Drill Presses

Ember Knives

Well-Known Member
Hello all, any advice on getting a first drill press? Preferably one that's not so expensive and able to punch holes in sheaths? Thanks!
 

Owl

KNIFE MAKER
You could always pick up one of the mid-range Harbor Freight models.
They aren't the very best but they aren't priced like the best either.
For most things, especially making holes in sheaths, you don't need ultra precision.
You can save for a better drill press later when you need it, but the HF will let you get a lot of work done.
 

Sean Jones

Well-Known Member
I'll echo what Owl said. I had a Harbor Freight for about five years before I upgraded to my current drill press. The Harbor Freight isn't very accurate but it will do most things for you.
 

John Wilson

Well-Known Member
A decent, used 10 inch drill press will get you going very well. A 10 inch drill press is a substantial upgrade from an 8 inch.

Now, in the buy once cry once category: The best value I am aware of is the Porter Cable 12 or 14 inch floor model. It has a 1HP motor and a 4 inch travel stroke. This is a $400 machine, but there is nothing in that price range that compares to it that I was able to find.
 

opaul

Well-Known Member
A decent, used 10 inch drill press will get you going very well. A 10 inch drill press is a substantial upgrade from an 8 inch.

Now, in the buy once cry once category: The best value I am aware of is the Porter Cable 12 or 14 inch floor model. It has a 1HP motor and a 4 inch travel stroke. This is a $400 machine, but there is nothing in that price range that compares to it that I was able to find.
Ditto.
 

Owl

KNIFE MAKER
I bought this one about a year ago and have been using the heck out of it:
I was surprised that the TIR on the quill was only 0.001".
They also make one that is about half this price and I have used one of those also.
Not as heavy duty but basically worked well and would handle most jobs.
Not sure I'd get the $70 model unless punching holes in leather is all you plan to use it for.

Another place to look is Craigs list for a used machine.
 

TimGinMN

Well-Known Member
Depends on how you define "too expensive." Under $400?
Might check out Grizzly: https://www.grizzly.com/products/Grizzly-12-Speed-Heavy-Duty-Benchtop-Drill-Press/G7943
I have had good luck with a couple of other tools from them. But shipping adds $100.
I have an off-brand (Jason?) drill press and it is OK for wood and leather and soft metals. Haven't really put it to the test drilling SS and such. I like the built in light on it.
 
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EdCaffreyMS

Forum Owner - Moderator
The problem we have with drill presses these days is.... there are NO middle of the road options. You either buy the "bottom end", and hope it gets you by, or you spend THOUSANDS of dollars on a high end one, that is pretty much guaranteed to last for a few lifetimes.

If I had to purchase a drill press, I'd be looking for OLD used Wiltons, or Powermatics. Even older models of craftsman, skil, etc. (25+ years old) would be preferable to a new press. The new drill presses, along with most other power tools are simply not build to last. Cheaper castings, and smaller/weaker bearings are the common shortfalls.
 

Sean Jones

Well-Known Member
Depends on how you define "too expensive." Under $400?
Might check out Grizzly: https://www.grizzly.com/products/Grizzly-12-Speed-Heavy-Duty-Benchtop-Drill-Press/G7943
I have had good luck with a couple of other tools from them. But shipping adds $100.
I have an off-brand (Jason?) drill press and it is OK for wood and leather and soft metals. Haven't really put it to the test drilling SS and such. I like the built in light on it.
This is the drill press I have. I've had it for about a year and a half now. For the price I think it's an excellent choice.
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
Coming at it from a different angle, make sure which ever one you get has enough space to drill an upright handle block with a longer than normal drill bit. If not you will not be able to do hidden tang knives...Ask me how I know...
 

Doug Lester

Well-Known Member
I don't drill holes for sewing sheaths but lacing will probably require you do drill a the holes have to be larger, though you can use hand punches.

If you want to lay out holes for sewing all you need to do is to chuck up a large needle, something like drapery needle as large or maybe just a little larger the the needle(s) you will be sewing with. If you will be doing flat work like sewing a belt loop to the back of a sheath you will need to make a jig out of a small board that you've drilled a small hole in, around 1/2" that you'll place over the hole in the drill's table. You need to do this or pressing the needle through the leather will force it down into the hole in the table. If you are punching something that is not flat, like a pouch sheath that has been folded over and glued with the welt then you will need to make another hole just at the edge of the board so that the edge of the sheath can lay flat. You don't drill with the needle. You don't even turn the drill press on at all. You just chuck up the larger needle, making sure it is straight in the jaws, and you use the handles of the drill to press the needle through your work.

To get going lay out a groove where you want to place the stitches and lay out your holes with an overstitch wheel. There are two types of groovers, one has a guide that allows you follow the edge of the sheath as you cut an even groove and then there is one for free-handing a groove like when you are attaching the belt loop. With the edge groover you will cut you groove one one side of the edge and then, without changing any adjustments, follow the edge and cut the groove on the other side of the edge. You would again use the overstitch wheel to lay out your holes

If you are doing something where you free-hand the groove you will need to punch your holes and then go back to the inside of the sheath and cut a groove there following the pattern laid out by the needles. If you have laid out the grooves at the edge of the sheath the marks from the overstitcher wheel should line up with the groove on the other side of the sheath. If you have a hole that is off you can re-punch the hole with an awl and use a carving spoon to smooth out and hide the bad hole. That's why it is better to punch your holes for sewing rather than drill them. If you drill them you have cut a hole in the leather and there's nothing to do but start over.

To sew, learn the saddle stitch. It's all you will ever need to know. Also, unless you can hold the sheath with your toes while you sew it, get a stitching pony. It's a wooden clamp that you can sit on and hold the work as you sew.

Doug
 

Chris Railey

KNIFE MAKER
Also, unless you can hold the sheath with your toes while you sew it, get a stitching pony. It's a wooden clamp that you can sit on and hold the work as you sew.
Bwaaahahahahahaa, That is funny right there. Before I made a stitching pony I contemplated trying the toe hold. That is part of the reason I really do not make sheaths anymore.
 
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