Bits for drill press

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Forum topic by bill66 posted 08-15-2018 09:54 PM 593 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 1257 days

08-15-2018 09:54 PM

I recently purchased a jet drill press with 1/2 horse motor and did not pay close enough attention to the spindle speed. To my chagrin the slowest speed on the variable speed machine is 530 rpm. What is the largest forstner bit I can run? Is there a work around for larger bits such as pausing during drilling?
Thank you for your help.

-- bill66

7 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2532 posts in 974 days

#1 posted 08-15-2018 10:01 PM

Bill, I don’t know the “correct” speed for a Forstner to be effective.
but, for me, I get better results with a fast RPM and constant
downward force – really pushing down on the bit. I have forstners up to 2”.
slow speeds and hesitating creates a hot bit and smoke – not good.
practice with your tools will put you in the comfort zone of your skill level.
and of course, a really sharp bit helps.

jus my Dos Centavos



-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View Woodknack's profile


13444 posts in 3191 days

#2 posted 08-15-2018 10:01 PM

Google, “drill bit speed chart” you’ll find about a thousand and two charts covering all sorts of bits.

-- Rick M,

View TheFridge's profile


10859 posts in 2297 days

#3 posted 08-15-2018 10:11 PM

600 sounds plenty low enough to make it work.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View BurlyBob's profile


7728 posts in 3076 days

#4 posted 08-15-2018 11:29 PM

Another thing for certain. Make darn sure your Forstner bits are sharp. I use a 3” bit frequently and I’ve found I need to keep it sharp, real sharp. Speaking of that I need to give it some love tomorrow.

View bill66's profile


12 posts in 1257 days

#5 posted 08-16-2018 01:05 AM

Great comments from everyone. Sounds like my concerns were unfounded. Thank you

-- bill66

View ArtMann's profile


1480 posts in 1627 days

#6 posted 08-16-2018 03:02 AM

Your problem is horsepower, not rpm. It takes a lot of power to cut easily with a big Forstner bit. I cut 2.25 – 3 inch holes for mounting clock movements in hardwood at 640 rpm. My drill press motor is 1 horsepower and it isn’t a bit overpowered. I could stall the motor fairly easily if I tried. I agree with BurlyBob that a sharp bit makes a world of difference.

View robscastle's profile


7239 posts in 3015 days

#7 posted 08-16-2018 09:18 AM

500 RPM or thereabouts is as slow ay you will get.

Needed to make hundreds of these suckers.

Initial attempts to use a forstner bit in a drill press failed, too slow too hard.
Gave up, ... and used a router, template guide and bushing

The template guide

The result.

-- Regards Rob

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