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  • Drill question

    I am just starting to get serious about woodworking. I am in the market for a drill as my little Ryobi 9.6v (internal battery) is not adequate for my current needs. As i am jsut getting started, my needs will most likely change. Lots of questions. Much of my work is in the shop/garage, so I am debating the battery vs. the non battery. Any input welcome.

    Next question is what voltage should I consider?. Are 18 volt more powerful then 16, 12, etc. Do 18v last as long per charge? How long can you run them on a single battery charge? How do you decide?

    I have seen a Black and Decker model where the chuck is easy to take off revealing a screwdriver bit. Seems like a good idea. Any one have any experience with this one?

    I have seen drill presses that you can put a portable in. Do these set-ups work? Pros and cons?

    OK last question. What is your favorite drill and why.


  • #2
    Plank---a lot depends on your needs and if you're, for now, limiting yourself to one drill. For the most versitility, I'd suggest a corded drill, with a keyed chuck----the big difference between this kind and a cordless is power----

    Cordless drllls have come a long way, but on those occassions when you need brute strength, a corded drill is tops. Since this is a basic tool, you want around for many years to come, I'd avoid discount brands and stick with highly rated brands like Milwaulkee, Porter Cable, DeWalt----a good 3/8" or 1/2" drill. Then, when you have the money, invest in a good cordless---14.4 volts or more.

    Don't waste your money on one of those things that converts a hand drill into a drill press. A much more versitle tool is called a Drill Guide---made by General Tool and other manufacturers----it has a base piece, attached to two guidebars---your regular drill is simply chucked onto a rod, attached to another drill chuck to hold your drills---you can drill 90 degree holes or any angle---and on any size piece of stock.


    • #3
      I'll second Dave's comments. If you are just starting to build up a collection of tools, and in the market for a drill motor, get a corded model for the versality and power. I like Milwaulkee's drill motors. I bought a Milwaulkee 1/2" VSR drill motor over 15 years ago and it is still going strong and I use it quite a bit. I like the fit and angle of the grip in my hand, which helps to guide the drill straight. your hand is far up the handle and lets you apply force in line with the motor shaft and chuck and drill bit or whatever you have chucked in the drill motor. The cord is detachable and has a twist-lock connection to the heel of the handle, making it easy to store in a toolbox if you tote it around and also easy to replace should it be damaged. Milwaulkee's also have a 9 foot cord and the motor housing is metal, large trigger that gives contact with three fingers, very comfortable to use. I bought it in 1988 for $139.00, they are about the same or slightly cheaper now. That's more than you would spend for a cordless, but you get way more in my opinion.

      OTOH, I have a 3/8" VSR cordless 14.4v that is very handy and capable for most work, and not having to lay out an extension cord is a plus. For a quick repair or small job around the house, or working in a tight space w/o having to deal with a cord, they are great. Still, if I had to choose between the two a 1/2" VSR corded drill would be my choice.


      • #4
        I can give you my experience. When my 3/8" Craftsman corless went belly-up I went looking to replace it. First choice was another Craftsman. Bad decision. Their drills are now made in China and the chucks are not too good. They work great with the quick-change adapters, having a hex shank, but with straight shank drill bits you just can't get the chuck tight enough to hold the bit and I've had many a bit stick into whatever I was drilling. In mentioning this to a friend he said, " Let me show you something." His DeWalt has a ratcheting chuck that doesn't come loose. If I'm not mistaken Ridgid also has a similar chuck design on their 1/2" drills. I went and bought a DeWalt 5-pak that week. I really like their drills and their other cordless tools. So in my experience I would get a 1/2" cordless. I like the portability and I feel the chuck arrangement, at least on the DeWalt, is as good as a keyed chuck for holding power. And I haven't ran across a job yet where that DeWalt drill has let me down. And I'd get a 1/2" over the 3/8". I have many standard straight shank HSS drills and unless the shank has been turned down, the larger bits won't fit. We all have our own personal preferences so good luck in your choice.


        • #5
          Yea, no substitute for a nice 1/2" electric drill. Works great when doing pocket holes, but wayyy too much for driving screws. a good 14.4 should be all you need. I have a few 18v drills and a few 12v ones. the 18volt models are nice, but I find that I just don't need that much power for woodworking. I use the 18v ones normally at work. the 12v ones work well for most things and drive screws with ease. I picked up a new Ridgid 12v for Christmas and have been pleased so far. Clutch works great and battery life has been outstanding.

          If you are looking right now, you can't go wrong with one of the models in red, yellow, or orange. (IMO). the orange ones (Ridgid) have a lifetime warranty on all parts (even batteries) right now if you buy before 1/31. To me, it was a no brainer as batteries cost upwards of $50 each and the whole drill I got only cost me $120. The guy at the DeWalt service center says that batteries will only last 2 years under normal circumstances, so the battery warranty made sense to me.

          Also, feel the tools before you even think about making a decision. the 12v one in orange is way heavier than a 14.4 in Yellow. the 18v in orange is waaayyy to heavy for even me to use comfortable all day right now. (built like tank it feels like)


          • #6
            If you are thinking about another cordless drill, I would say look at a Makita Mforce Cordless drill. They have a motor with "dual ball bearings for longer life", all metal gear transmition, and Ni-MH batteries which have a longer charge than your regular Ni-Cd batteries.Buy at least an 14.4 volt; anything I've seen is just plain wimpy!!!
            <a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a><br />Please tell us how you like the site, even if you hate it. If you want, feel free to visit the forum.


            • #7
              i would not go with a black and decker no matter what. I bought an 18volt b and d about 2 years ago, it was recalled, fixed, and now the batteries will not stay in...had to duck tape the battery in, but it still wont hold a charge, after only 2 years. I know of the drill youre talking about with the removeable head...bad idea, its more about something "new" than functional, the one i used, the chuck would come off every so often. i have a corded dewalt that works great, will go through anything, also have the 18 volt ridgid hammer drill but that is probably more than you want to spend. one thing to think about is do you want to buy 2,3, or even 4 "cheap" $40 drills, or spend the money and save yourself the hassle in the long run. have a yard sell and a really good drill. you will be glad you did.


              • #8
                I have a few of each, and each one has a job that it's good at.

                For drilling into any kind of metal, I like a 3/8" or 1/2" corded high-speed drill that turns at 2500-3200 RPM. Cordless drills don't come anywhere near that.

                For production drilling a LOT of holes like making adjustable shelves in a cabinet (easily 35-50 holes on each side) the extra speed of a lightweight 3/8" corded drill will make the job less monotonous and quicker to move from one hole to the next.

                For using "spade" wood bits larger than 3/4" or for any "spade" bits in more than 5-6 holes, a 1/2" speed reduction (1200-2400 rpm) corded drill. The reduced RPM lets you get full power without a speed that is impossible to control. The batteries of a typical cordless drill will be drained within 30 minutes if you're roughing in electrical wire through wall studs or ceiling joists.

                And then there's this monster of a 1/2" drill that I got from my father that turns at only 300 RPM. I've used it when drilling 1/2" holes into truck frames for mounting hitches and the like. God! it scares me. If that bit catches, you better be prepared or the sucker will break your wrist. My dad removed the trigger lock on it years ago.

                So why do I have any cordless drills? Sometimes, you just don't need the power. Or it's simply more work to get out a cord, drag it around, find an outlet... For just a few small holes, cordless works very well. And for driving screws, I like the limit of speed and power to keep me from spinning the heads off. That's where I think cordless really shines. Even with a variable speed corded drill, I'm way too likely to strip the head, or drive the screw in a lot farther than I really wanted.