Bench drill
  • Can anyone recommend a budget hobbyist bench / pillar drill suitable for wooden clock making?
  • If you are only intending to use the drill press pretty much exclusively for clock making then you do not need anything heavy duty or with an excessive spindle travel. But what is important is that the spindle has no play whatsoever at any stage in its travel.

    This is important, otherwise your bit will go skidding of in all directions when it touches your workpiece or be deflected by a knot, I speak from experience. My first drill press had tons of features and heaps of power, but the play on the spindle sometimes meant that after drilling the part was useless, can you imagine the frustration factor?

    When you are looking for a drill press grab hold of the chuck and really pull on it, if it gives, move on, if you find one that seems ok also pull on the chuck when the spindle is at maximum travel.

    There is on most drill presses a screw that can be tightened to "pinch" the spindle and reduce the play, but this also increases the friction, and it is a bodge solution for a sloppy spindle.

    This is my machine.


    It is a Rotwerk RB18 Vario.

    It is nothing fancy it is not an all singer/dancer but its spindle has no play that I can measure and that is all I want/need.

    It cost me €200 but it seems it is only available in Germany, but at least it shows that good does not always mean expensive.

  • Too late to help Alan, but this might help others....

    I found myself in the middle of moving with my shop in storage for the better part of a year, but needed a small, inexpensive drill press for my new clock hobby.

    I ended up with a SKILL 3320-02 120v, 10" benchtop for US $117, including tax & shipping, from

    It has almost no features, but most importantly (as Dave points out), it has no detectable runout. I may have just been lucky, but it also had a 4.5 star rating from 162 buyers on amazon, for what that is worth.

    There is some vibration, but replacing the drive belt with a PowerTwist Link V-Belt eliminated that (highly recommended for any power tool with a v-belt).

    I expected it to be disposable when I got my shop back, but I believe I'll keep it. It won't replace a normal drill press, but for light work like clock building, it does OK.

    Not nearly as nice as Dave's, but I'm stuck in the US.
  • I ended up with a Titan for £99.

    It has certainly helped with my clock making, but I find there to be a little too much play in the spindle when extended beyond half way. it might be adjustable or just bad luck. I'm a complete beginner! not bad for the price.
  • Hi Folks. A bit late with this comment however I started out with bench-top drill press. The single worst problem was that I could not adjust the table to be at 90 deg with the drill head. In the end I bought a Delta floor model which I admit is a bit over size for the job but no more out of true arbors.
  • I would recommend this Bosch PBD40 bench drill for smaller workshops. Easy variable speed control and digital depth readout.
    3008 x 3008 - 3M