My Garage/Work Shop Makeover #13: Drill Press Makeover

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Blog entry by MT_Stringer posted 08-13-2013 08:46 PM 6089 reads 7 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 12: Dust Collection for the sanders Part 13 of My Garage/Work Shop Makeover series Part 14: New Drill Press Table »

I have been really busy lately building a couple of my coolers. The miter saw station is working out great. I still have to make drawer fronts and install them and finalize the dust collection system.

So, I looked around and realized my drill press was just in the way with no easy way of moving it without literally picking it up and moving it onto the work table.

So, I devised a plan. :-) After browsing the internet and checking out projects fellow LJ’ers have posted, I decided to build a stand with several drawers to hold all of my stuff.

  • Drill bits of varying style, size – some of which are in cases and some are loose in the drawer.
  • Forstner bits – some in a case, some loose and a couple are really big.
  • Hole saws – up to 5 inches in diameter.
  • Assorted accessories like key chucks chamfer bits and other misc stuff I have collected over the years.

Here is what I started with. A bench top drill press from Northern tool with 3/4HP motor sitting on a B&D Workmate. I had previously built a table for the drill press but it is going to be replaced by the one described in ShopNotes Issue #94.

I didn’t have enough plywood so I bought a sheet of Maple at Lowe’s. I had a $10 discount card so that helped.

I cut two sides, a top and a bottom piece and a couple of pieces for the back. Also, I attached a 1/2 inch wide piece across the top and a three inch piece across the bottom in the front. The two raw edges were covered with some 3/4 inch maple I had in the scrap pile.

I cut the sheet down to rough size with a track saw. I doubled when I cut the sides. :-)

Before doing any assembly, I decided how many drawers and what size I would need. That turned out to be fairly easy. I will build all four drawers 4 inches deep. That means the bottom drawer will actually be a tray to hold my two vises and whatever else I can pile in there. :-)

Next up was assembly of the mobile base purchased from Harbor freight. Twenty percent off made it $31 and some change. I have the same base on my band saw so this should have been a breeze. Right? Not hardly.

I followed the directions and milled a 2×4 into 1 1/4×1 1/4 pieces. Then I cut them according to instructions. A trial fit showed everything was too short. So I cut the long ones shorter and made two new long sides. I guess I was just goofy because the instructions are correct . The side boards must be cut so the rear wheels can fit into the frame. :-(

After putting this thing together and taking it apart several times, I finally got a good fit. The only problem is the front casters weren’t high enough to provide enough ground clearance for my very unlevel concrete garage floor. So, I took them off and added a couple of washers to each one (front casters). that solved the problem and it moves easily around the shop.

One additional step I took was to drill a hole in each of the corner brackets so I could bolt the cabinet to each piece. A 5/16 inch bolt/washer/nut has the cabinet securely mounted in place. I marked the holes with masking tape and drew an arrow to each one. I drilled these. They weren’t part of the kit.

I made a top for the stand from part of a solid core door which was left over from when I built my work table. It is 1 3/4 inch thick. I trim it slightly to get the sides even, then I attached an edge band made of 1/2 inch Baltic Birch. Still making use of the stuff I have available to use. since the door has a particle board core, I used a goodly ( :-) ) amount of glue, countersunk screws and lots of clamps. Hopefully it will stay together for a long time. I covered the top with some white Formica I had on hand. After all was said and done, I trimmed the Formica, then ran a chamfer bit around the top to ease the sharp edge.

Here is the cabinet painted and installed on the base.

And VOILA! My job here is complete! Well, almost. I still have drawers to build and the table. Note that I mounted the drill press to the stand by bolting through the top and the plywood top of the stand by using 3/8 inch x 5 inch bolts/ washers/lock washers and nuts. BTW, this setup is really stable. That had been my main concern from the very beginning.

And I just devised a plan to make an adapter so I can bolt my bench vise to the drill press base! :-) I sent my buddy a note requesting for a piece of plate to make an adapter. He usually has all sorts of stuff laying around his shop also!

Hope you liked this post. i will post pics of the table build when I get it going.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

10 comments so far

View DaddyZ's profile


2475 posts in 4493 days

#1 posted 08-13-2013 09:56 PM

Once you get the Back on there will be even more stability.

Nice Job !!

-- Pat - Worker of Wood, Collector of Tools, Father of one

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4683 days

#2 posted 08-13-2013 11:11 PM

Thanks Pat. I haven’t decided whether or not to add a back. Especially now that it is all bolted together. It is plenty solid as is. The two boards across the back are 6 inches wide each, glued and pocket screwed to the sides, top and bottom.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View whitebeast88's profile


4128 posts in 3643 days

#3 posted 08-14-2013 02:17 AM

very nice,i need to build something like this for my planer.great work,thanks for sharing!!

-- Marty.Athens,AL

View dbhost's profile


5906 posts in 4684 days

#4 posted 08-14-2013 02:26 AM

You had me until the paint on maple ply… It looks good, I just happen to be rather fond of maple grains…

Aside from the personal preference issue though, it looks like you have done a good job so far.. Tthe proof so to speak will be in the puddin once a back and drawers get on there…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4683 days

#5 posted 08-14-2013 02:35 AM

If you look closely, there is something black in the bottom of the stand. It’s two small saddle bags filled with sand. I had them left over from my photography days to anchor my light stands. Now they add about 20 additional pounds to the lower part of the stand. :-)

I have a 5 inch drill press milling vise and a 4 inch drill press vise destined to occupy the bottom tray.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4683 days

#6 posted 08-14-2013 02:40 AM

“You had me until the paint on maple ply… It looks good, I just happen to be rather fond of maple grains…”

:-) All the new stuff is getting painted. I never claimed to be a fine furniture maker. :-) The paint makes the little boo boos less noticeable. heh heh.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View David Dean's profile

David Dean

608 posts in 4351 days

#7 posted 08-14-2013 04:21 AM

nice work

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1133 posts in 4426 days

#8 posted 08-14-2013 04:24 AM

great shop improvement project!

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4256 days

#9 posted 08-17-2013 12:41 AM

Ya gotta luv that pocket hole joinery. Nice cabinet

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View MT_Stringer's profile


3183 posts in 4683 days

#10 posted 09-04-2013 05:23 AM

And now for aan update.
I finally finished the cabinet for the drill press.
I built the drawers and installed a 1/2 inch plywood back.
I made drawer fronts, added knobs and painted all to match.
I am loving it. Rock solid!

Note: I also made a base for the bench vise and it is bolted to the drill press base. Loosen the bolts and the vise can be moved to my work bench and bolted down for heavy duty work.
Here are some pics of the drawers. I now have all of my drilling tools and accessories in one place.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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