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Using a router as a vertical drill press


Steve Luke

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You know when you need to drill holes absolutely vertically. It's fine if they're near the edge of the body beacuse you can use a drill press or similar. The problem I have is when I want to drill holes further to the centre of teh body, and the throat of the drill press doesn't give me enough reach over the workpiece.

So I need to drill the holes for the strings to pass through a solid body fitted with a strat-type hardtail bridge. Would it be possible to use a router as a "movable drill press" with a drill bit (say 1/4) fitted into the collet? I've always heard that using a router for drilling was not recommended, But recently I saw that Trend do a range of drill bits specifically for the router. Do I need to use these only or could I use a regular drill bit? Alternatively could I use a straight router bit of the correct diameter and just plunge straight down to make larger holes (bridge / tailpiece studs, for example)?

Look forward to your comments

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Steve....I would not recommend using a twist drill bit or any other drill bit in a router unless it was specifically designed for that use. You have to remember, that a router is spinning at up to 20,000rpms....if that steel bit breaks up, you potentially have a very big on your hands.....no pun intended! If you can't drill the holes using a drill press, and you have to have these holes drilled exactly perpendicular....There is an inexpensive attachment to turns a hand drill into a hand held drill press. It bolts or screws onto the collar behind the chuck and has a mechanism similar to a plunge router's. If you have the $$$$$, Buy yourself a bigger drill press......You will find it invaluable in the long run. You can probably pick up a used 14 incher for $150.

Greg

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dido, use the hand drill attachment, or sell your drill press and get a bigger one...

CT020.jpg

something like that where you can move the drill press in and out would be ideal...

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As a temporary, cheap alternative to a new drill press, take a block of squared up hardwood, such as maple and drill guide holes of the proper diameter in it with your drill press. Then use it to align your hand drill on the guitar. It is tricky to drill in just the right spot, but if you make carefull measurements it should work well. After you have used the guide a few times it will get sloppy and you can make a new one. for the string through holes you could make a guide that spaces all 6 strings precisely, using the drill press.

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well... If you ABSOLUTELY must use a router for drilling, and I am NOT by any means speaking from experience because I think it is absolutely nuts... harbor freight tools makes a piece that allows you to vary the speed that your router runs. I do not know how slow it will let you go, but it may get you closer to the speed that you will need to successfully accomplish what you need to do...

Here's a Link

Here is what is SUGGESTED though...

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I like DannoG's idea. I'd take it one step further, and drill your bridge mounting holes through it. In other words, place your bridge baseplate over the wood, (hardwood like maple) and drill all the holes, not just the string through holes. That way you can use the bridge mounting holes with some longer screws to screw your template to the body, locking it in place. And since you've used the actual baseplate, you should have perfect alignment when you install the bridge. I can't endorse using a router. I have that adjustable depth drill press that kd has pictured, and it's the greatest. If you're going to upgrade your drill press, definitely get one like that rather than one that's just barely big enough for bridge holes.

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