Build help and building better?

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Ok so my wife's friend asked me to build them an essential oil stand as well. This has turned out to be a lot harder than anticipated.

The design has led to troubles during use of the drill press with it being too big and no r al easy way to vote the holes. On one hole I went through another hole is there any fixing this? I was thinking worst case put it on the table saw and get rid of the top block?

It is 12x10x6" which is one reason I has issues on the drill press. I kept hitting the back pole or the handle knobs. So for the most part I free handed it and I think you can pretty much tell that too. [emoji17]



Thoughts on what to do better and how to fix the issue on the top block?

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You could plug and redrill.


You could also cut that layer off and install a new layer.  Maybe even in a contrasting wood which might look kind of cool.


As for what to do better..  Assuming these are blocks that have been put together, suggest drilling before gluing them together.

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Drilling freehand won't work. You can't align or space the holse with enough accuracy to look even. You need to find a way to mechanically position the block for each hole. Also, as mentioned above, drill first and glue up later. Here's how I would approach the problem.


1. Determine the center to center distance between holes and rip a scrap of mdf to that size. Cut the strip into blocks. Now you have spacers for positioning the holes side to side.

2. Rip a strip the width of the stagger pattern. This strip against a fence will give you the front to back stagger spacing.

3. Clamp a fence to the drill press table. Align so the fence is set to the back hole in the stagger pattern. Place the strip (#2) between the fence and piece to align to the front hole if necessary.

4. Clamp a stop block to the fence to align the bit with the hole furthest from the block. (use strip if hole is in front row)

5. Drill every other hole adding two of the index blocks between the piece and the stop block

6. Insert (or remove the strip) and start with one index block. Repeat #5 to drill the second row of holes in the pattern.

7  Repeat 5 and 6 for each of the tiers.



a. Be sure to lock the drill press table to the column. If the table moves, the pattern will shift both sided to side and front to back.

b. Use the depth stop to get even depth holes

c. Clear chips after each hole. Even one chip in the wrong place will cause a problem. I would use an air hose and clear the chips after each hole before moving the piece or index blocks.

d. Cut an extra top shelf to use as a spacer to align the steps. Start with the top two layers and use brads from the bottom to keep the layers from slipping as the clamps are applied.

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Mike nailed it, but I will add two things.  If your drill press has any play at the quill, the holes can wander a bit.  Some presses have a split head casing and it can be tightened to take some of that play out.  My cheap Central Machinery drill press went from aggravating to OK when I figured that out.  My second comment is that by having the holes so close together you make even tiny errors obvious.  Using a bit wider spacing would make hole placement more forgiving.

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Thanks for the help guys! I will definitely put this into action on the next build coming up.

When thinking about this I was thinking it would be easier to glue up then drill. Guess I was way off haha.

Definitely will be cutting the top piece off and redoing that part. Was trying to rush before I left the country this weekend and I guess I paid the price. Damn damn damn!!

Also going to invest in a compass to draw my circles out as well. That will help I think instead of my paper circles that move

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I think your over complicating it. The distance from the drill press fence does not need to change for "front " and "back" holes it fact with your design it should not. Just calculate the on center distance between the holes and draw lines on your stock. Drill the back holes with the back edge against the fence flip the piece around and drill the front holes with the front edge against the fence.

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Dividers help a lot with spacing such holes.  Scribe a fine pencil line with a combination square, and step off the spacing with dividers along the line.  Set the fence so the bit hits the center of the line.   Push the point down enough to make an indentation on the line for exact center of each hole.

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