Thickness Planer Drill Press

How to turn your drill press into a thickness planer and how to make a fine adjustable table.
Build article:


  1. Afaik Wagner is now out of business since the owner retired some years ago. I spent a fair amount of time on the phone with the business owners wife discussing it’s invention, a bit of history about it, and the various cutting tip designs they’d tried over the years while ordering two of them and two sets of the replacement HSS cutting tips. Most good wood workers would rank me in the wood butcher class, but I don’t need to do much woodworking and use mine in a 3/4 size Bridgeport milling machine clone. Locking the wood in 160 lbs worth of milling machine vises that are bolted to the table, the tables power feeds, and a commercial quality dro makes precision planing any wood to thousandths dead easy. And a high end sine bar will give me tapers to well under 1/100th of a degree.:-) If more woodworkers knew the capabilities of what a milling machine can do with wood over any conventional drill press, they’d own one instead of any drill press out there. The foundry pattern making industry uses them extensively and has for maybe 100 years or more.

    A lot slower to use of course, but clamping or fixturing the wood to be planned in some way to an X.Y axis table on a drill press makes these tools a real pleasure to use.Stock vibration against the working surface really spoils the precision. But drill presses aren’t designed to take side pressures from the tool. Depending on the chuck retention method, using one of these could have the tool, drill press chuck, and morse taper shank dropping out of the female morse taper. Best would be drill presses with a center bolt inside the chuck that retains the chuck to the jacobs taper that’s ground onto the end of the drill press’s spindle. Adding semi flexible hold down fences something much like a tables saws hold downs but used to hold the work down to the table aren’t really optional either if you work piece isn’t fixed to the table or in a vise.

    There are items where this style of planer will beat any other tool on the market. Stopped or two opposite angle tapers tapering in together would be just one of them. I’ve used mine to precision machine wood for a scale model Napolean cannon where the wood has to match the metal parts exactly.

    You figured out a fairly clever way to set cut depths, but a dial indicator on the DP’s spindle while setting those depths of cut would do the same with better precision and much less work.

  2. jack that thing looks lethal!!!

  3. Cherry Valley Studio

    Seems like this is a luthier specific tool.

  4. dich sang tiαΊΏng Việt mα»›i tα»‘t

  5. bravissimo πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

  6. That’s pretty ingenious! These aren’t exactly the safest devices (google “rotary planer safety”)…but he has his fingers, so…

  7. I bought a Safe-T-Planer a few years ago to help me in building guitars. Tried it on my drill press but found the height adjustment of the drill press table to be too hit-and-miss for reliable results so the Safe-T-Planer has lived in the back of a drawer since then.

    Until I saw this video! I made this adjustable table in an afternoon and now I can micro-adjust the height, turning my drill press into a very useful thickness planer.

    I’d already modified the drill press by grinding a groove in the MT2 chuck arbor and drilling and tapping a hole for a grubscrew in the quill, locking the arbor in firmly. Since I only use that particular drill press with a chuck the arbor doesn’t need to come out for any reason, but it would be an easy job to remove it if I ever wanted to.

    To the naysayers, I say, ‘Don’t knock the Safe-T-Planer until you’ve tried it . . . ‘

    Thanks for a great idea!

  8. wouldn’t it be easier to just put timber through table saw and then sand it, I do like adjustable table,great neat idea.☺

  9. Giancarlo Cortese

    Jack… lo sai che hai dato una gran bella idea ??
    Bravissimo πŸ‘πŸ‘

  10. maybe good for small pieces but I think I would just run a longer board through my planer and then cut to size.Β  Good on you though if you have use for it.Β  I hate building jigs. They usually don`t turn out as good as yours. Thanks for sharing.Β  Cheers

  11. Jack, is that a 45 degree angle of the slides? And if so, what is the angle at the top of the box for the slide?

  12. Oh, btw there is a company called Stewart Macdonald that makes those safety planers. Not sure of the cost.

  13. Interesting idea for a height adjustable table. It needs some way to lock the height setting in place. Watch the video and you’ll see that as you use the table, the vibrations slowly lower the table height. You can see the handle turning. You’re going to end up with varying thicknesses unless you can lock the height adjustment screw.

  14. bernie129locksmith

    How to rip 2 fingers off on a budget !


  16. I would have put washers on the insides of the nuts with a spring between to hold them apart when removing and putting the top back on. The other thing I would have done was to cut all 4 angle pieces together to make sure they are parallel and straight with each other. Lastly I would make a complete test cut moving the unit underneath the cutter from end to end and side to side. This will show whether your entire top surface is completely flat. To correct any out of plane differences I would flip the whole unit upside down and plane the bottom side with this tool. Of course you need to make sure first that your metal drill table is flat before beginning the entire process. Then once you have established a flat table you can mill the bottom of the adjustable table unit to square it up. Once done, flip it back over to the right way up and make another test cut. You should be completely parallel at this point between top and bottom and your finished pieces will be also. Very useful to keep extremely thin pieces the same overall thickness.

  17. Your ideas are ingenious. You are a very creative person. A pleasure for the eyes

  18. I didn’t know that type of planer head existed. I like how you designed your table height adjustment too. It would be cool to design a dedicated machine just for that purpose. That way one could design it with even more accuracy in mind. But great video, I’ll have to find me one of those cutters.

  19. Where can I buy it?

  20. mohammed najib Dahhan


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