Woodpeckers has come out with a new drill guide, intended to make for easier, straighter, and more accurate drilling into wood materials.
The Woodpeckers Auto-Line drill guide features a 1/4″ hex shaft, for use with cordless and corded drills, as well as impact drivers.
The Woodpeckers Auto-Line drill guide features a keyed chuck, tapered depth control shaft and stop-collar, spring return, reversible chuck carrier, built-in v-groove, alignment lines, and adjustable fence.
The chuck carrier has a 1″ drill bit capacity, but if you remove it and reverse it, you can fit bits up to 2″ wide.
A v-groove in the base allows for easy centered drilling of round stock such as wood dowels.
There are two centered pins that stow on-board when not in use. For use, they thread into the bottom of the base and can be tightened with one of the column caps, which has a built-in hex bit.
The fence can be attached to any of the 4 sides of the Auto-Line’s square base.
Additionally, the fence can be used in multiple orientations. Here, it’s used to refence against the edge of a board.
The fence can also be reversed for maximum range.
The fence can also be rotated in such a manner that allows for easier drilling of vertical boards.
The fence can also be used as an outrigger, to provide additional support when the Auto-Line drill guide is used on a large surface, such as on plywood or other sheet goods.
Introductory Pricing: $220
Sale Pricing ends 2/8/2021, shipping ETA is 6/20/2021.
Does this Woodpeckers drilling guide look to be a useful accessory? Sure. It has multiple features and a very versatile design.
The design does not seem to have any cut corners. The chuck carrier, for example, is built with Teflon sleeves that move along stainless steel columns.
One of the columns has a tapered flat machined into it, to ensure that the stop collar does not move or slide down during use.
You also get the fence, which seems to be quite versatile. The hex bit necessary to install the centering pins is machined into the bottoms of the column caps.
But for $220, or $240 after the introductory sale pricing period?
I swore off portable drill guides a long time ago, ever since I had a lousy experience with a Craftsman accessory.
You know, you could buy a benchtop drill press for less than this accessory. Or even half – or more than half – of a basic floor-standing drill press.
But, the Woodpeckers Auto-Line drill guide is said to be machined in the USA, and it seems to have been designed for maximum usefulness, versatility, and quality.
This is the Milescraft Drillmate drill guide, a popular accessory that sells for $34 at Amazon. The Woodpeckers will cost 7X more than this, once the sale pricing ends. The Milescraft has a larger capacity – 3″. You can also adjust its angle, with stops at 45°, 60°, 75°, and 90°.
The two devices look to be designed with very different user intent, with the Milescraft seemingly aimed more towards general construction tasks, and the Woodpeckers towards finer joinery.
Let’s say you have to drill a stopped or through-hole into your wood-topped workbench. That hole needs to be perfectly placed and perfectly straight. If you have both accessories in front of you, which would you use? From what I can see, I think that the Woodpeckers would align easier, especially if the fence can be used.
In my opinion, the Woodpeckers Auto-Line drill guide isn’t a must-have. For situations where you need to bring your drill to your work, as opposed to being able to use a drill press, there are very many options. You could use an accessory such as the Milescraft, or you could use a woodworking router, you could create your own jig, or you could buy a jig if your drilling operation is for a popular type of task or project.
But, the Woodpeckers jig *might* improve upon your drilling experience compared to less expensive and less-featured guides that might be more designed around price point.
This is not something I would buy, or at least I don’t have any immediate needs or apparent future project needs, but it does look to be a big upgrade. The market currently doesn’t offer much in the way of high quality drilling guide choices.