Depth stop for drill press drill bit

Depth stop for drill bit

To drill holes in the drill press, to make dowel joints, we can use the depth stop that the drill press usually have. But the drill bit depth stop of my drill press was always very difficult to adjust accurately, and sometimes I even preferred to adjust the height of the metallic table of the drill press than adjusting the depth stop. That’s why I may find it useful to make a depth stop for the drill bit.

DIY depth stop collar for drilling holes for dowel joints

One of the possibilities we have to drill the holes for the dowels to the depth we need on each side of the joint, is to use metal drill bit stop collars that are placed around the drill bit and set to the needed height. I have two different models: a ring type collar that “stays” in position by tightening a screw against the drill bit, which is really difficult to position well and has a tendency to loosen and move; and another two-pieces model that closes tightly around the drill bit by tightening a screw and its nut. The second one usually stays firm but always somewhat inclined and I don’t find it very easy to adjust its position either.

Electrical tape to mark the depth of the hole to be drilled

Many of you probably prefer to use masking tape or electrical tape around the drill bit as depth stop, although I don’t like this method very much either, as I always end up drilling too much (a woodworking trick with masking tape is to leave a sort of flag to one side, so that we know we have reached the depth we want when the tape sweeps away the shavings that are left around the hole).

Check that the metal table of the drill press is vertical.

Lately, the drill bit depth stop I used most often was the two-pieces depth stop, which stays firmly in position. But on a recent project it turned out that that depth stop was too wide to drill in the position I needed to drill. Then I remembered a method that I saw Matthias Wandel was using in one project. He uses a wooden sleeve as a makeshift depth stop for the drill bit during the fabrication of a table, using dowels and a tenoning jig.

So I’m going to take advantage of the fact that I have the drill press table upright (at 90 degrees to its normal position).

Vertical jig to drill on the end grain of the wood strips

And I also have the wood pusher that I use on the table saw, which I can hang on the side of the metallic drill press table. When I clamp it there it stays vertical and serves as a jig for drilling. This way I have a perfectly vertical corner against witch I can put the workpiece, for example a wooden rod.

Drill the wooden rod end grain

Now I can put the wooden rod in the drill press vertical table, I hold it with a pair of spring clamps and drill it little by little, in stages, stopping the drill and raising the rod from time to time as the drill press chuck was bumping against the wooden jig.

Measure the length to cut the DIY depth stop

Once I have the wood rod drilled, and without taking away the drill bit, I measure the length of rod I will need to drill the dowel holes to the correct depth. In my case I want to drill 1.5 centimeter deep dowel holes. The drill bit protrudes 6’5cm, so I have to cut a piece of 5cm long wooden rod.

Set the DIY depth stop on the drill bit.

Now all I have to do is put the piece of hollow wooden rod as a sleeve around the drill bit, and I slide it until it makes contact with the drill press chuck. This way it serves as a depth stop and I can drill all the dowel holes being sure that they will be perfect every time.

Put the depth stop against the drill press chuck.

I thought I would need to cut this wood tube or make a new one every time I put the drill bit in the drill press chuck, but this depth stop fits snugly around the wood drill bit without moving, so I just have to put it in the position needed for the dowels I use. Then, for all projects where necessary, I can place the drill bit in the drill press chuck being careful not to move the depth stop and so that the DIY depth stop is in contact with the drill press chuck: And like this I can drill the perfect holes for dowel joints.

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