How to Use a Drill Press Vise the Right Way – Quick Guide

Whether you use a drill press as a DIYer or as a professional woodworker, you should be familiar with using a drill press vise and know how to do this properly.
Only in this way can you safely get started with the drill press. That is why you are about to discover how to use a drill press vise the correct way here:

You can use a drill press vise in just 5 simple steps:
#1 Mark the drill point,
#2 Position the workpiece correctly
#3 Clamp properly
#4 Attach the vise to the drill press the right way
#5 Drill the hole.

A drill press generates a lot of force that can cause the workpiece to swing away, so it is good to use a solid clamping device on these drills. In this article, you can read step by step how to use a drill press vise correctly.

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What is a drill press vise?

How to use a drill press vise - Drill press vise
How to use a drill press vise – Drill press vise

A drill vise is a device that will increase safety when working with a drill press. The vise has two jaws between which a workpiece can be securely fastened, preventing it from moving when the drill is pressed into it.

By tightening the threaded rod, the two jaws are moved towards each other and pressed together. That way, they can hold the workpiece firmly in place.

Some vises are clamped to the drill press table, while others use the miter slot to secure to the table. The limitation of drill press vises is that they can only hold small parts. When it comes to larger workpieces, you must look for a different method of securing.

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What is a drill press vise used for

A drill press vise is primarily used to increase safety. By firmly gripping the workpiece, the chance that the drill bit will catch on to the workpiece and allow it to rotate at high speed is greatly reduced.

In my article, Drill Press Accidents Happen Every Day: 9 Tips To Stay Safe, you can see that this is one of the causes of most accidents. To increase your safety when working with the drill press, this is a must-read article.

A second reason why a drill vise is very suitable for some forms of production work where multiple holes must be drilled very accurately. Once the location of the first hole is determined, the vise is set in place and tightened, and the hole is drilled. The vise is loosened, and the workpiece is moved to align the next hole location under the drill.

How to use a drill press
How to use a drill press vise

The same concept applies to drilling holes in multiple identical workpieces; once the vise of the drill is attached to the work table, work can go faster because the stationary jaw of the vise acts just like a gate.

In addition to using a drill press vise, there is also a way to use clamps to hold a workpiece firmly enough. Using the clamps allows you to fix a larger workpiece to the table.

For smaller workpieces, it is recommended to use a suitable vise for the drill press. These are firmly fixed on the drill press table and will firmly hold the smaller workpiece so that you can drill very precisely without having to worry that the workpiece can rotate with the drill.

Now you know that a drill vise is known for its usefulness in holding a workpiece in place while drilling. However, there are other operations for which this handy tool can be used. They are super useful as they allow users to securely hold workpieces without the need for clamps or other gripping devices, but also save time by quickly changing and securing workpieces in place.

A drill vise is a tool that operators have used for decades, yet is still much lacking in smaller hobbyist workshops. For security reasons and so many great uses, it’s highly recommended that you buy one, or make one yourself (I’ll come back to this later in this article). Here included some uses of a drill vise:

  • Drilling
  • Gluing
  • Sawing
  • Sanding or filing
  • Adjusting or screwing
  • Cutting conduit
  • Metalworking

How to use a drill press vise?

Step #1: Mark the drill point

As a first step on how to use a drill press vise, it is best to measure well and determine where to drill the hole. It is best to do this before the workpiece is placed in the drill press vise.

With a pencil or marker, you can mark the point where you want to drill. It is essential because eventually you will miss the drill line without a mark, and the result will not be as you wish.

When you watch my YouTube videos, you will notice that I always use 2 items to make markings: the pica marker and Kreg multi mark. They are my two most used tools and I couldn’t live without them. Highly recommend having them in your workshop.

Step#2: Position the workpiece correctly

Once you have made the correct marking, you can fix the workpiece in the drill press vise.
To do this, turn the handle counterclockwise to open the jaws of your vise. Open the jaws slightly wider than the workpiece and place it between the jaws.

Make sure that the workpiece is so far between the jaws that the jaws of the vise can exert sufficient grip on the workpiece. Avoid clamping workpieces on the edge, because the vibrations and the force of the drill press can cause the workpiece to come loose.

When placing the workpiece in the drill press vise, make sure that the marking point placement is an ideal position to begin the drilling process.

Step#3: Clamp properly

Finally, to secure the object or workpiece, you need to close the jaws. To close the jaws, you need to turn the same handle clockwise over the vise. Also, you should continue to tighten the jaws with that lever until you are sure the object is firmly in place.

Note, make sure you don’t close the jaws too hard. This can cause damage to softer woods such as pine or poplar.

Again, make sure the workpiece is secured so that it does not slip in the middle of your drilling application. You can check this by trying to pry the workpiece free from the jaws. If this does not work, you will be able to work safely.

Step#4: Attach the vise to the drill press the right way

Now you have to make sure that the drill press vise is slid in the correct position under the drill and secured on the drill press table. That way you can drill perfectly in the right place, where you made a mark in the first step.

To align the drill with the marking point on the object, it is important that you know beforehand what the drill press swing is of your drill press, otherwise, the column may not allow you to drill in this location. Never heard of drill press swing? Do not worry! By reading my article, what is drill press swing, you will be aware of this within minutes.

The next important thing in this step is to properly secure the drill pres vise. But how do you attach a vise to a drill press?
Well, there are two ways. Thanks to the slots, a real drill vise can be secured with a bolt and nut in the slots or in the hole in the center of the table and in the base of the drill press. I will tell you more about that in my article, What Are The Slots In A Drill Press Base For? A Clear Answer.
If your vise does not have these slots, you can secure it with clamps.

Step#5: Drill the hole

Now you are ready to start drilling. An important point that you should definitely not overlook is to set the correct speed of your drill presses.

Check out my article, What Drill Press Speed ​​Should I Use? (+Drill Press Speed ​​Chart), to see how to determine the correct speed. That same article also explains step by step how to adjust the speed.

After that, you need to start the drilling process. Before you do that, check all the alignments one last time to see if they are in the right place or not.

When you need to drill holes that do not go all the way through the wood, it is best to set the correct drill depth. For this you can use the depth gauge to control the drilling depth. This keeps track of how deep you want the spindle to drill through the workpiece.

Now turn on the machine and lower the drill press. Just before the drill comes into contact with the wood it is best to lower it slowly until contact is made between the drill and the object.

Once the drill starts to cut into the wood, you can push into the material with light pressure to ensure that the drilling process is smooth and clean. By this last step, you now know how to use a drill press vise the right way

What is the best drill press vise?

Now that you know how to use a drill press vise, you’ll want to know what the best drill vise out there is. I must warn you if you start looking, there is a huge offer.

To find the best drill press vise, it is recommended to look for a few things. By making a selection based on only simple properties, you can easily make a good selection.

First of all, it is good to look for a well-known brand that can deliver good quality. Second, it’s best to look for a low-profile drill press vise. The lower this is, the larger the workpiece can be that you can clamp in it. Finally, it is good to look for models that are easy to clamp thanks to the existing slots.

I put together a list of the best drill press vises that I would use myself to help you in your search for a good drill press vise. You can see that list in my article Best Drill Press Vise For Woodworking (My Honest Opinion)

You can also make a drill press vise yourself.
I did this a while ago, as you can see in the video below.
If you want to make a drill press vise like this yourself, you can get free plans in my article, How To Make An Easy DIY Tilting Angle Drill Press Vise | FREE PLANS.

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I hope this information on how to use a drill press vise was helpful, and that this blog and video inspires you.

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