DIY Woodworking: Shop-Made Drill Press Table Plans

Drill-press-fixture-DIY woodworkingThis is a shop fixture that’s worth getting started on immediately. Stationary drill presses are definitely not set up for DIY woodworking. The cast round table below the chuck isn’t woodworker friendly or even metalworking friendly. Once you build this fixture you’ll love its adjustable fence for drilling equally centered holes and the stop block that lets you make repeatable drilling operations in conjunction with the fence. The hold-downs are great for holding items still for delicate or precise hole drilling. Best yet, this jig is a project you can work on in your spare time over a couple days and complete for less than $50. The most expensive items are the T-track and the hold-downs. Follow the step-by-step drill press table plans for details to build your own.

Drill-press-layout-DIY WoodworkingFigure A – Here is the construction of the drill press table. The base and fence are made from two layers of Baltic Birch plywood for rigidity.

drill-press-dimensions_1Figure B – Drill press table dimensions

Layout-drill-press-table-with-your-framing-square-DIY woodworkingLayout the drill press table with your framing square Start by cutting two pieces of 1/2″ Baltic birch plywood at least 1/2″ larger than the finished dimension of the table as shown. This will enable you to trim the piece to final dimensions after gluing. Mark the center and then mark the cutout for the replaceable drilling square. Check your drill press for the dimensions from the column of the drill press to the center of the chuck. Mine is about 6 -1/4”. It’s nothing to get too precise about, a 1/4” difference one way or the other will still be fine. If the plywood has a slight warp, check out the text below for how to deal with it.

 

Create-a-finger-hole-for-the-repla-ceable-drilling-squareCreate a finger hole for the replaceable drilling square

Drill a 1” hole 3/8” deep into the upper base layer to provide a finger hole to help remove the drilling square.

Cut-through-the-plywood-with-a-jigsaw Cut through the plywood with a jigsaw Cut through the upper plywood layer with a fine-toothed jig saw along your guidelines for the replaceable 4” x 4” plywood insert.

 

Spread-the-glue-with-a-card Spread the glue

Spread glue over the lower plywood layer of the drill press table. I used an old membership card cut with a pinking shears to help spread the glue evenly.

 

Pin-the-halves-together-before-gluing Pin the halves together before gluing Pin the halves together with a 23-ga. pinner after positioning the panels on your table saw top. The pins will keep the plywood panels from drifting while you pile on weights.

 

Use-cauls-to-distribute-pressure Use cauls to distribute pressure Place straight cauls onto the upper and lower plywood layers so pressure can be placed evenly across the entire surface.  Don’t forget to put a later of wax paper or something similar between the plywood and your saw surface so glue squeeze out doesn’t get all over the saw table.

 

Stack-heavy-weights Stack heavy weights You can see I stacked it pretty high to get enough weight onto the cauls.  Use at least 60-pounds of weight, and let it sit for at least three hours.

 

Scrape-away-dried-glue-before-it-hardensScrape away dried glue before it hardens Scrape the glue from cutout before it gets hard. Check the glue frequently for it to be the right consistency for scraping.  Too early and it’ll just smear.  Too late and it’ll be too hard to remove.

 

Match-dado-blade-depth-to-your-T-track Match dado blade depth to your T-track With your table saw unplugged set your dado blade to the height of the T-track. It’s better if the depth is a hair deeper than too shallow. You don’t want the T-track to be above the tabletop at any point.

 

cut-through-the-plywood-with-a-dado-blade Dado for the T-tracks After cutting the glue up to final size (Figure B), set the fence 5-3/4” from the fence and plough your dado. Move the workpiece through slowly and steadily and let the dado blade do the work.  Make this cut from both ends, following the lay out in Figure B.

fence-detail_1Figure C – Fence Parts and Assembly

Make-the-warps-work-for-you Make the warps work for you Mate the surfaces for the fence just as you did for the tabletop so any warps oppose each other.

 

Clamp-the-parts-to-a-flat-surface Clamp the parts to a flat surface Clamp the fence halves to the top of your table saw in order to keep them perfectly flat. It’s best to cut the pieces oversize slightly and then trim them to size once the glue has dried.

 

Use-a-drum-sander-to-smooth-curves Use a drum sander to smooth curves Cut the lower fence base to size and then cut the semicircle in the rear. The 2-in. radius semicircle makes it easy to remove the fence portion of the drill press fixture while it remains mounted to the drill press platen.

 

Get-your-dado-depth-just-right Get your dado depth just right Trim the upper fence to size and then plough a dado for the T-track. Next, glue and clamp the upper fence to the lower fence.

 

cut-the-braces-to-reinforce-the-fence Cut braces to reinforce the fence Cut 2-1/2”x 2-1/2” triangular fence supports from the left over ½” plywood. Glue and pin them in place. Set the assembly aside to dry. The outer supports are placed 1-1/2” from the ends of the fence and the inner supports are 8-1/2” from the edge.  After the glue is dry use a hand saw to trim the overhanging points off the fence supports.

 

Use-a-center-punch-to-mark-holes Use a centerpunch to mark holes Mark the holes for the mounting screws into the T-track. The holes should be located every three inches along the T-track. Start in the center of each length and work your way along to each end.

 

Make-countersunk-holes-into-the-metal-track Drill and countersink holes into the metal track Drill the T-track with a 3/16” drill bit followed by a 3/8” countersink bit. Use #8 x 5/8” flat head screws.

 

Use-flange-bolts-for-T-track-knobsUse flange bolts for T-track knobs 5/16” closet flange bolts are made for fastening your toilet to the closet flange on the bath floor but they work great for T-tracks. I used these 3” long bolts for the fence clamps. They fit into the track and then are sleeved with some ½” tubing to fit into the PVC piping. The piping lifts the knobs of the fence clamping knobs so they’re easy to reach. See Figure C for details. You can cut these to length by threading on a nut, clamping them in a vise and then cut to length with a hacksaw. Simply back the nut over the cut end to restore the threads.

 

install-the-fence-clamp-bolts Set up the fence locks Drill 7/8” diameter recess holes for the fence clamps, 3/16” deep and centered  7/8” from the back edge of the fence base. Be sure to locate the hole center 6-1/8” from the side edge of the fence or directly above the center of the T-track. Drill 5/16” diameter holes for the t-bolts. The ½” OD rubber tubing keeps the bolt centered inside the pvc tubing.

 

Mount-the-assembled-drill-press-jig-to-your-drill-pressMounts the assembled drill press jig to your drill press.

Use lag screws or hanger bolts to mount the fixture to your drill press. I first bolted a scrap of 3/4” x 12” x 12” plywood to my drill press table, then screwed my fixture to the plywood scrap. It’s solid and I don’t think I’ll be removing it any time soon. As a woodworker, why would I?

Sources

Hold Down Clamp #35283

Universal T-track #22104 (1pc)

Universal T-track #26420 (1pc)

www.rockler.com

1-800-279.4441

T knobs #972 (3pcs)

www.ptreeusa.com

1-888-512-9069

Discussion
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64 Responses to “DIY Woodworking: Shop-Made Drill Press Table Plans”
  1. John McLean

    Nice, simple plans. However, the flange bolts are listed as 5/16″ bolts and the T-track is listed as 3/4″ track. If the bolts are to be 5/16″, then the track should be 7/8″ track. Or, if it’s a 3/4″ track, then the bolts should be 1/4″ bolts. Take your pick.

    Reply
    • Peter

      the width of the material comprising the t-track make up for your difference, and the 5/16 bolt I believe refers to the width of the shaft of the bolt, and not to the head of the bolt.

      Reply
    • WWGOA Team

      Hi, Adam!

      You can use a hack saw for this, or as long as you use aluminum track, you could cut this on a miter saw as well.

      Reply
  2. Duane

    In the picture it looks like you screwed the track on the fence but not on on the table surface. Is that correct? Also on the fence, did you use a cut downed closet flange bolt?

    Duane

    Reply
    • WWGOA Team

      The T-track is screwed to the fence and the other two pieces of T-track are screwed to the table surface. I did use closet flange bolts from the local hardware store as part of the hold-downs for the fence. They work nicely.

      Reply
  3. Duane

    One more question. What is the purpose of the notch on the top of the fence? It looks like it’s about 2 inch’s at the bottom of the cut and then a 45 degree cut to the top of the fence.

    Duane

    Reply
    • WWGOA Team

      The purpose of the notch is two fold. It lets my built-in light on the drill press illuminate the work area a bit better. It also helps if I need to drill a hole really close to the fence. In that situation, the chuck can hit the fence, not allowing the bit to lower into the work piece. With the cut-out at the top of the fence, I can get the chuck a bit lower. Sometimes I even need to elevate the work piece with a scrap board to keep the chuck from hitting the fence in those tight situations.

      Reply
  4. Mike Chun

    FYI, the Rockler T-Track is pre-drilled for #6 screws at 4″ o.c. Where did you get or what did you use for the 1/2″ o.d. rubber hose for the 1/2″ PVC? I can’t seem to find.

    Reply
    • WWGOA Team

      I picked up my hose at an auto parts store. They’ll sell you small lengths of hose from vacuum hose to fuel line hose. Just find one that’ll be close enough to fit around the bolt and inside the pvc. The idea is just to center the bolt inside the pvc so the nut tightens equally on the rim of the pvc.

      Reply
  5. Wes

    Hi, thanks for posting this. I just made this table (not the fence yet), and I can’t lower my press now because the table hits the lowering lever on my Craftsman 10″ press. Did you have to modify your drill press lowering lever to make this fit? Or am I missing something?? Thanks!!!

    Reply
    • WWGOA Team

      Sorry to hear you’re drill press configuration is not working. It could be that the feed levers on the drill press are longer than most. I do know that most feed levers unscrew from the hub mechanism and that you could shorten them but cutting them back. I hate to recommend these alterations in tools but if it’s the only way and you can still get your drill press to work well, you could give it a try. The other alternative is to trade your press in on another model that would work now that you can see what tolerances are needed between the drill press table and the levers.

      Reply
      • Michael

        I have the same problem. When I attach this (beautiful!) table to the drill press deck, the Crank to raise and lower the deck hits the table when turned. As I look at pictures of drill presses I see very few which do not have the crank behind and level with the deck. If you move the table far enough forward for the crank to work the fence is right under the drill bit.

        Reply
        • James

          I have the perfect solution. Build a tool storage section under the bottom center section of the table that will raise the table high enough to clear the handle.

          Reply
      • Jeff

        I had a similar problem but the solution turned out to be rather simple. I cut a 3/4″ thick piece of plywood the exact shape as the metal table on the drill press and mounted it first and then the auxiliary table on top of that. The essentially acted as a giant washer and gave me the additional clearance needed. If you need more clearance than that, just add another “washer”.

        Reply
  6. Mike

    Ok I hate to say anything but what I think Wes is talking about is the table itself I have the same drill press and yes the adjustment for lowering or raising the table does not allow adjustment up or down what I did was took out the “T” over Center type bolt and replaced it with a bolt of the same size I had to look for it but I found it at my local hardware and machine tool store you just have to make sure of the correct size and length that allows you to lock it I hope this helps if not I’m sorry to but in.

    Reply
    • WWGOA Team

      Hi, Mike!

      Thank you for commenting. Another reader sent this in via email. We will pass this information along!

      Reply
      • Wes

        Hi guys, thanks for the response! WWGOA, I think I just might have to cut the lowering level and modify it to work, that’s what I figured would be the case.

        Mike, I’m not sure what you’re suggesting? Maybe your way would work too? What is the “T-over center bolt” on my press? I’d love to solve this without cutting my lowering lever down!!!! Thanks everyone.

        Reply
  7. Earl Bryant

    Can anyone post a photo of the problem found with installing this table on the Sears craftsman 10″ drill press. I want to make this table and want to be able to fix the problem as I have the same drill press.

    Reply
  8. Edward W

    Rockler, no doubt has great products, along with high prices. I have enjoyed the video and made modifications to it. When you have to save up to buy screws to hold pieces of wood together, you have to consider every way to save money.
    I made the table using dado’s and hardwood slides with clampdowns, using metal strips bent in vise and hammer and hack saw. I t may not be the beauty queen of the century, but it works and cost me less than $15.00. I really enjoy your video’s as a member, wish I could afford to enjoy the luxury of having some of the tools to harvest the products produced. I have a small shop, with basic tools, it’s 10′ x 8′. I guess at 73 it’s all the, Good Lord Jesus, figured I needed. I’m happy making a little dust in it.
    God Bless you all and be careful, I just cut my wrist on a jig saw. ha ha ha, clumsy
    Ed

    Reply
    • WWGOA Team

      There is not a separate PDF, as everything that you should need for this project is embedded directly into the article itself. Let us know if there is information missing that you need for this build.

      Reply
  9. Rich

    Just made this table with a few “artistic differences.” I made my own hold down clamps and knobs from a piece of ash I had laying around. I have a photo if you would like to see it but can’t figure out how to post here.

    Reply
  10. Mike Davis

    Great plans!

    I’m not entirely clear how the table gets attached to the drill press, though. You say that you attached a 12″x12″ piece of plywood to the cast iron table, but how? The cast iron table on my drill press has only one hole in it. Would I need to drill more? If so, how would I go about doing that? (Can you tell I am a new drill press owner? 😀 )

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • WWGOA Team

      The metal table that comes with most drill presses has several slots or holes to fasten a wood platform to it using bolts, nuts and washers. If your drill press has a factory metal table without holes, you could drill some or get creative with ways to clamp or trap a wooden platform to the table. Here is a solution the might work if you don’t have holes in the factory table. (ZD: 3753)

      Reply
      • Mike Davis

        Thanks for the reply.

        My factory table has only one hole, at one of the corners. I am thinking of adding some short boards to the bottom of the custom-made table to form a frame that slips over the factory table. If I can’t build it such that it fits snugly enough to hold the table in place, I can add some clamps to further secure it. Should be a fun project.

        Reply
    • WWGOA Team

      This is project is set-up with step by step instructions, and at this time, does not come with any printable material. If you have any questions on this project, please let us know and we would be happy to assist you.

      Reply
    • Bob

      If you have windows 7 you should be able to use the “snipping tool”….just drag the big plus sign to fit what you want to capture… can capture all screens as a picture works quite well. Hope that helps a bit

      Reply
      • henningdj370

        If you want to print this, in Windows, use Ctrl-p on the keyboard and this will pop up the print process which will send the whole article to your printer. Or if you have the CutePDF print function(it was a free download when I got it), then you can ‘print’ to the CutePDF printer and have a pdf file of the article.

        Reply
  11. Kim B

    Does the table get a 2″ or so diameter semicircular cut like the fence. The first picture shows them flush in the back. Thanks

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi, Kim. It is not necessary to cut the semi-circle in the table. It is on the fence so that the fence can easily be slid off the rear of the table without interference from the post. While the fence and table are in use, they are both forward of the post.

      Reply
  12. ellen adore

    Useful piece – I was enlightened by the analysis ! Does someone know where my company might be able to obtain a template KE P11 document to fill in ?

    Reply
  13. Jennifer

    I like this. Made two, one for my son.

    – I applied the glue to the upper sheet of table, to minimize glue cleanout.
    – Also put masking tape on lower sheet cutout area and removed excess tape after scoring

    Reply
  14. Aaron

    How do I mount the shop made table to a circular drill press table. How do I ensure it’s square to the chuck and drill press itself.

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Aaron. Thanks for your questions. The mounting process should be the same regardless of the shape of the table. As the author describes, he bolted a piece of scrap plywood to the stock table on the drill press, then he used screws to attach this auxiliary table. In terms of squaring the table to the drill press, first look to see what adjustments are available on the drill press itself, then use shims underneath the auxiliary table to make any additional adjustments that are necessary.
      Good luck with the project!

      Reply
  15. Forrest

    I made the Drill Press Table … a wonderful addition in my shop. Instead of securing it with semi-permanent bolts from the underside, I installed 5/16″ threaded brass inserts to the bottom of the wooden base. Then I attach the wooden base to the drill press table using knobs with 5/16″ male threaded rod (Rockler). All 4 threaded inserts align with the slots in the drill press table, but I normally only use two at a time. Quick detachment, especially when I often switch from wood work to metal work, and prefer to NOT get oil and metal residue on the lovely wooden table.

    Reply
  16. Wayne

    I built this table from your plans….great project!! Your plans were 100% right on….Thanks for the project!!
    Wayne…..Tx.

    Reply
  17. Rick Grant

    Where did you get the 1/2 ” OD Rubber Tubing to go inside the PVC pipe for the extended knobs handles for the fence?

    Reply
  18. Bob Pittelkow

    I built your drill press table and it works quite well; Much better than my previous one. GREAT plans!
    I made some changes which may interest you:
    1. I was afraid the insert-removal finger hole would get in my way. Therefore I drilled a 1 inch hole in the lower plywood layer beneath the intended insert. A dowel and a light tap from beneath the table pops the insert out. (If one is careful you can drill this hole to line up with the center hole in the d/p cast iron table allowing the insert to be replaced without actually removing the wood table.
    2. While assembling the upper and lower plywood layers (after the insert hole had been cut), I laid one on the other and drew the outline of the insert on the lower lawyer. Removing the upper layer revealed the area I didn’t want to coat with glue. I extended the drawn lines a couple of inches (as guides) and covered the insert area with blue masking tape. I glued up the area as you did but without worrying about getting glue where the insert would eventually go. Once the upper and lower layers were glued up and dry, removal of the tape revealed a clean no-glue zone.
    3. I have to remove the woodworking table quite often for metal work and pulling or replacing the mounting bolts was a pain. Rather than bolting the wood table to the d/p iron table, I made a couple of lever clamps from aluminum tightened by 1/4-20 home-brew 3 inch knobs. (No one is going to look under there!) Two clamps were used so that only one turn is required of each to tighten or loosen the clamps allowing quick and easy removal of the table.
    4. Second thoughts: I should have offset the insert an inch either right or left. This would have allowed the insert to removed, turned 90 degrees, and have a “new center”. I thought of this too late to incorporate it.

    Hope this meets your approval.

    Reply
  19. John Adams

    I just built this table from your plans…it’s great. However, I’m glad I read the comments first: there were some valuable insights that allowed me to make a couple of changes that might help the next person. I also had some ideas of my own to add.

    1) To save a glue-up step, include the fence in the sizing of the plywood boards; it can be ripped away later.
    2) Build a riser box to elevate the new table above the drillpress table elevation crank (2” risers sandwiched between ½” plywood worked perfectly for my Delta table-top drillpress). It also provides a nice space to store bits and small parts. Make the top of the riser box extra wide to allow securement of the new table to it. Carriage bolts attach the bottom of the riser box to the metal table via the slots already there. Extra-wide washers ensure the nuts won’t push into the slots.
    3) After cutting the insert hole (make it a bit off-center so the insert can be rotated as needed to extend its life), apply blue painter’s tape to the bottom plywood piece before gluing. Incise the tape with a sharp knife along the margins of the hole with the boards aligned, then remove the excess before gluing. After gluing, peel-away the tape to leave a clean bottom. If you use screws instead of nails to hold the pieces together during the glue-up, they can be aligned temporarily and separated again as needed here, and below. Cut extra inserts from the same stock as the main boards to ensure identical thickness when a new insert is eventually needed.
    4) Imbed T-nuts inside the plywood sandwich to accept bolts to mount the new table to the riser box. Bolts can be inserted up through slots cut in the flanges of the top of the riser box to securely attach the box to the table. To keep the bolts from pushing the plywood apart, bore up into the top piece about ¼” before inserting the T-nuts and gluing. Make sure the T-nuts are located outside of where the T-tracks will be inserted in the top. Insert bolts up into the T-nuts during the gluing to ensure glue stays out of the threads. Wooden bow-clamp cauls can ensure adequate pressure for gluing without pressing up on the temporary bolts.
    5) Use 2 ½” long pieces of 1” wooden dowels center-bored for the bolts as the fence attachment knob standoffs instead of PVC pipe and rubber tubing. A simple jig (1” shallow hole in a wood block clamped to the table; a long drywall screw inserted at 90-degrees keeps the dowel from spinning) can hold the dowel pieces securely while boring the center-holes with the drillpress.

    Reply
    • Mike C.

      Thanks for some excellent suggestions. I especially like the 1″ dowel idea, and also the T-nuts. Cheers.

      Reply
  20. Marc Zitcer

    I’m confused by the drawing of the fence…If the fence is brought back all the way back to the drill press shaft, won’t the clamps be past the back of the track on the table unless the table is also notched and set back past the post??

    Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hi Marc, The clamp hold-downs for the fence can be brought back to the rear edge of the fixture. The cut-out for the fence assembly allows you to approach the shaft and then remove the fence from the backside if necessary.
      Paul-WWGOA

      Reply
    • Customer Service

      Hello. I am sorry you are having trouble downloading the plans for this table top. Please try hard refreshing the page or try using a different browser. If you are still having trouble downloading the plans please contact our customer service team at 1-855-253-0822 and they will assist you.
      Thanks
      Jean-WWGOA Video Membership

      Reply
  21. Peter Resch

    I’ve been all over this but I cannot see the purpose of the 4″x4″ removable cutout.
    Why is it there and what does it do?

    Other than that it looks to be a very useful jig and I will be building it.

    Reply