Table of contents
Drilling machines and dowelling machines are an indispensable part of the woodworking field. They are used to create bore holes using which separate parts of a piece of furniture can be joined together.
Drilling and the insertion of dowels and studs is a task best performed at the start of the woodworking process. Starting with the primitive tools of the Stone Age, humankind has now developed a wide range of efficient machines to aid in processing wood. The following machines are the most widely used in professional woodworking:
Knot holes are a big challenge to furniture builders. The remnant of the branch that can still be found in the processed trunk is not as well fused as the rest of the wood and will sooner or later fall out. This leaves behind unsightly holes and reduces the stability of the wooden component.
The knot hole drilling machine was thus developed to ensure wooden beams and boards featuring knot holes can be transformed into valuable components without the aesthetic or stability issues normally associated with material. Their sawing process works according to the same principle as column/pillar drills by cutting out a defined circular cross-section from the workpiece. Pre-made pegs or dowels matching the radius can then be pressed into the corresponding holes and glued into place. The surface of the workpiece is then securely joined together and stability is restored.
Popular manufacturers of knot hole drilling machines include BAEUERLE, RAIMANN and RUESCH.
Fittings include all types of metallic components that are screwed onto a piece of wood. These can be hinges, handles, adornments and other mechanical components, which are usually attached using short wood screws. The hinge boring machine can follow bore hole patterns and insert the right parts into the workpiece wherever they are needed. The individual drilling heads can be adjusted independently and reliably, and the machine can process any number of workpieces in a series to a consistently high quality.
Popular manufacturers of hinge boring machines include WUERTH, BLUM and BREMA.
Automatic dowel insertion machines use mechanical, pneumatic or hydraulic pressure to insert pre-made pegs and dowels into workpieces. All they require is a set of pre-drilled holes, which is performed by dowel hole drilling machines. The machines drill defined blind holes into chipboard, slats, beams or solid wood materials. A key feature of efficient dowel hole drilling machines is very reliable extraction. This prevents the chips flying around the machine from falling back into the blind hole and thus making the job of the dowel inserting machine harder.
Popular manufacturers of dowel hole drilling machines and dowel inserters include GÖTZINGER, KOCH and VIETAP.
For jobs that require the same hole pattern over large series, throughfeed drilling machines are the ideal choice. These consist of a line of synchronised bench drilling machines that are fitted with an automatic feeding mechanism. The feed- and drilling processes are precisely aligned with each other to ensure an efficient, seamless process. Throughfeed drilling machines are some of the most important pieces of machinery in industrial furniture production.
Slot mortisers mark the transition between drills and milling machines. If there is no drill available to make a slotted hole with a specific cross-section, the slot mortiser is the machine to choose.
These machines are not only cheaper than wood mills; they are also much more durable and thus more suited to processing large series. As with dowel hole drilling machines, slot mortisers must also be equipped with reliable, powerful extraction.
Popular manufacturers of slot mortisers include MCN, HOLZKRAFT and SAC.
Hole series drilling machines are used whenever series of holes with consistent quality need to be bored into wooden materials at high speed and efficiently. Even throughfeed drilling machines are not quick enough for the task of creating hole patterns. A hole series drilling machines can simultaneously bore 20 holes into a wooden panel in just one cycle. These are highly specialised machines but are real revenue-bringers when used properly in the right location.
The cup hinge is standard fitting for cupboard doors and is widely used in the industrial-scale production of furniture. Hinges are torsionally stiff and complex units and thus require special bore holes in order to be put to use effectively. Cup hinge holes feature a wide diameter but only penetrate around halfway into the base material.
Door hinges are also attached using two wood screws to ensure they are secure and do not turn. This complex process requires its own type of machine, especially where performed on a serial scale, which is why the cup hinge drilling machine was developed. They are highly specialist machines and are indispensable to the furniture trade.
Popular manufacturers of up hinge drilling machines include WEGOMA and HESS.
Drilling is a linear process performed by a machining tool along a single axis and this is precisely the principle followed when designing boring machines for the wood processing field. They feature outstanding durability along their path of action due, in part, to the resilience of wood as a material. However, the tolerances required are nowhere near as high as for the metalworking field, whose machines are almost indestructible.
The base frame and guidance mechanisms experience only very negligible wear. The bearings, however, will gradually degrade due to the continually up and down movements, but they are fortunately easy to replace.
A woodworking drilling machine also consists of a strong electric motor. This is also very prone to wear and tear, as is the winding mechanism, which will not last indefinitely. It is often the case that the carbon brushes will have become worn down and the capacitors will have blown before the motor itself is completely unusable. Fortunately, both are wear parts, which means replacements will be easy to source.
Inspecting the machine
It is always wise to perform a test run on the machine you are considering buying. If you can smell something burning, this may be a sign of damage to the coil winding mechanism. Deciding whether maintenance is worth the effort and expense always depends on the machine in question. There are manufacturers who offer affordable coil winders as replacements, but if the rotor is burnt out, the machine will be a write-off.
Used woodworking drills are usually very easy to maintain and the only question that has to be clarified is whether the second-hand machine in question can achieve the desired performance. Some applications need to be able to achieve a certain level of productivity or a specific cycle rate and the machine must be capable of keeping up. The pressure to innovate amongst woodworking machinery manufacturers is very high. This particularly applies to production lines in 24-hour operation. As advancements are made, older systems are replaced, but if the design and condition are sufficient, even a second-hand machine can continue to serve a purpose.
Maintenance and repair
Drilling machines for woodworking are some of the most complex machinery available. Fortunately, the most prestigious manufacturers of these machines generally have good customer service and a wide supply of replacement parts for most machines. Apart from replacing wear parts, such as drill heads, chucks and other low-price components, woodworking drilling machines are easy to maintain and should not have any unpleasant surprises in store.