View Full Version : Drill Presses

04-11-2010, 07:11 AM
Hi All,
As I mentioned before I am brand new to making and trying to get my shop in order. I am looking for some drill presses but I am getting a little confused. Whats the difference btw a $250(Delta) and say a $500(Jet)? Is the Jet worth more or get one of each or something else altogether? Thanks in advance!


Curtiss Knives
04-11-2010, 07:26 AM
Don't have either one of those, but I do have several Harbor Freight $59 bench top models. For the money, can't beat them. Buy 3 or 4 and set them up as individual work stations to perform 1 job. Just a thought.

Ernie Swanson
04-11-2010, 10:27 AM
I agree, I have a $60 harbor freight drill press and it works pretty darn good,
Weel worth the money if it last a half a year, which I think it will.

04-11-2010, 10:34 AM
I picked one up from Tractor Supply Company, and it is pretty good so far. I think mine cost about $60 - $80. I don't think I could live without it!!:D Heck My wife even used it to make some Pilot holes for a little project she was working on. I would rather she use it than a hand held!!

James Terrio
04-11-2010, 11:28 AM
Like the other fellows, I have an inexpensive drill press (Black & Decker benchtop, I think it cost $100 or so) and like it just fine. The important thing to look for is, can you slow it down? Mine goes down to 620 rpm and I leave it there all the time. 300 rpm would be better but mine works pretty good on steel and doesn't burn up bits.

Read the manual! :D

Spend any extra money on a nice vise that can be clamped to the press table, quality bits, and grab a bottle of cutting fluid while you're at the store. Bolt the press securely to your benchtop and make sure everything is nice and square. Get one or two solid carbide bits if you can, for drilling hardened steel. You will probably want one eventually.

I'm not a trained machinist, but this set-up is working well for me. There are folks around here who may chime in with a lot more detailed information. :)

Dan Pierson
04-11-2010, 11:46 AM
I've got an old Craftsman from a local used tool place. $75 + some TLC and it's fine.

I don't use a vise clamped to the table, just a toolmaker's vise -- the larger of these (http://www.micromark.com/TOOLMAKERS-VISE-2-1and2-CAPACITY,6744.html) to be precise. First ran into one in the shop I was taking classes in and liked it a lot. It's heavy enough that the press isn't going to start spinning it with any load I'll put on it knife making and the smooth square sides let me use it on the side as well as upright.

Now to be fair, I have a small mill and use it for real precision drilling. Also have a cross slide vise I can bolt onto the press but haven't done that in a couple of years. For most things it's more trouble than it's worth in my experience.

LR Adkins
04-11-2010, 12:24 PM
The Jet is a really nice set up and so is the more expensive Deltas but not necessary. Save your money for other equipment you will need.

I keep have two bench top drill presses set up. One I use for most of my rough drilling and the other for misc. like when I have a lot of different size holes to drill. I set them both up with different size bits so I don't have to change so often. I also have a small mill that I do my precision drilling with.

You can get bench top drill presses for around $80, they will work fine for making knives. Make sure your table is square whenever you set up for knives.

Like the others have said have a nice vise to hold what ever you are drilling and use quality drill bits that fit the job at hand.


Jim Adams Customs
04-11-2010, 03:34 PM
Just like everyone else. I have a inexpensive $50 HF drill press.

04-11-2010, 04:08 PM
I think that as long as a drill press is set up correctly (minimal run out on the spindle, and the table is squared to the spindle, just about any drill press will work. For years I've had two drill presses that I purchased from the "truck load" tool sales, and they have held up well. More recently I added a Burgmaster OB, and a 10" Ryobi drill press (that one has a tapping head installed, and is used strictly for tapping threads for folders). The Burgmaster is a 6 spindle turret drill press that just saves me tons of time...I can load it up with all the bits and reamers I need for a given project, and just go, without having to spend time changing out bits/reamers.

As has been mentioned, and based on my experiences, the only real difference between a less expensive, versus an expensive drill press, is longevity.

04-11-2010, 06:22 PM
Thanks for the answers. I will save some here and go with the cheaper ones.


04-11-2010, 07:27 PM
I have a small sears bench top model I purchased a Cross Slide Vise from HF to use with it. I use it with a router bit to cut the tang slots’ on small hidden tang bird and trout knifes.
Also if you are planing on using a drum sander be careful tape the blade with electrical tap and focus on what you are doing. I ended up in the er one day when the drum caught the knife and caught my finger between it and the blade if I hadn't had it taped it would have been much worse only 3 stitches.

04-11-2010, 09:34 PM
I use a small HF bench top with a 1/2" chuck, it works just fine and I use a 2" drill press vice from HF, it works great just make sure you are using quality bits.

Also if you go to HF hit me up with a PM with your email address and I will email you a 20% off coupon.