Just the Right Angle

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Just the Right Angle

THERE ARE TIMES WHEN YOU HAVE TO DRILL a piece of wood that just won’t fit in a drill press, such as when drilling into the ends of long boards. Guiding a drill in at exactly 90˚ is tricky, and I usually get one of the holes at a bit of an angle by accident. So I came up with this simple horizontal boring jig, which consists of a piece of wood precisely aligned with the shaft of the drill and mounted on top. With the piece to be drilled clamped next to it, this allows precise guiding of the upside-down drill at a right angle into the wood.

A lot of drills have a cylindrical section just behind the chuck which serves as a good primary attachment point for the jig. Measure this area (both my drills measure 43 mm) and see if you have a matching Forstner bit to cut a hole in a block of wood for the front attachment. I had to use a slightly smaller bit (13/8") and graze a little off on the bandsaw (after cutting it in half) for a good fit. Attach the bottom half to the board with two long screws.

When you attach the top half to hold the drill in place, you want the screws to engage only in the bottom piece. Therefore, expand the holes in the top with a larger drill bit. Permanently attach a rear block near the handle, cut to fit the drill. Repeatedly test the setup for straightness and rigidity as you go.

Here’s another tip for using your jig: When drilling multiple holes into the same piece, place spacers between the guide piece and the drill jig to avoid reclamping the workpiece, especially if you are drilling multiple pieces.  

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