I have said before that an old rickety drill press is better than no drill press at all. In the photo above, I am using my Dad’s old Craftsman bench top drill press to do some deep mortising.
This drill press shakes worse than a wet dog; it shakes so much I feel like I need to call someone to help me keep everything in place. I am doing some mild exaggeration here, but in the photo above I am using several clamps while drilling some mortises. The clamps keep things secure while the drill press vibrates away. Old and rickety, but it still does the job (a new drill press will be my next power tool purchase).
I have heard recently two different podcasts which discuss high profile woodworkers who don’t have the latest and greatest table saw, or hand tool. Either old tools are being used or very rudimentary processes are being employed to make excellent furniture. I used to hide the fact that the drill press I use is so humble and old, but no longer. 🙂
As I work on the base for my router table, I need to make a number of mortise and tenon joints. I recently watched a really good video at FWW.com which shows Gregory Paolini using a plunge router to make a quick mortise. I also have seen Chris Schwarz using a drill press to remove stock for a dovetail joint (I love the large photo at the top of Chris’ post).
For my mortises, I had originally thought to make them using my router table – plunging stock onto a 1/4 inch spiral bit, but I need to make a 3/4 inch wide mortise 1 1/2 inch deep. The drill press is better suited for this and I happen to have a 3/4 inch forstner bit, so the drill press won out.
After using the drill press to remove most of the stock, I still needed to square up the mortises and cut the corresponding tenons. This involved work with some chisels and my block plane. Since I am very much a novice at this, fitting the tenons to the mortises took some time, but it only got a little tiresome. I’ll get faster at this with more practice.
Where the individual boards did not meet perfectly at the corners, I simply touched them up with my smoothing plane. I am really enjoying my hand planes (both of them).
Then it was time to start bringing some various items together – the parts in the photos above, the casters and I want to add a MDF panel to close off the base from the floor.
With the base completed, I want to fill the screw holes in the face frame while it is easy to move the router table around the shop. The process is pretty standard fare – I cut plugs using the drill press and glue the plugs in place. Then, the tricky part begins; how to trim the plugs flush and flat with the face frame surface. I use a pull saw, a chisel, my smoothing plane and sand paper and get very good results as shown below.
Time to add paint to the face frame and touch up some paint where I used the sander earlier in the build process. Again, the combination of high quality paint and a good quality brush make this process a lot of fun.
At this point, I need to add the dust port to the back; a step which would have been a lot easier if I had cut the hole for the port prior to gluing the back in place. But I think I have a good, but slightly complex method for doing this. It will involve my router and a pattern cutting bit. I am trying to resist buying a hole saw kit which I would not use very often. I will then begin working on the top which signals I am more than half way through this build. Stay tuned…
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