Tool: 18-900L Drill Press
In many woodworking shops, the drill press might be the most under-utilized piece of machinery in the shop. Many common drill presses need to be tweaked to handle many woodworking tasks, but Delta’s 18″ drill press (18-900L) handles whatever you might throw at it.
Most reviews rave about the 6“ quill travel, and it is neat that one full turn of the handles completes the entire 6“ movement. While that amount of travel is industry-leading, the worktable and micro-adjustable depth stops are the real story.
The table on the 3⁄4-horsepower machine adjusts both left and right a full 90° (that’s a fairly common feature) but it’s the table’s ability to tilt forward 48° that makes this machine stand out.
If you’re about to drill compound angle holes – think Windsor chairs – setting and holding the exact drilling angle is done without the aid of shopmade jigs.
The gearheads at Delta also included a trunnion below this machine’s table. Loosen the large knobs below the table and you can easily move it. Tightened, the knobs lock everything securely in place.
Delta didn’t add the forward-tilting table without thinking through other worktable scenarios. When a table tilts or even when it remains flat, there is nothing more important than the ability to easily clamp material and jigs to the table. Delta designed this cast iron worktable without a lip around the exterior, so holding your work is uncomplicated and easy. Just about any clamp you have will work.
The table has two T-slots that accept 5⁄16“ T-bolts or 1⁄4-20 hex-head bolts as another way to secure jigs, or an optional Biesemeyer fence setup slips into the slots.
With locking knobs that are strong and easily adjusted, quill settings are exact. Push a spring-loaded button for quick adjustment then rotate the knobs to fine-tune the settings. One knob is above the stop to limit the depth of cut and a second is below the stop to hold the quill’s position such as when a spindle-sanding drum is used.
Spindle speed (16 settings) is changed on the 18-900L through belt adjustments. The motor is fixed while the center pulley floats, so moving the belts is easy after you release the tension via a belt-tension lever. Adjust the belts then engage the lever and you’re set to drill.
We think this is a top-of-the-line machine and a welcome addition to our shop. If you’re looking to make a purchase, the 18-900L is a perfect choice – and it might be the last drill press you buy.
— Glen D. Huey
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