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Drill presses: how much quill stroke?

wilburpan's picture

I was reading about drill presses, and came across a recent article that asserted that a quill stroke of 4" was the minimum one should consider. Most of the drill presses reviewed in that article had a quill stroke in the 3.5-3.75" range.

My question is, why 4"? I realize more is better because you'll be able to drill a deeper hole, but is there something magic about the 4" mark? I am having a hard time picturing a project that would require holes that deep. The only example that comes to mind is drilling holes for a through mortise in a table leg 4" thick, but that would be an awfully thick table leg.

JohnWW's picture

(post #99750, reply #1 of 5)

Bigger is better when it comes to stroke size but there is nothing special about the 4 inch capacity.  I would rate distance from the column to the chuck as being more important, since I've often been stymied by that distance being too small.

John White, Shop Manager, Fine Woodworking Magazine

John White Shop Manager for FWW Magazine, 1998 to 2007

mufti's picture

(post #99750, reply #2 of 5)

           A good many years back I did get round that by hanging one upside down over my bench after turning the head over. Not now, I can barely lift the quill on the present floor drill.

oldusty's picture

(post #99750, reply #3 of 5)

Hi wilburpan ,

                     From my own experience this is what I think . A 2x4 is a fairly standard unit of reference , therefore drilling a hole through it or any other about the same width is going to happen . Try drilling a hole through the width of a 2x4 and you will see the wisdom of a bit more stroke on the quill.



Routerman's picture

(post #99750, reply #4 of 5)

Often many drilling operations required on the same hole. I.E. pilot, through, chamfer, tap etc.

None of these tools are the same length. 4" drills are typical, 5-7" length also not uncommon. It would be nice if you don't have to reset the table height when tapping for example. Do that, and you lose your center (on clamped stock). 4-6" quill travel for multiple drilling application on the same hole is essential.

Drill a few brad pointed holes in wood, and it matters not.


Drills & Routs

GHR's picture

(post #99750, reply #5 of 5)

Most production machines allow the head (or the table) of the drill press move up and down without changing the alignment of the head to the table.

(The head slides up and down on dovetailed ways. A splined shaft transfers power from the gear box to the chuck.)