Using a Plunge router as a drill press

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  • Using a Plunge router as a drill press

    Was considering for my workbench, a series of classic dog holes, 3/4" dia.
    To get them straight and perpendicular to the benchtop, I was considering drilling them with a plunge router. Researching what bit i would use, I even found MLCS recommends a bit #7498 for dog holes.

    http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shops...olid.html#2371

    Has anyone used a plunge router for this type of larger hole? I've seen them used for drilling the holes for adjustable shelving before, but those are only 1/4". What kind of trouble could I get in? the other choices would be a handheld drill with spade bit or a handheld drill with 3/4" Silver and Deming (reduced shank) twist bit. I can't figure out how to hold use drill press to do this except by holding the benchtop on the DP table, which doesn't seem too practical.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

  • #2
    I would mount the router on a wider substrate so it can be clamped down. Or, for drilling, you could use one of those drill guides for plunging, or, you could use one of the portable drill presses that a drill body clamps into. That too I would configure to be clamped down if possible.

    .

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    • #3
      I used the classic tool for this job: a brace and bit. Practice a few times with a combination square set up alongside for reference and you'll have no trouble getting them nice and straight.
      Larry

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      • #4
        One style of the portable drill press looks like this.
        http://www.bestdrillpress.com/Portable-Drill-Press.htm

        The plunge attachment for drills:
        http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?p...=drill%20guide

        A drill guide:
        http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?p...=drill%20guide

        .

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        • #5
          The OP had no mention of a desire to machine the holes with hand tools, but if that is a consideration, certainly they could be done with a hand brace. I've drilled more holes than I can count with a hand brace, and maintaining a perpendicular drilling angle isn't as easy as it sounds.

          With a guide set up, it can be near the axis of the brace, only if the brace is used for partial rotations of the handle. A full rotation (360 degrees) would require the guide to be clear of the rotation, putting it further away. In doing a series of holes would certainly be a workout of sorts.

          As much as I like using hand tools, and a hand brace method would work, I would prefer to do the holes with a powered tool set up to drill predictable perpendicular holes.

          .

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          • #6
            Originally posted by cabinetman View Post
            I used a Japanese version of that one for a work table that I made in Japan. Mine looks like a cross between this and this. Worked fine. I did use a Forstner bit for the holes. I also used the same plunger with my drill for bookshelf peg holes. Centering was easy and moving-setting up again was quick. Visibility/light for the area was very good also. I have found that with my PC routers, the base requires me to look in more at an angle and combined with the obscuring of the light makes it difficult to see the central dot/mark for alignment. I didn't have that problem with the plunge drill.
            Last edited by leehljp; 09-04-2011, 09:39 AM.
            Hank Lee

            Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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            • #7
              Is this a new workbench Loring? I'm with Lee on this. I would use the drill guide as well as haivng two straight edges on either side of it to register it along the length of the benchtop. I can't wait to see some pics of your bench
              I think in straight lines, but dream in curves

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              • #8
                When I drilled dog holes in my bench, I made a simple jig out of mdf and a chunk of 2" x 6" so that I could use a hand drill and a spade bit.

                1.) Root around in your offcut bin for a piece of 1/2" or 3/4" mdf or plywood that is about, oh, 12" x 16" more or less. This is your base.

                2.) Cut a chunk of 2" x 6" equal to the width of the base, and screw it flush to the edges and end of the base.

                3.) Mark your desired dog hole spacing for four dog holes that are parallel so that two are on the base, and two are on the piece of 2" x 6."

                4.) Use your drill press and a 3/4" bit (or a bit the size of your bench dogs) and drill the holes in your jig. The holes in the 2" x 6" will be your guide for perpendicular holes. The holes in the base will be used for positioning.

                5.) Clamp your jig to your bench so that the placement of your 2" x 6" holes are exactly where you want your first two dog holes. Drill them out with your hand drill and bit.

                6.) Unclamp, advance your jig, and then use two dogs in the holes of the base and in the two dog holes you just drilled. This sets the spacing for the next set of dog holes.

                7.) Drill the number of dog holes you want.
                Brian

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                • #9
                  The plunge router would be guided - I can run the base along a clamped down fence to drill all the holes in a perfectly straight line (these things matter to me) - just need to mark the fence every N inches to get the holes perfectly spaced (or use an indexer as someone noted).

                  Drill guide = $47 + shipping. Plunge router - already own (2 of them, actually);

                  So it the plunge router a good drill at that diameter? or is there something fundamentally wrong with it? probably a dozen holes to drill. I'd like them to be nice and clean.
                  Last edited by LCHIEN; 09-04-2011, 11:17 AM.
                  Loring in Katy, TX USA
                  If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                  BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cabinetman View Post
                    The OP had no mention of a desire to machine the holes with hand tools, but if that is a consideration, certainly they could be done with a hand brace. I've drilled more holes than I can count with a hand brace, and maintaining a perpendicular drilling angle isn't as easy as it sounds.

                    With a guide set up, it can be near the axis of the brace, only if the brace is used for partial rotations of the handle. A full rotation (360 degrees) would require the guide to be clear of the rotation, putting it further away. In doing a series of holes would certainly be a workout of sorts.

                    As much as I like using hand tools, and a hand brace method would work, I would prefer to do the holes with a powered tool set up to drill predictable perpendicular holes.

                    .
                    Right on. And Use a guided fence for accurate locations.
                    Loring in Katy, TX USA
                    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by cabinetman View Post
                      The OP had no mention of a desire to machine the holes with hand tools, but if that is a consideration, certainly they could be done with a hand brace. I've drilled more holes than I can count with a hand brace, and maintaining a perpendicular drilling angle isn't as easy as it sounds.

                      With a guide set up, it can be near the axis of the brace, only if the brace is used for partial rotations of the handle. A full rotation (360 degrees) would require the guide to be clear of the rotation, putting it further away. In doing a series of holes would certainly be a workout of sorts.

                      As much as I like using hand tools, and a hand brace method would work, I would prefer to do the holes with a powered tool set up to drill predictable perpendicular holes.

                      .
                      Fair enough, if that's your preference, use what suits your own abilities and comfort level. But it is really not hard, with a little bit of practice.

                      For a guide, I use a 6" double square. This is long enough to provide a solid frame of reference yet short enough that, contrary to what you claim, full rotations of the brace handle are possible. By the time the square has to be moved aside, the hole is either finished (this depends on the thickness of the benchtop) or sufficiently deep that the bit itself will hold it straight.

                      You are correct about one thing, though: a long row of dog holes can give one's arms a workout. Still, the satisfaction of having done a truly first-class job, by hand, makes it worth the effort.
                      Larry

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by LCHIEN View Post
                        Right on. And Use a guided fence for accurate locations.
                        A guided fence will keep the base of the router oriented in a straight line, and as you noted , indexing spacers. A 3/4" mortising bit will work fine, but check on a sample for the clearance left for the actual dowels or dogs you will use. I would still configure some type of hold down (or maybe that anti skid stuff on a roll...for drawers and shelves) to keep the router from jiggling around. All you need is just one hole to go wild and the top will look like heck.

                        .

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by LCHIEN View Post
                          Has anyone used a plunge router for this type of larger hole?
                          I did the dog holes in my bench with a 3/4" HSS spiral bit and a plunge router. I finished the holes with a 3/4" forstner in a hand drill. The SYP top was about 2 3/4" thick. I didn't have a 3/4" twist bit or auger bit, and there was no way I would take a spade near my bench. Using the edge guide with my router made sure the holes were in line with my end vice dog. I also clamped a 2x4 under the hole locations before I drilled to lessen tearout.
                          Erik

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by pelligrini View Post
                            I did the dog holes in my bench with a 3/4" HSS spiral bit and a plunge router. I finished the holes with a 3/4" forstner in a hand drill. The SYP top was about 2 3/4" thick. I didn't have a 3/4" twist bit or auger bit, and there was no way I would take a spade near my bench. Using the edge guide with my router made sure the holes were in line with my end vice dog. I also clamped a 2x4 under the hole locations before I drilled to lessen tearout.
                            Erik, why did you finish with the forstner? 2-3/4" too deep for the router bit I suspect?

                            So the HSS plunge router bit worked OK for the start of the hole?
                            Loring in Katy, TX USA
                            If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
                            BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yea, the 3/4" router bit I found locally had only about an 1 1/2" cutting edge. Woodcraft had this one in stock. It must have been some old stock though. They don't carry anything like it anymore. I don't think the staff knew they had one either. I saw it in the bottom of the case when looking at plunge bits. The price was decent. The carbide ones I found online were really pricey. I looked at some extensions, but they wouldn't work in a 3/4" hole. I don't think extensions are a very good idea either.

                              The router wasn't OK it was great; perpendicular and sharp cornered holes. I was apprehensive using a forstner in a handheld. After finishing off the first hole I had no problems doing it again. The smooth walls from the router bit guided the forstner with ease. The dust collector did a good job with the router chips. It went a lot cleaner than I thought it would.

                              This was my first proper bench with dogholes (workmates don't count). I did a fairly closely spaced string from front to back in line with my face vice on the left. I did another string close to the front edge in line with my end vice. The spacing for that string was spaced further apart. I did a couple more down the middle. I chose not to make my top look like swiss cheese right off the bat. I wanted to see where I would really need dog holes rather than bore way too many.

                              I've added a few over time, but not too much. For a while I would mark a spot or two in pencil where I would liked to have a hole for whatever I was working on. If the spot came up again I'd circle it. When I got around to breaking out the 3/4" plunge again I'd drill the circled marks and take a good look at the other marks. Some of the marks got erased.
                              Last edited by pelligrini; 09-04-2011, 10:31 PM.
                              Erik

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