Making A Simple Drill Press Table Homemade Machines & Jigs

I made this drill press table about nine years ago:

And I’m rewriting this article to replace the original one I wrote back then, because I’ve also remade the table as well. This new one is not much different – a bit bigger and the fence is improved:

The new one with a new fence design:

I got rid of the replaceable insert in the middle:

Over the nine years using the table, I never once replaced the insert. Instead I use a sacrificial backer, usually a scrap of plywood:

That gets replaced quite often – two or three times per year.

You might want to watch the build video before getting into the details on the project:

The first step was to remove the old table and check the accuracy of the metal table. I used a piece of 1/2″ rod chucked in the drilled and an accurate square:

When I made the original, I also scratched a vertical line on the column and used a small piece of self adhesive measuring tape to mark the table support position:

This tells me at a glance whether the table is centered in relation to the head.

Getting the table lined up perfectly is not necessary, it just has to be close enough. I drew a center line on the new top and used a brad point bit to position it:

I want it as close to the column as possible, without actually touching it.

I sighted down to the base to line up the table parallel to that:

Once again, it doesn’t have to be precise. When it was lined up, I reached underneath and drew a line around the metal table to mark its position.

I cut block of hardwood to clamp the new top to the metal table and cut V notches in them to fit around the bolts:

These blocks also hold the top in place laterally while a pair of shorter ones hold it in place from front to back.

Two counterbores for the carriage bolts that hold the top on and a 3/4″ hole in the middle:

Lining the locator blocks up with the mark on the bottom and gluing them in place:

I used the carriage bolt, washer and nut to clamp the block while the glue set.

Not sure how often I’ll use these, but I found while using the original that it was often difficult to clamp parts far enough in to hold them securely. So this one has a pair of 2″ holes for clamps:

After the glue dried I tried it on the metal table, but found it was a little tight. I shaved a bit off of one of the locator blocks with a sharp chisel:

And then it fit:

The Fence

The fence is a bit more complex. I started with the sub fence – a piece of spruce cut down to size and made sure that it sat square to the new top:

Using one of my homemade squares for that. This part can also be made from two layers of 1/2″ plywood glued together.

The face parts for the fence are 1/2″ plywood and the tall one needs a notch cut on both ends. I did that on the table saw, cutting in part way:

And then finishing the cut using my mini table saw sled:

The biggest change on this new fence is the stop block arrangement. The face parts form a T track for an ordinary toilet bolt to fit into:

The lower parts also have a notch along the bottom for chip clearance:

Those are optional, though.

Assembling the fence with glue and pins to hold the parts in line:

It’s important to check to make sure the toilet bolt slides freely in the slots before clamping it up:

All four of my power wedge clamps in action, along with four of my (now) backup metal clamps.

The parts that clamp the fence to the top are fairly small, so I like to cut them off of longer stock after drilling the counterbores and holes:

Much safer that way. The clamps assembled:

And the fence installed on the top with the stop block in place:

And here is an application of those clamp holes:

Again, I’m not sure how often I’ll use them but they are there if I need them. That’s very much the case for the fence, since I don’t use that often, either.

I didn’t put any finish on the original and it held up just fine. It got a bit dirty and that’s what I mainly looking to prevent by clear coating the new one:

It’s worth pointing out that a table like this may make it difficult to use the lift / lower crank. I extended mine for the original, but another option is to pad the top up with layers of plywood on the metal table:

In an upcoming project I’ll be changing the crank arrangement again, to extend in out past the side of the table.

There are easy to follow step by step plans available for this project:

Drill Press Table Plans