drill press recommendations?

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New User
I am in the process of making cribbage boards. my friend has a metal template made for the holes. It seems like a good time to get a drill press. i was just going to pick up a new bench top model but i see some older standing models available on craigslist and it seems from reviews these older ones might be more desirable? I don't have the patience to do a big reworking of a machine but don't mind cleaning it up.

any recommendations?


Mark Gottesman

New User
I prefer older machines. I find they are often good to go with just a good cleaning. Bearings are often easy to find, inexpensive, and not hard to install. I took a look through the Raleigh Craigslist and this caught my eye. the cost to get an older tool in the shop and running often makes more sense to me than buying a new tool.


I also have a small Sears 8" drill press that has pulleys to do both metal and wood. It is more than adequate for small hole drilling, but not for larger Fostner.


Our own Joe Scharle has a great Shopfox radial drill press listed in out classified's right now. (I have personally used it on occasion and its a great machine.



Just be aware that with radial drill presses you have to take much more care to ensure the drill head remains perpendicular to the table -- something you don't often have to worry with on the average drill press unless you routinely alter the table angle (most do not and leave the table physically locked at 0 degrees).

On the other hand, if you routinely need to drill holes on odd angles, for whatever reason, then a radial drill press becomes the tool to seek. Just remember to regularly check the drill head for perpendicularity to the table from time to time for your more routine needs.

I tend to look at radial drill presses as a good complement to a standard upright drill press, but not necessarily the best first line drill press for routine everyday use. Though, if you take regular care to maintain alignment then they are nonetheless capable of anything a standard upright drill press can do, plus a few other tricks. But, still, it would be *my* second drill press purchase rather than my first. YMMV


For a primary workhorse drill press in a typical woodworking shop, most any stationary upright drill press of respectable manufacture in the working depth range between 15-17" with a 3/4HP motor, a broad range of selectable speeds from as low as a hundred or so RPM up to several thousand RPM with a quality 1/2" to 5/8" Jacobson chuck will serve you well pretty much no matter who makes it. Depending on the work you do, you may rule in or out some models based upon the maximum quill travel (drilling depth) -- I opted for a (Steel City) model with 6-1/8" quill travel so that I can drill deep holes in a single pass, but many drill presses have far more limited quill travel (some models have less than 3").

If you are mechanically inclined and don't mind possibly repairing tools then used can be a great way to go, particularly if replacement parts are still readily available. Drill presses are relatively simple tools, so as long as no irreplaceable parts are damaged there usually is not a whole lot to go wrong unless it was poorly maintained and inadequately lubricated.

But there are also a lot of respectable choices on the new market from Powermatic, Jet, Steel City, Grizzly, and similar manufacturers. Much of the price variation between models relates to improved features and, especially in the case of Powermatic, initial fit and finish quality which can vary considerably between the economy lines and the premium models.


Staff member
Corporate Member
I have a Rikon radial drill press. Ethan is right about checking the angles but when you need an odd angle or need more depth (front to back) it is hard to beat.

dino drosas

Corporate Member
I thought the same and got a vertical mill. Didn't really like it so I replaced it with an old heavy duty Clausing drill press and restored it. RPMs were a good bit too high so I replaced the motor with a three phase motor and added a VFD. Now I have the option of choosing any speed that is suited for the job.



Corporate Member
So far, I have zero complaints with the Wen 10" Variable Speed drill press I picked up new for $180 shipped a couple weeks ago. Chuck was defective but they shipped a new out quick. (It looks old in the photo as I then forgot about it in the rain after cleaning in thinner and thus then had to soak it in vingear to remove the resulting rust! lol) Next step is a table for the press.

Only feature it is missing in my book is a quill lock.


Reviews are good on Amazon and I can testify to their customer service.

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