I've got a work bench I built, and the top is 3/4" MDF.

I have a lightweight drill press that I'd like to be able to fix to the top as needed.

My thought was to somehow have a couple of threaded holes in the top that I could then use to just temporarily bolt the drill press in place as needed.

But how would I do that? Basically, I want a couple of threaded holes for bolts to go in, but I'm not sure if that exists or what it's called to even search for it.

Any ideas what those are called? Or other ideas on how to do this?

3 Answers 3


SaSSafraS1232 definitely has the right idea, although I would strongly prefer T-nuts https://www.boltdepot.com/T-Nuts_Zinc_plated_steel.aspx for this application.

For me the main reason would be pull-out strength and resistance to "racking" forces (side-to-side movement, not sure racking is quite the right term).

With the t-nut's broad face, it's unlikely to pull through unless there's a catastrophic failure of the board itself (like you ran into the drill press with a forklift or something).

With the threaded insert, some side-to-side motion could gradually weaken the threads in the wood and cause the insert to pull out, probably leaving a crater in the surface of the MDF.

Also, I think even newly installed pull-out strength would be significantly higher with the t-nuts. It would make an interesting test if you had some spare MDF handy.

Note that t-nuts also come in versions with brad holes instead of prongs, which might suit better in your case as they would resist popping out when you drop a bolt in to fasten things up.


If you must bolt it on
You could make your life a lot easier and just use through-bolts. No fitting of nuts or anything, just drill clearance holes, thread bolts through and tighten a nut on the projecting end (on top or underneath, it doesn't matter).

It's really little more hassle than bolting into threading for periodic use as you only need two bolts (on opposing corners) to hold the press securely.

But easier still, no bolts needed
You could attach the base of the drill press to a piece of ply or MDF and simply clamp this in its turn to your benchtop. This is the fastest on/off system going for a stationary power tool that sees occasional use. This is what I do for both my drill stand and bench grinder and most of my friends do as well if they don't have space in the workshop for them to be permanently mounted.

You can use almost any clamp for this purpose, most commonly in the past handscrews, F-clamps or C-clamps but even the weaker quick clamp is fine for this and of course it's the fastest to set.

Because your top is only a single thickness of 3/4" MDF the attached base may help dampen vibration somewhat as well.

  • 1
    If you have a vice attached to your bench, you can also make a base with a protruding piece that can be clamped in the vice (search for "bench hook" to see what I mean). A flat base is more versatile though - you can clamp it anywhere, not just where your vice is.
    – MarkH
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 11:18
  • Oh this is a great idea. Thanks @Graphus!
    – Shpigford
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 13:01
  • @Shpigford - drill the through holes as Graphus suggested then epoxy a large banjo washer & nut to the bottom side. Place the drill press, line up the holes, then run your bolts through from the top & tighten just enough. Saves the reaching under the bench each time to fiddle with washers & nuts.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 14:15
  • @FreeMan Washers and nuts on top where they're easier to fiddle with :-)
    – Graphus
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 18:23
  • If they're glued to the bottom, they don't need to be fiddled with! ;) And don't get lost!
    – FreeMan
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 19:58

You could use threaded inserts (like this: https://www.ezlok.com/inserts-for-wood) or T-nuts (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-nut).

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