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Thread: Drilling straight holes without a drill press?

  1. #1
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    Drilling straight holes without a drill press?

    Like I have said in my first post on this site, I am fairly new to woodworking. Therefore my tool setup is pretty limited especially when it comes to large machinery. I do not own a drill press and really can't afford one at the moment. What is the best way to drill consistantly straight holes with a hand-held drill?

  2. #2
    Practice, practice, practice!

    Two ideas. One, do you have a speed square or other right angle tool? If so, place it it front of your drill and line up your drill so it is lined up in all directions (left/right, front /back). Second, Sears and others make a little drill press attachment that you hook on to any power drill. I have one, I think it cost $25 and it has saved my neck countless times. Here is one:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004T82L

  3. #3
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    3rd idea;
    Take a metal or plastic mirror and drill a hole in the center.
    Put it over where you want to drill and align to plumb using the mirror.
    Never, under any circumstances, combine a sleeping pill, and laxative on the same night.

  4. #4
    If you're drilling horizontally, try using a drill with a built in level. The bubble will line you up vertically, and it is not too hard to line yourself up horizontally by eye.

  5. #5
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    I use a device similar to the one that Dan K posted. Mine does not have the tilting option. I usually use mine in places where straight holes are critical. I am lousy at drilling straight with a hand held drill and have recently observed a few professionals that aren't any better.
    David B

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by David G Baker View Post
    I use a device similar to the one that Dan K posted. Mine does not have the tilting option. I usually use mine in places where straight holes are critical. I am lousy at drilling straight with a hand held drill and have recently observed a few professionals that aren't any better.
    Mine has the tilting feature, but I haven't tried any angles over 3 deg. It sure has saved my bacon on things too big for the DP.

  7. #7
    I have the older version of this Craftsman drill guide.

    "Remember back in the day, when things were made by hand, and people took pride in their work?"
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  8. #8
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    Expensive but...

    the Bridge City Tools DJ-1 is a really cool. Check out the videos on their site. It may be what your looking for. It is expensive but I think that it is worth every penny.

  9. #9
    That stuff's all fancy and costs $.

    If you can get a block of wood of appropriate thickness that has two sides parallel, then drill a hole perpendicularly through it, you will have a 'jig' that will drill straight holes for you. As a bonus you can control the depth for stopped holes if desired.

    Dan

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Shea View Post
    Like I have said in my first post on this site, I am fairly new to woodworking. Therefore my tool setup is pretty limited especially when it comes to large machinery. I do not own a drill press and really can't afford one at the moment. What is the best way to drill consistantly straight holes with a hand-held drill?
    Drilled something like 30+ 4" deep 3/4" bench dog holes in my solid ash benchtop and only used 2 squares to site the bit and get it going straight.

    This method is surprisingly accurate with a bit of practice. There was a time when drill presses, drill guides, didn't exist. Same technique can be used with a bevel gauge for drilling angled holes.

    If you need to drill alot of the same hole consider just making a jig with a bushing/bearing sized to fit the bit.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCallum View Post
    That stuff's all fancy and costs $.

    If you can get a block of wood of appropriate thickness that has two sides parallel, then drill a hole perpendicularly through it, you will have a 'jig' that will drill straight holes for you. As a bonus you can control the depth for stopped holes if desired.

    Dan
    +1 for the speed square.......I own a 17" floor model drill press and when I use my hand held drill and it has to be perfect, I still pull out the speed square.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan McCallum View Post
    That stuff's all fancy and costs $.

    If you can get a block of wood of appropriate thickness that has two sides parallel, then drill a hole perpendicularly through it, you will have a 'jig' that will drill straight holes for you. As a bonus you can control the depth for stopped holes if desired.

    Dan
    I use this method when I can not get the piece to the drill press. works very well.

  13. #13
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    the Bridge City Tools DJ-1 is a really cool. Check out the videos on their site. It may be what your looking for. It is expensive but I think that it is worth every penny.
    I watched the video and thought that I had to have one, that was until I checked the website! $400-$500?! Yikes, I might as well buy a drill press for that kind of money.

    I like the idea of making my own drilling jigs and putting metal bushings in them of the proper sizes, problem being is that for a perfectly accurate hole I would need a drill press. I have done ok with setting up squares in all directions while drilling but have to seriously take my time with it, checking all directions constantly. Even then there are some holes that become too far off.

    I guess my best option would be to find someone with a press and use it to drill me a bunch of different size jigs with metal bushings as guides. This seems to be the cheapest and most accurate route at the moment. I'm really concerned when the time comes to drill my Bench Dog holes once my top is completed.

    While I'm at it, does someone have a link to where I can find a reasonably priced 3/4" upcut router bit? Most I have seen stop at 1/2".

  14. Quote Originally Posted by Tony Shea View Post
    I like the idea of making my own drilling jigs and putting metal bushings in them of the proper sizes, problem being is that for a perfectly accurate hole I would need a drill press.
    Lee Valley sells bushings, I assume others do too. You could make a good hole for the bushing with a plunge router.

  15. #15
    If you have a combo square you can remove the ruler and place the head long edge down onto your work piece. Use the groove as a guide for your bit.

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