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Drill Press

For years, we've wanted a drill press so that we could drill perfectly aligned holes. We finally bought one, and we're as happy as can be. While hand drills and power drills are handy, nothing beats a drill press for uniform drilling.

When comparing models, look for the total distance the drill bit will travel (called "spindle travel") -- this determines how deeply the drill can penetrate (of course, this is also limited by the length of the bit that is exposed). A greater distance may also save you time when you drill holes that near the length of your bit since you won't have to worry about positioning the platform to minimize excess clearance between the piece you are drilling and the bottom of the bit.

You also want to look at the depth between the drill bit and the support column holding up the drill head (called the "throat capacity"). This distance restricts how far from the edge of a piece you can drill. When you buy a 9-inch drill press, this is the measurement they are referring to.

The other factors to look at are horsepower

and speed. Most presses allow you to change the speed with a trade off in torque (higher the speed, the lower the torque). You want to have a higher power motor if you intend to do deep, large holes in tough materials like oak without the bit binding or stopping.

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