Table for vertical drilling in the column drill

Vertical drill press table DIY

Sometimes, in our small woodworking workshops, we need to figure out how to drill into the head of the wooden strips to make dowel joints. Holding the slats with a clamp and drilling the holes freehand does not usually give the best result. And doing it in the drill press, at first does not seem possible.

But, as we will see in this entry, we can rotate the head of our column drill and make the metal table vertical so that it allows us to install a vertical plywood table. So we can place the slats vertically and use the column drill to make perfect holes in their heads.

How to make the vertical table for the drill press

How to turn the metal table of the drill press

Under the metal table of my drill press there is a bolt that holds the table together with the clamp that goes around the column. By loosening that bolt [1] I can turn the table 90 degrees and put it upright. The problem is that it is perfectly vertical, since the table of my drill has marks to put it perfectly horizontal, but not to put it vertical. What I do is place a drill bit in the drill, glue the table to the drill, and retouch the position of the table until when turning the drill the edge of the drill rubs against the table both in the upper part [2] and in the bottom [3]. And now, being very careful not to move the table, I have to re-tighten the bolt little by little [4], not forgetting to check and adjust the position of the table if necessary.


Guide and support slats for the vertical table

Using the jigsaw, I cut a piece of 18mm thick plywood [5] . I cut it slightly larger than the metallic table of the drill press [6]. To make sure that one edge is perfectly straight, one of the edges of the piece I cut is one of the edges that come from the factory. I want to put a small guide strip [7] perfectly flush with that straight edge. That small guide strip will help to hang the plywood table from the top edge of the metallic table of the drill press. And on the free face of the plywood table I will put another strip at 90 degrees with the first one [8]. This second strip will serve as a support (as a vertical fence) to keep vertical the strips that I might need to drill when making my woodworking projects.

Screw on the support strip to make the slats vertical

To screw the vertical fence, the one strip to keep vertically the strips to be drilled, I put the plywood table vertically on my workbench, with the factory straight edge against the workbench top. I put the fence strip against that straight edge and I hold it with spring clamps [9]. I drill three guide holes [10] and insert three screws [11] to hold the fence strip.

Screw on the guide bar to hang the table

To screw the guide strip, to hang the plywood table from the metallic table of the drill press and adjust its position, I start by placing it more or less in the position where I want it to be. And I insert a screw in one end [12]. With the help of the square I have to set it to 90 degrees with the fence strip (with the factory edge) and hold it with a spring clamp [13]. After drilling a couple of guide holes I insert another two screws [14].

Mark where to put the bolts and drill

Now I hang the plywood table from the top edge of the drill press metallic table, I move it closer to the drill press column, and I draw on the plywood the shape of the grooves of the metallic table [15]. I separate the plywood table from the drill press column and redraw the grooves of the metallic table on the plywood [16]. So I have an area where the two drawings of each slot coincide [17]. I make a mark more or less in the center, and in those marks I drill holes to fit two bolts [18].

Carve hole and mortise bolt head

I drive the bolts into the holes, with the bolt heads on the face of the plywood where the guide rail was placed, and with a narrow chisel I mark the hexagonal shape of the heads [19]. With the same chisel I am going to carve the hexagonal shape into the plywood [20] until I can fully recess the bolt heads [21]. And by passing a washer over the bolts I make sure that they do not protrude [22].

How to turn the top head of the drill press

I place the drill press laterally on the edge of my workbench, and I secure it with a couple of clamps. And now I want to rotate the drill press head to the outside of my workbench.

Allen screws to lock the drill head

To rotate the metal table I just have to loosen the clamp that holds it to the column. And turning the drill head isn't much more complicated either, as it has a pair of Allen screws that keep it locked in the drill column. By loosening those screws I can rotate the head 90 degrees. I retighten the screws and I have the drill press ready to install the vertical plywood table.

How to drill in the head of the wooden strips

Install the vertical drill table in the drill press

I install the vertical plywood table to the metal table by driving the bolts through the slots in the metal table and letting the support slat rest fully on the top edge of the metal table. And I tighten it with some wing nuts, with the help of a pair of large washers and another pair of small washers [25]. Now I have to put a bit in the chuck and move the table until the bit is right at the corner that the plywood forms with the vertical guide rail. If when turning the bit the edge rubs against the plywood and the batten, both on the top [26] and on the bottom [27], then the table and the guide rail are perfectly vertical and aligned with the bit.

How to drill a hole in the head of a lath

I can now put the strip that I want to drill on my vertical table, well supported against the guide strip and more or less flush with the top of the plywood table.

Adjust the table to drill the batten head

I hold it down with a pair of pliers, and move the metal table sideways and the plywood table forward or backward until the tip of the bit falls just above the point I want to drill into the head of the batten. I tighten the clamp against the column, I tighten the wing nuts, I do one last check to make sure that the bit falls right at the point I want to drill, ...

Drilling a hole in the head of the batten

and I can already drill a perfectly vertical hole in the head of the wooden strip. This way I can drill perfect holes in the head of the strips to make wooden joints with dowels.

This table is perfect for making unions with tubillions in combination with the typical drill press table horizontal.


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