Woodworking Wednesday: Changing Bits and Speeds on a Drill Press

Welcome back to another episode of Woodworking Wednesday! Both carpenter Dan and I hope you had a great week off. Hopefully you used some of your free time to get to know your drill press! Even if you didn’t, now is a great time to keep learning with this weeks episode focusing on two of the most basic yet critical skills pertaining to a drill press: changing the speed and changing the bit.

Understanding which speed to use on your drill press is essential to not only getting a clean cut, but also operating a safe woodworking environment. Actually choosing the speed of your press is based on three main things: hardness of material being drilled, desired hole size, and the type of bit that you are using to drill. Generally speaking, as the hardness of the material increases, the recomended speed of drill operation decreases. It is important to note that as long as you aren’t using a bit smaller than 1/16”, you will not hurt anything by cutting at a slower than recommended speed. If you are not comfortable with operating a press at higher speeds, it is more than acceptable to slow the machine down.

Choosing your drill bit is a much simpler process than speed of operation. There are thousands of different bits available for use, but they can be broken into three main categories: wood, metal and masonry. From these three categories, there are three more subcategories: twist bits, spade bits and hole saws. Twist bits being your standard bits used for drilling holes in primarily metal and wood. Spade bits are great for cutting through wood much more quickly than a twist bit. Finally, hole saws are used to drill holes of a larger diameter through metal, wood and even masonry.

These two key skills are quite necessary for any aspiring carpenter to help improve their woodworking both in quality and safety. Thanks for watching and stay tuned for next weeks edition of Woodworking Wednesday!