Drill presses are designed for working with metal, not wood. That’s why, 10 years ago, I screwed an old scrap of 3/4-in. treated plywood to the metal table so I could screw down or clamp stops and fences. Frankly, I was embarrassed by it and finally built this dedicated woodworking drill press table. Mine is a bit over the top, with dadoes, plastic laminate and T-Tracks. Tackle it if you wish. The truth is, you could make a quick and easy top by bolting two glued layers of particleboard to the cast-iron table from the underside. You can screw or clamp temporary stops and fences to that and have a serviceable table. But your table won’t be as fetching or as easy to use as mine.
Fence: A semicircular clearance hole for the chuck allows for drilling holes that are close to the fence.
Throat plate: An inset 1/2-in. replaceable throat plate takes the abuse so the top won’t have to.
T-Tracks: T-Tracks are universally useful gizmos that allow you to endlessly adjust jigs, fences and hold-downs. On this table, they’re used for a sliding fence and hold-downs.
Laminate: Plastic laminate on both the top and bottom will keep the top from warping with humidity changes.
Edging: A hardwood edge-banding protects the rather delicate core from getting dinged up—plus, it’s pretty.
Here’s an overview of the construction process. Glue 1-in. oversized particleboard panels together, then cut them to size on the table saw. Edge-band both sides of the table, then belt-sand the top so the hardwood is flush with the surfaces. Cut the laminate squares 1 in. oversize and apply them with contact cement. Then rout the laminate squares flush with a flush-trim bit and chamfer them with a 45-degree bit. Rout out the 1/2-in.-deep recess for the throat plate.
Cut the 3/4-in.-wide dadoes on the table saw. Cut the clearance hole on the fence with a 2-1/2-in. hole saw on the drill press. Screw the fence together before applying the laminate, then rout that as you did with the tabletop.
Lag screws (1-1/2 x 5/16 in.) and washers work great for securing your new top to the existing drill press table. The instructions with the T-Track will tell you the rest.