecker drill press tables made of phenolic covered plywood, but they've discontinued them and are selling Formica-covered MDF tables instead. At 16" x 23" it's also a bit smaller than I wanted. So I decided to buy the Woodpeckers hardware and make my own table. I also decided to use some t-track I had laying around to fasten the table to the cast iron table on the drill press. That would give me a handy way to adjust the location of the table in relation to the bit.

    I didn't feel like applying my own laminate, so I used some 3/4" melamine-covered particle board I had laying around. It's not nearly as stout as Formica and MDF (or plywood), but the price was right and the hassle factor was low. I glued two pieces together to make a 1 1/2" thick table, so I'd have enough thickness to accommodate the t-tracks. I trimmed the edges with some 3/4" mahogany that I'd bought a couple years ago, and had now warped to the point that it was only good for relatively short pieces. Nothing fancy, just using up old stock.

    Up until this point, the project was going smoothly. I cut the two pieces of particle board EXACTLY the same size, and managed to get them glued (with contact cement) so well lined up that I didn't have to dress the edges before applying the trim. Loving the Incra setup on the table saw. The trim work went without a hitch, too. Then the fun started.

    Next it was time to route the stopped dadoes for the fence t-tracks. Using the router table (again with the Incra rig), I routed the first dado perfectly. I was really loving the Incra. Knowing how perfect it was, I made a couple marks on the Incra scale, slid things over and routed the second dado. Turned it over to check the fit, and the dado was 3/8" too wide. Coincidentally, I was using a 3/8" straight bit in the router. Yep, I'd forgotten to subtract the width of the bit when I marked the Incra scale. After a few bad words were spoken, I decided I'd make the other dado the same oversized width, then use more scrap mahogany to fill the gaps. Might actually look OK, I says to myself. So I flip the tabletop over again and make the extra cut to enlarge the narrower (correct) dado.

    After calming down, I decided to route the dadoes for the t-track on the bottom of the table. This time I was doubly sure to calculate the width of the bit when I set up the fence. Measured a couple times just to be sure, then turned on the router and made the first pass. It was about then that I realized I'd not turned the tabletop over. I'd just cut another dado in the TOP of the piece, not the bottom. Additional bad words were said. I believe I even made references to someone's mother that I shouldn't have. At that point, I figured I'd once again be filling the dadoes with scrap mahogany, so I went ahead and routed a matching dado on the opposite side of the top. Then I turned the darned thing over and made the dadoes where I needed them to be.

    I was able to finish up the rest of the project without any other major mistakes, but I added another night or two's worth of work to what should have been a simple little project. In the end, the table is very serviceable, just not real pretty. The melamine is cheap and thin, and I'll likely scratch it up pretty quickly with use. I consoled myself with the fact that it was mostly made from scrap, and if I ever want a nicer one, I can at least re-use the hardware.

    Anyway, enough sob story. Here's some pics...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The table is 25 1/2" x 19 1/2", and the dual t-tracks for the fence are 15 3/4" long. The fence itself is 36" long. I intentionally made the sacrificial insert in the middle off-center, so I can rotate it four times per side before I have to replace it. (Plus, I can move the table around easily to hit fresh spots on the insert, due to the t-tracks on the bottom.) The hold downs work great for holding my drill press vise onto the table, too.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The fence and the tracks it rides on are laser engraved with 1/16" increments. I also got a couple of flip-stops to go with. Don't know how useful the markings will be, but I have already made use of the stops. As a bonus, they also fit my Incra gear.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here's a shot of the t-tracks on the bottom. They were leftovers from another project, and about 1 1/2" shorter than the table width. Still plenty long for what I needed, just not nice and flush with the edges. The bottom tracks were screwed and epoxied. You can also see the holes for the screws that hold the tracks on the top. Those are just held in place with oval nuts and machine screws, so they are removable (and reusable on another table down the road.)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The bottom of my original table has castings to accommodate "outrigger" stock supports. Of course these castings (on opposite corners) were right in the way of the knobs holding the new table on, so I turned a couple of standoffs to give the knobs room to turn.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    As I said, it's functional, just not pretty. And I really like having all that real estate to work on.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    39.92*N x 86.01*W

    It's Beautimous!

    I think you knocked that one out ot the Park!

    You Rock!

    -Kevin in Indy
    "Heroic? He fell off his bloody Aeroplane!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Rhode Island
    I'm sorry but with all of the new toys you shouldn't use a second rate DP table so I will make the sacrifice & take the offending table off your hands so you can concentrate on making a perfect one.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Between Aledo and Fort Worth, TX
    Yeah, I agree. Looks very nice. Now what you should have said is something like: "I wanted to dress up things a little more than the standard drill press table, so I enhanced the t-track system with some mahogany I had left over from a previous project. I think the contrast of the mahogany and the white melamine....." Use the situation to your advantage!! Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Houston, Texas
    Hi Vaughn ,
    That was a fun walk through of your project. It was almost like being there, or, a reinactment of project mistakes and the expletives that follow in our own projects. Nice recovery and "You are better for it!"
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Lakeport NY and/or the nearest hotel
    Vaughn, beautiful job, and don't sweat the extra dado's... consider them gilding on the lily.

    And... my first honest response was 'Vaughn still has a tablesaw??'

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Beautiful job Vaunghn

    I've seen somewhere a sacrifice plate that is round. The drill is drilling on the peripheral of the circle so, every time you want a new "zero clearance" you just turn the plate to a new position that still does not have a hole. That way, you can use one plate for many holes and sizes.

    When you finish to use all the circle, you can drill over the smaller holes with bigger drill.


  8. #8
    Don Taylor is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    That's a fantastic drill press table Vaughn!

    I am going to use my Rockler table for now but somewhere on the list is a better home brewed table.
    I'll just keep this post for a while if you have no objections.

    Last edited by Don Taylor; 02-10-2008 at 08:19 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Vaughn, question: Do you find it hard to use those scales on the drill press table. Seems you have to 1.)remember how you set it to zero, place the fence over the line so you don't see it or place it so you see the line, 2.)setting the correct dimension depending on how you look at it when setting the fence.

    Most reason I ask is because I got those scales for christmas and maybe I am just looking at it wrong or trying to be to precise. That is a good looking table though.
    Rise above the rest

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Ahh, to be a fly on the wall. I bet that would have been entertaining afternoon!
    Excellent recovery – the table looks awesome and look at all the practice you have with the Incra rig! The table is going to make that new DP a joy to use!

    I’m sure glad that I never make mistakes like that….
    You’ll notice a shallow little dado close to the blade in my old bandsaw table…I not only missed the location for the miter slot; I missed it by a bunch. It’s funny how we always figure it out AFTER the fact…
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 011.jpg  
    "I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a
    friend...if you have one."
    --George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

    "Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second..if there is
    --Winston Churchill, in response

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