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Woodworker Friendly Drill Presses

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For eons, woodworkers have had to abide with drill presses designed primarily for metalworking. But no more, thanks to new woodworking drill presses from Delta and Powermatic. Both machines have super-wide tables that are easy to clamp to and provide better support for long pieces, such as table legs or cabinet sides. Their tables have replaceable center inserts for blow-out-free exit holes and miter slots for attaching jigs and fixtures. Both machines have lasers that pinpoint the center of the hole, digital rpm readout and mechanical variable-speed control systems that make it easy to dial in the proper speed for the bit and the material.

The Delta 20-959LX ($949) has two speed ranges, from 150 to 1,100 rpm and from 500 to 3,200 rpm. Its super-low speed capability is great for large-diameter Forstner bits. In addition to indicating speed, Delta's digital readout also indicates drilling depth, which is helpful when you want to drill stopped holes. Its impressive 24-in.-wide x 14-in.-deep table tilts up to 45 degrees forward, as well as left and right. Forward tilt adds versatility. For example, it's useful for drilling angled holes in long pieces that otherwise would hit the column. The 20-959LX is a large machine, with a 20-in swing, a 6-in. stroke and a 1-hp motor. It comes equipped with an adjustable incandescent task light. A fence is available as an accessory. The Powermatic 2800 ($799) comes with an adjustable fence and a keyless chuck that works great and has enough bite to hold large-diameter Forstner bits. Its 16-in. x 14-in. table tilts left and right and expands to 26 in. wide with the wings open. This machine has an 18-in. swing, a 4-3/8-in. stroke and a 1-hp motor. Its variable-speed setting ranges from 400 to 3,000 rpm. It comes with built-in LED work lights and quill handles that can be mounted on the left or right side of the head.