What Is A Pedestal Drill And How Do I Use One?

If you’ve ever been to a woodworking shop or industrial plant, you’ve likely seen this machine. As tall as the average human being, it can be intimidating to both look at and use. I am referring to the pedestal drill, of course, but you need not be afraid, provided you know how to safely operate it!

A pedestal drill is a fixed style of power tool that is very versatile and used to cut holes into ceramic, glass, plastic, metal or wood. It’s commonly used in product manufacturing and woodworking. It requires training and skill in order to operate correctly. Pulling down on the lever engages the drill, allowing the bit to bore its way into various materials at a rapid rate.

What Is A Pedestal Drill And How Do I Use One?

Now that you know what a pedestal drill is and how to use it, let’s take a closer look at this in more detail below. I’ll discuss what the different parts are as well as what it’s often used for. I’ll also explain what to look for in a pedestal drill, how to safely operate it and what the difference is between a bench drill and a pillar drill.

So, if you’re ready to learn more about the pedestal drill, then let’s get started!

What is a Pedestal Drill?

A pedestal drill is a power tool that can be mounted to a stand or bolted to a workbench or the floor. It is often referred to as a drill press as well as a pillar drill or a bench drill.

It uses a motor to rotate a drill bit at a high speed in order to bore holes into various types of material.

What are the Parts of a Pedestal Drill?

The pedestal drill is made up of 6 main parts. They include the following:

The Base

The base is the piece that supports the drill and stabilizes the column.

The Column

The column (sometimes called the pillar) is positioned vertically and supports the table, fixing it securely to the base.

The Table

The table supports the material (plastic, metal, wood, etc.) and can be adjusted to fit accordingly

The Spindle

The spindle is the rotating piece that holds the drill bit in place. Its speed can be adjusted to control both the diameter and depth of the hole being cut.

The Chuck

The chuck is a type of 3-jawed clamp which is mounted on the spindle and fits securely around the shank of the drill bit. A chuck comes in multiple sizes. Read more about this here.

The Drill Head

The drill head supports the spindle, allowing it to move either up or down.

What are the Different Types of Pedestal Drills?

The 2 types of pedestal drills include the following:

The Bench Drill

The bench drill is a smaller version of a pedestal drill. It’s usually secured to a bench, so it doesn’t fall over. It’s often used to drill through lightweight material such as plastic or thinner pieces of wood.

The Pillar Drill

The pillar drill is larger than a bench drill. It’s a type of free-standing power tool that uses a motor to turn a drill bit. It’s used to cut through heavier pieces of material such as metal or strong, thick wood.

What is a Pedestal Drill Used For?

A pedestal drill is used mainly to cut or drill holes of varying sizes into different types of material including plastic, metal or wood. It can be used to enlarge pre-existing cylindrical holes in a workpiece or for counterboring, countersinking and/or reaming.

What Should I Look for in a Pedestal Drill?

If you’re thinking of purchasing a pedestal drill, there are 8 things to look for. These include the following:

  • Make sure the entire unit is well-constructed and solid – this will allow for more precision and a longer lifespan.
  • Check that the table and the base are ribbed – this ensures that the drill is both rigid and strong.
  • Check for easy adjustability on the table and make sure its ground-flat to ensure accuracy.
  • Make sure the head is made of cast iron which helps better support the drill and all its parts.
  • Check that the chuck can be adjusted by a wrench rather than by hand – a self-ejecting key adjustment is even better!
  • Make sure the drill has an adjustable motor bracket support that’s easy to move yet strong to support the motor.
  • Check that the drill has different speed options – this allows for more versatility when it comes to boring holes in different materials, such as ceramic, glass, plastic, wood and/or metal.
  • Make sure that proper replacement parts (as well as servicing options) are currently available.

How Do You Use a Pedestal Drill?

Using a pedestal drill isn’t that difficult, provided you operate it properly and use caution. Following the manufacturer’s instruction manual is recommended. However, if you buy a used drill with no manual, then proceed with the following 8 steps:

  1. Set the speed on the drill to slow, to begin with, and gradually increase as your skill and confidence levels improve. Generally, slower speeds work best for boring holes in metal whereas faster speeds work great on wood.
  2. Fit the bit by opening the chuck and sliding it in. Secure the chuck by hand around the bit’s shaft and then tighten the chuck’s jaws using the key. Remove the chuck before turning the drill on.
  3. Adjust the table to the desired height using the crank.
  4. Adjust the depth gauge by lowering the bit to the desired height and then set the nuts of the gauge to the appropriate stopping point.
  5. Secure the workpiece to the table by clamping it down, bracing the material against the column near the back of the drill.
  6. Turn on the drill, making sure the bit is spinning at full speed. Then, lower the bit by swinging and rotating the lever.
  7. Once the hole has been bored, release the pressure on the lever. This will allow the spring-loaded mechanism to return to its original starting position.
  8. When finished, turn the drill to the OFF position and remove the switch toggle.

Safety is the key to operating any power tool, including a pedestal drill. Therefore, it’s imperative that you do the following:

  • Always wear safety goggles and/or a face mask when working with a pedestal drill.
  • To avoid an accidental start, ensure the switch is in the ‘off’ position before plugging the tool in.
  • Check that the chuck is out before turning the drill on.
  • Never use a hand auger bit in a pedestal drill, only use specifically designed drill bits.
  • Do not use a pedestal drill on material that hasn’t been anchored properly to the table.
  • Do not wear jewelry or loose-fitting gloves when using a pedestal drill.
  • Avoid using too high a spindle speed – lower speeds are safer and easier to control
  • Always disconnect the drill from the main power source when doing adjustments, changing speeds or cleaning the table.
  • Never leave a pedestal drill running unattended and always ensure you remain near the machine until it comes to a complete stop.
  • Be sure your work area is well-ventilated with good airflow, especially when using sanding drums or abrasive accessories.


To conclude, a pedestal drill is a type of fixed power tool that is used to bore holes in various materials including plastic, metal or wood. It’s a very versatile machine and often used in product manufacturing and woodworking.

This drill is quite easy to use however, it requires a certain level of skill to operate correctly. As with any power tool, certain safety precautions must be taken.

Hopefully, this article has been helpful. Thanks for reading and good luck!

Cheers, tools owners!

Hi there! My name is Jack and I write for ToolsOwner. I have a passion for everything related to tools and DIY projects around the house. You often find me in my workshop working on new projects.