Guitar Making Tip No. 814


Guitar Making Tip Number 814 is about drill press safety. Never, ever hand hold a piece of wood on the drill press. You are not fast enough to react if the bit catches, and you are not strong enough to hold on when it does. Here is what you can do instead.

Guitars and the Drill Press

guitar making tip number 814There are a number of times that a drill pres will be used when making a guitar. Sure, you can use a hand drill, but a drill press will deliver a much more accurate hole.

It can be tempting to hand hold the piece as it sits on the table top. After all, most of the time people hand hold pieces they are drilling with a hand drill.

The drill press is different. Even a nice hand drill gives up before a plugged-in standing power tool, and the power difference can be misleading.

Just about anyone can hold the chuck of their battery powered electric drill and stop it from rotating. This is not the case with a corded drill press. The difference in torque is astounding, and the drill can take you for a ride really quickly. Here is what you can do instead…

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Invest In Drill Press Hold Downs

There are many options for holding devices on the drill press. They range in design and price, but some of the best work like one sided locking pliers. These attach to the table top of the drill press, and then are actuated with a handle.

When clamped, the handle is pressed down and the other end holds the piece. You can find these with rubber boots too. They protect your piece from damage and still offer the holding power that any other clamp would.

The advantage to having these on the drill press is that you are free to worry about the hole you are drilling, rather than the piece coming loose. I learned this lesson the hard way, you can’t hold a small piece of wood when the drill catches. It’s just too strong.

The Other Advantage to Hold Downs

The hidden advantage to hold downs on the drill press is freedom. When you free up your holding hand, you can do more with it. Making fine adjustments, brushing away debris, or anything else. The hand is free, so make good use of it.

Any time that you can free up more hands the better. This is a common theme among all power tools. One in particular is the router table. When you use a table, you free up both hands to work the piece.

This new found freedom of movement will help you make better drill holes. Sometimes it can be a challenge to drill and hold at the same time. Now that your hands are free to move around, you can use them to ensure that you are drilling accurately, and with less worry.

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Guitar Making Tip No. 814 Wrap-Up

Don’t hand hold small pieces on the drill press. It’s just not safe. Not only will you never see it coming when something catches, but you will not be able to react fast enough to let it go, or hold strongly enough to force the bit to behave.

Hand holding is a bad deal all around. Thankfully, you can buy a number of hold downs that attach to the drill press. These are great for taking the holding out of your hands, and giving you the freedom to worry about making a good drill hole.

If you have any questions about Guitar Making Tip No. 814, please leave a comment and I will be glad to answer them. Happy building.

Additional Information About Westfarthing Woodworks

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Tip No. 814 is from my book, 1,001 Acoustic Guitar Making Tips for Beginners, which has a thousand more great tips to get your first few builds on the right track. There is no secret to guitar making, just a lot of small things that you need to get right. These tips will help you.


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