Using antique post drill or handcrank drill press

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Forum topic by WorksWoodSlowly posted 11-18-2018 12:43 AM 1449 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 992 days

11-18-2018 12:43 AM

Topic tags/keywords: drill press

I’m a fan of using old fashioned tools. I’ve been thinking of buying a drill press. So I was wondering if anyone uses a post drill or one of the other versions with a hand crank, like this one on ebay?

If I got one that was in good shape or restored one, could I use it with modern bits?

5 replies so far

View jacww's profile


66 posts in 1816 days

#1 posted 11-18-2018 01:05 AM

Should be no problem.

In two different saw making classes at the Woodwright School we used a similar hand cranked drill to drill press the holes and recesses for the handle nuts. As I recall modern twist drills and forstner bits were used. To simplify the drilling, one person turned the crank to spin the bit and another person turned the wheel to lower the bit through the material. If the work piece is securely clamped to the drill press table, you shouldn’t need any help.

Oh yes, that started my lust for one.


View runswithscissors's profile


3107 posts in 2834 days

#2 posted 11-18-2018 01:08 AM

I believe post drills were self-feeding. Looks like the one on Ebay requires you to turn the top wheel to advance the drill. The gear ratio for spinning the bit looks a lot like the egg-beater drill I used as a kid. Which is why I like electric drills. It will spin the bit fast, but it won’t have much torque. I drilled a lot of holes that way. It was agony in metal.

I can’t answer your questions about using modern drills. Depends on the chuck design.

I’ll bet the old timers on here remember the ubiquitous 1/4” electric drills of yore. Those little chucks were severely constricting. You could get larger sizes with turned down shanks, but the quality was poor, and the shank was easy to bend. If you bent one, it was almost impossible to straighten it out enough to be usable. I don’t miss those days at all.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View GR8HUNTER's profile


7672 posts in 1521 days

#3 posted 11-18-2018 03:01 AM a lot of info :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View theoldfart's profile


11813 posts in 3260 days

#4 posted 11-18-2018 03:41 AM

Post drills are much larger than the bench drill your looking at. The original chuck took one size shank. Mine uses 1/2”, it’s a Canady Otto. Some of the bench drills have an auto feed like the post drills, I would look for those. IMO, the Yankees were the best. I also have a Millers Falls bench drill, it has a normal Jacobs style chuck but it’s not as beefy as the Yankees. PM me if you need more info.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View olegrump's profile


97 posts in 1031 days

#5 posted 11-26-2018 01:31 AM

You will definitely want the self feeding feature, whichever type of drill you choose. It is indispensable for hand cranked boring. I have a “franken-drill”, which has the head stock of a smallish self feed post drill rigged onto the post of a once-electric drill press. (I think it is a Buffalo Forge #40) I rigged a chuck from a junk brace I got in a job lot of bits with a short length of 1/2” stock to fit in the post drill’s chuck. This allows me to use bits with the tapered tang, and, since a brace chuck works holds hex shaft bits well I got a small chuck with a hex end for smaller bits. I also bought some “shorty” hex-shaft boring bits from Harbor Freight, which are like auger bits, in sizes 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4 and 1” diameters. A few pieces of “junk” here and there, a little effort, and there you are.

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