If you have a project that requires precisely-drilled holes for wooden pegs or metal bolts, you probably know the difficulty in free-handing such a job.  Drilling through the middle of an old CD or using an L-shaped Lego jig isn't going to work in big timbers.  Your mentors in the industry tell you that the best solution is a professional drill stand.  Here's what one pro says:

"My first and favorite Mafell tool has to be the drill station coupled with WoodOwl drill bits.  Since we are primarily a post and beam manufacturer, many precise holes are needed for plating on each bent.  I have used the Mafell drill station for 5 years and have drilled thousands of precise and accurate holes with the system.  Typical bent plates require either 1/2" or 5/8" A325 bolts requiring 6-12 bolts per plate, we use 9/16" and 11/16" WoodOwl bits respectively for our bolt hole needs.  The Mafell drill station is so accurate typically perhaps 1 hole will need to be re-drilled on a complete frame which requires 200 or more drilled holes.  The typical culprit which requires a re-drill is a check line in the rough-sawn DF timber and/or beginning the hole on a small tight knot.  I recently found the drill station to be extremely helpful with drilling/hogging out 45 degree mortises too."
-Greg Vandewark, Big Sky Post and Beam


"If only there was a Guide to drill guides!"

So you head to www.timberwolftools.com and figure ordering a drill stand is simple:  just pick your preferred drilling depth and maybe a few bit sizes, right?  Well, they're actually one of the more complicated orders you can make, because the recommended setups combine at least three different tool brands!  To help out, we'll simulate building a drill stand step-by-step today and answer several important questions you might have along the way.

STEP #1 - SELECTING YOUR STAND

Benefits of Mafell Drilling Station
Among customers who have used both of the following stands, the consensus is that Mafell's Drilling Station with the Parallel Fence is the most accurate for vertical and angled drilling on a level surface.  It's helpful here to compare the system each stand uses for guiding your drill bit:

Mafell Guide Bearings Protool Guide Plate

As you can see in these diagrams, the Mafell station guides your drill bit using 3 bearings in a triangular formation.  These bearings can be easily adjusted to hold various bit sizes so that there is no wiggle room when you drill.

The Protool guides your drill bit using a rotating plate with various sized metric holes.  Since WoodOwl Ultra Smooth Auger Bits use customary measurement (1" bits really are 1" wide) there will always be a small amount of play in the Protool stand.

Because of these different guiding systems, Mafell is also capable of using wider drill bits.  Protool maxes out at 1" (or 1-1/16" if you buy an older rotating plate with a 28mm hole) whereas Mafell's bearings can move up to 30mm apart, so you can use WoodOwl's popular 1-1/8" auger bits.  For tensioning, the Mafell station uses a bungee cord while Protool uses metal springs.  Our customers have found that these cords are more durable than spring systems, particularly in very cold and very hot climates.  You can easily adjust the tension of the bungee cord to automatically return the drill to its starting position, or you can disengage all tension for an easier plunge (such as when working horizontally).  Many of our customers choose the "S" or "A" versions of these stands for their angled-drilling capability.  But after using the angled function, there is the issue of returning the stand to its exact vertical position.  Mafell has a perfect solution:  there is a smart stop at 0 degrees that can be quickly found by pressing the red button at the top of the station.

Ultimately, when you hold the aluminum & magnesium cast Mafell drilling station in your hands, you know you are holding the best tool in its class.  The Parallel Fence in particular is so well machined that you don't need to clamp the drill stand on a level surface:  just push the fence against the side of your timber and it will (1) measure your mark to the millimeter, (2) keep the stand perfectly square, and (3) protect your wrist in the event that you drill into a knot.

Benefits of Protool Drill Stands
We have not forgotten about our Protool fans out there!  We have been selling these stands for 15 years, and one can make a compelling argument that Protool's lightweight stands are better at clamping onto timbers for horizontal and other hard-to-reach drilling.  The Clamps and Extenders accessory is a must-have to accomplish this.  Mafell does not have its own clamping system, but some of our customers have found that there is room on its magnesium base to use a wood clamp.  Others use a 2-man operation and the Parallel Fence to pull off horizontal drilling.

We only carry Protool's 460 and 460A drill stands at this time.  These sizes still play an important role in the tool market because they drill slightly deeper than Mafell's 460 and 460S but cost less than the Mafell 650S, making them a viable solution if your drilling project is on a steep budget.

Below we have organized our five available options by price so you can see which Timberwolf Tools drill stand is the right choice for your company:

Mafell BST Drill Stand 1x Mafell BST 650S Drilling Station
1x Mafell Parallel Fence
1x Makita 6302H 1/2" Drill
2x WoodOwl 18" x 1" Ultra-Smooth Auger Bits
1x WoodOwl 5.5" Extender
15-1/2" Depth
Angles: up to 45°

$1,332.75


1x Mafell BST 460S Drilling Station
1x Mafell Parallel Fence
1x Makita 6302H 1/2" Drill
2x WoodOwl 18" x 1" Ultra-Smooth Auger Bits
9-1/2" Depth
Angles: up to 45°

$1,261.50


Prootol/Festool Drill Stand 1x Protool GDP 460A Drill Stand
1x Clamps & Extenders (optional)
1x Makita 6302H 1/2" Drill
2x WoodOwl 18" x 1" Ultra-Smooth Auger Bits
10-1/16" Depth
Angles: up to 45°

$1,353.50


1x Protool GDP 460 Drill Stand
1x Clamps & Extenders (optional)
1x Makita 6302H 1/2" Drill
2x WoodOwl 18" x 1" Ultra-Smooth Auger Bits
12-3/4" Depth
Angles: N/A

$1,268.50


1x Mafell BST 460 Drilling Station
1x Mafell Parallel Fence
1x Makita 6302H 1/2" Drill
2x WoodOwl 18" x 1" Ultra-Smooth Auger Bits
9-15/16" Depth
Angles: N/A

$1,137.50

Each of these stands can drill deeper than these figures by implementing a number of different factors.  If you are looking for that extra inch on your project and have questions about how to do this, please give us a call at 1-800-869-4169


STEP #2 - SELECTING YOUR BITS

Benefits of WoodOwl Auger Bits
We only stock one type of drill bits:  WoodOwl's Ultra Smooth Tri-Cut Augers.  These bits are so sharp that there is no blowout or chipping on the other side of your timber.  We have many different sizes available on our website but only the 18" length sizes will work in these drill stands (and the BST 650S requires a 5.5" Extender to achieve its proper depth potential).

WoodOwl Ultra Smooth Tri-Cut Auger WoodOwl Ultra Smooth Tri-Cut Auger Hole Competitor Hole
WoodOwl Ultra Smooth Tri-Cut Auger WoodOwl Hole Competitor Hole

We recommend getting at least two bits in case you get unlucky and hit a bad knot or nail that chips your bit.  There's no set formula for how many holes a WoodOwl bit can do, but in one instance we had a customer who drilled 700 holes for 1-1/4" pins with just two WoodOwl bits, and more than half of the holes were through 12" of Oak, Poplar or Ash.

For pegs, you generally want 1" drill bits for 1" pegs, which is a very tight fit.  Or you could get your pegs from Scott Northcott at www.pegs.us who has experience custom-sizing pegs for WoodOwl auger bits.

When cutting holes for metal bolts, it is best to use drill bits that are 1/8" or 1/16" larger than the bolt, since it can be challenging to make everything line up correctly on each side.  Our customers have found that it is sometimes better to drill from each side of the timber rather than drilling once all the way through.


STEP #3 - SELECTING YOUR DRILL

Makita 6302H 1/2Benefits of Makita Drill
One of the most common questions we get is "Will my drill work in the Mafell or Protool stand?"  For your drill to work, it must have a 43mm collar to fit in the top of the stands, and have a 1/2" chuck to hold WoodOwl auger bits.  For example, the Milwaukee Whole Hog and Magnum do not work, but the Milwaukee 0300-20, DEWALT DW-235, and Makita DP4000 do work.

We only stock one drill at Timberwolf Tools:  the Makita 6302H 1/2" Drill.  It feels like it was manufactured with these drill stands in mind.  Mafell and Protool have made their own superb drills in the past, but they were much more expensive and only available in 230V.  Makita's double-geared 550 RPM drill strikes the right balance of price vs. power and runs on standard 120V power.

Thank you for reading another Timberwolf Tools email.  I hope you survived Daylight Savings Time + St. Patrick's Day + March Madness all in the same week!

Jeff Powell and the Timberwolf Tools family
Toll free: 800-869-4169
www.timberwolftools.com