I'm looking for suggestions on a quicker way to drill pilot holes for screws in end panels. Currently I assemble the cabinet with staples, then drill a countersink/pilot hole for each screw. I'm considering buying a single row line bore, replacing the bits, and using it as a dedicated machine to drill these holes before assembly. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
From contributor S:
With the right screw you can eliminate having to drill a pilot hole altogether. CHS carries a screw that I use and with the countersink nibs and type 17 tip, it works fine in all sheet goods except the cheapest big box store 5/8” melamine.
The only way I know of to speed that operation up is to learn to sharpen your drill bits and countersinks and keep them sharp. That is much faster than using dull ones.
Other than that, also use a drill motor with some real power, not slow underpowered cordless type drills. Also, learn when you need to back the drill bit out to clear the cuttings.
A small 3/8" right angle corded drill motor is usually pretty comfortable for that type of operation. I am sure these new self-tapping screws are pretty good but I prefer the sureness of knowing I am not just forcing a screw into the material.
It is faster to hold the two parts together with a couple of staples... Then drill the screw holes with clearance, pilot and countersink machining all in one bit. Or use self tapping screws.
To the original questioner: We tried what you are asking with a Delta manual line borer. Used 5mm on the end panels. You need to change the bits to a 5mm panel drilling pointed bit. This will give you the ability to run through the mel without too much blowout. Worked great. I quickly upgraded to a ptp.
Have you looked into used construction borers? I know someone who bought a couple for 4k. One is set up for case/panel ends, the other case shelves... Uses 2 8mm bits and 2 5mm bits spaced at 64mm (? - not real sure) at right side and left side respectively, 4 dowels per box, 4 confirmats per box. The interval setup allows to leave everything in place and not move anything between walls and base pieces.
I am actually looking for used ones also. Although I have a ptp, it has gone down and man it is a mess when it does, and clients want their cabs.
I am looking to set up the const borers, the line borer (have it), and an old hinger that I can swivel head around for hinge hole plates placement. The above system is a low dollar backup.
I used the nail/pre-drill system for 10 years and hated every minute of it, but I have a suggestion that got me through - get the nib/auger pointed screws as listed and pre-drill with 1/8 bit no counter, nail the cases together with 1 1/2 nails and build in runs of four. Built 185 cases this way - the drawers were hell.
Another suggestion: we notch our cab backs in at 1", leaving a 3/4" offset for cleat. We pocket these in and sometimes just nail them in for bases. This really helps and takes some of the frustration out of squaring up the boxes.