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Drill press and hidden tangs


Justinschmidt
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I've made a couple of full tang knives and I'm gonna be building my forge here shortly. I'd like to do some stock removal hidden tang knives in the meantime. However, I don't have a drill press. Hoping to get one for the holidays. What size would I need to accomplish a hidden tang? I was wanting to just get an 8in benchtop harbor freight due to finances. But I'm not sure if that would be too small? 

 

Edited by Justinschmidt
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That might be border line depending on how long the drill bits you need to use. Do you have a local store that you can go to or are planning on ordering it?

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I almost bought the 8 in on an online auction. I have a big delta drill press but i wanted the smaller one for some meticulous stuff. Or maybe its the acquisititus kicking in again. Check your area for online auctions i have picked up several anvils and all kinds of tools but im in a huge farming area. When you go in tt the store bring a block of wood about handle size and a drill bit with and check it out if it seems like it will work out go for it other wise go for the 10 inch.

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Through circumstance I ended up with a couple of the "Horrible Fright" 8 inchers and thankfully I have an old, 50's or 40's Delta cast iron bench top.I'd hate to depend on one of the HF 8 inchers as my "only" for too long. I have mine "dedicated" for small drilling and runninh spindle sanders. I have been offered a "bells and whistles" Sears floor model used for a little more than a new HF10". 

My advice is to buy the best HF you can if you really need a drill press (I made my first hidden tangs with a hand drill, good clamps, a good vise and lots of experience with a hand drill), and be ready to jump on a good drill press if you get a chance. If you do well enough, commercially speaking, it shouldn't be impossible and if you are "hobbying" a better press will provide more options. I've done some tricky things with my Delta and a milling table.

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14 minutes ago, Vern Wimmer said:

"Horrible Fright"

Thats a good way to sum it up. I wasn't going to say it but you probably would be better off getting something off craigslist especially if it says delta. Craftsman has kinda went the harbor freight way. The only stuff i buy from harbor freight now is hand tools and all my grinding wheels and cut off are from harbor freight. 

Just throwimg this out there...a friend of mine got the big 1/2 inch drill they sell. And i mean the biggest drill they had. He didnt use it for a few months or maybe even a year and when he did the chuck would wobble really bad and it was past the 90 day mark and now he is stuck with a drill that is only good for spinning drywall mud. Even though it was his fault and should have tested it right a way. 

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To add to what Vern said, you can do a hidden tang without a drillpress. The method I speak of is to carve out the tang shape into 2 halves of wood, then glue them together. Then slide it on and you can use an hand held drill to cut through one side and it will leave a mark on your tang. Then, take the tang out and drill it, reinsert the tang and drill on through the other side. It is a little more tedious, but just sayin'. 

Like Jeremy said, I would hold out and save up for a good one. Craig's list is a good option. If you can check it out in person, or even try it out before you buy that'd be great. The "horrible freight" ones probably aren't worth it. Noone ever complains that they should've bought the crappier model to save money once they use it. 

Edited by Zeb Camper
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I've thought of doing a mortise tang. I'm not confident in my ability to use a hand drill. I've drilled too many crooked holes in 3/8 scales I'd hate to see what would happen with a 4in block of wood. 

Maybe the mortise tang and just some files will do the trick? 

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Not sure what the files are for. You lost me. If you really wanted to get precise you can wait to glue the 2 halves together. Drill the tang, then drill the handle from the insides out. Make sense? And make under size pilot holes first, then run the big one through once it's all together. That's what I'd do anyway. I can't see wasting money on a tool that will inevitably be a piece of garbage in time if not immediately. But, I am a stickler about that stuff. You should see my tools, pretty much only DeWalt, and Dremel. I love the black and yellow stuff. But, we do go through a grinder every year at my boss's shop and he only has DeWalt too. I myself go through a dremel every couple years burring out tang holes. But, those brands come with warranties. Central Machinary does not. You get what you pay for in other words. 

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I have the Harbor Freight 8" drill press. So far, it's been a reliable machine, and sufficient for my needs. I do strictly full tang pieces, so spindle travel has not been an issue for me.

Edited by Jason McEntee
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To add to Zeb's post; it's not that hard to drill a hidden tang that way, or by splitting and re-gluing . In fact if you want to you could spend a few bucks to make a "Jerry-rigged" jig set up that would use things that you will, for the most part, find handy for other things on down the road. A couple of longer than normal drill bits would be about the only "mission specific" tools, even then they could be used on a good drill press.

I put that out there just to remind readers that you can succeed without a great deal of expense.

Trying to keep them off the dark path of aquisititus 

Edited by Vern Wimmer
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I have a small HF drill press, but I actually prefer drilling hidden tang handles using a hand drill.  I do my layout on the end of the block to determine where exactly the hole needs to be, and I mount the block in a vise so that the path of the bit will be level.  I draw a center line down the block and use that to help me eyeball when the bit is lined up correctly.  It isn't hard to do considering the long bit gives a lot of visual reference.  If it's a through tang and the hole needs to go completely through the block, I mark both ends and drill halfway in from each direction.  9 times out of 10 the holes line up perfectly.

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If you start on a drill press and finish up with a hand drill, the fist hole will act as a guide for the second one.

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