Jet drill press chuck key

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Forum topic by kmetzger posted 09-17-2019 05:58 PM 282 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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181 posts in 2330 days

09-17-2019 05:58 PM

The school shop where I teach has a Jet JDP-15MF drill press, but the chuck key is terrible. I don’t know if the original key was lost and they’re using a different key or if it’s the original key. I read a review of the machine on Amazon and the reviewer said the original key doesn’t fit properly.
Has anyone had the same experience and can a key be found that actually fits properly?

-- Kim, Ajijic, Mexico,

7 replies so far

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1619 posts in 2243 days

#1 posted 09-17-2019 06:26 PM

Look for numbers on the chuck. Some will be the model number but if you see the letter K followed by a number, that will be the chuck key you need for that chuck. Some keys will be ID’ed with the K number, but some don’t. only thing left is find all your friends that have drill chucks, borrow their keys, and check for the proper fit. After you find the proper fit, try to find a match off his/her chuck and get one…........... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View kmetzger's profile


181 posts in 2330 days

#2 posted 09-17-2019 10:36 PM

Thanks, Jerry. I couldn’t find a number on the chuck. I guess I’ll have to go with option 2.

-- Kim, Ajijic, Mexico,

View jacww's profile


43 posts in 1520 days

#3 posted 09-18-2019 12:28 AM


If you can remove the chuck, you could take it to your friends to test. In addition you could take it to local tool dealers to test as well.


View PPerry's profile


17 posts in 373 days

#4 posted 09-18-2019 02:41 AM

Or just buy a whole new chuck with the key invluded.

I don’t know if these fit your machine or not, but I bet if you contact them they might know which one does. I bought my bandsaw tires from here. I thought I was going to have to buy a new chuck for my new-used Delta drill press because I couldn’t find the obsolete key, but it finally turned up among other items I purchased. I spent probably $10-$15 in two multi-keys that didn’t fit, plus two trips to the store. If I hadn’t found the key I would have been just as well to bought a new improved chuck with a new key and had it shipped to the door. And I may yet replace the original anyway.


View CaptainKlutz's profile


1898 posts in 2007 days

#5 posted 09-18-2019 03:49 AM

Drill chuck keys are typically sized by the pilot hole diameter and bevel gear OD. One challenge with keys is difference between SAE and metric specially for 15/64-1/4”, .vs. 6mm pilot hole. The 6mm can have 2 bevel sizes making finding right one even harder.
Use your drill index and find the exact size of pilot hole. Then use calipers and gauge the distance from center of pilot hole to outer most gear edge. The bevel gear diameter is double this. Then go hunting on fleabay or amadud for possible replacements.

I bought a cheap set of universal 4 way check keys with 8 different keys decades ago. The key itself stinks as it is made from junk cast metal. But the size chart that came with makes it easy to buy the right replacement, once I find which of the 8 keys fits. :) YMMV

PS – IMHO Cheap import replacement drill chucks are not a good value. The cast inferior metal can/will shatter with high loads. Cheap plain bearings tend to get sticky with age, and make drill changes frustrating. If you want the most accurate and durable chuck, stick with ball bearing, and get a Jacob US made chuck. This web page shows some options:
Challenge is cost. You can buy a decent import keyless chuck for less than an original Jacobs.

BTW – if your cheap drill press quill has significant run-out, buying a better chuck may not help. So check quill and chuck run-out before you spend hundreds on top of line chuck for Asian made drill press. :-0)

If you end up replacing the chuck, be sure to get right size, as there are many possible ‘JT’ arbor sizes (as well as threaded chucks):

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View kmetzger's profile


181 posts in 2330 days

#6 posted 09-18-2019 04:06 PM

Thanks, everyone. OK, so I checked my lathe drill chuck and found the following markings: 1-13 mm, JT33. The key fits the school’s Jacobs chuck just fine. But I can’t find my numbers on a size chart.

-- Kim, Ajijic, Mexico,

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5758 posts in 3006 days

#7 posted 09-18-2019 04:36 PM

Those indicate the opening size of the chuck (1-13mm) and the taper of the arbor (Jacobs Taper 33) at the chuck end. None of that will help much in trying to find the key size. If you have an industrial suppler nearby (Graingers, Motion Ind, something like that) they might be able to match that one they have in stock.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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