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Re: Restoring an Old Drill Press - THE CHUCK - skizzo - 08-14-2010

Long post warning.

While paint is drying, I started cleaning up the bench and workspace because I'll be working with mostly clean stuff from here on out. So I thought.

Ughh... there's that chuck that has been soaking in mineral spirits ever since the night I popped it off the spindle. It has been absolutely frozen solid, I mean won't budge even the slightest bit, with the jaws completely recessed. In order to see if it can be restored, I HAVE to get the jaws to move, because the outer sleeve can't come off unless the jaws are moved towards their outwards, or closed, position. If they won't move from fully open, I'll have to cut off the outer sleeve and replace it with one from a previous parts chuck that was sacrificed a long time ago. My actual backup plan, rather than put a makeshift chuck on this drill press, was to repurpose another good one that I recently picked up on *bay for pocket change because it was mislabeled and nobody else seemed to notice or bid. Then I would work on this one later.

But before going that route, I wanted to see what could come of this one with a little effort. I've been picking it out of its MS bath every few days and fiddling with it to see if it would break loose at all. Today, I finally went after it with more force and some tools, in combination with a chuck key. BTW, repeating something I said way back earlier, a guy has a great website about Jacobs chucks that I go back and visit every time I work on one of these.


Back and forth, a little more pressure each time, what's this... movement? A couple more tries... half an inch of rotation. Ok, now we have some potential for the first time yet with this thing. A few minutes later and it has come all the way closed. Good news, because I know what do from here, although I don't know what I'll find when I get it apart. The last one I took apart was found to have broken teeth up and down one of the jaws, which are completely unusable.

The process for cleaning or repairing one of these chucks is to nearly close the chuck jaws, press off the outer sleeve, remove the split nut, pull or punch out the jaws, clean everything up, and put it back together in the reverse order.

Time to get out my little arbor press to remove the sleeve. You only have to move the sleeve about half an inch to break the press fit, then it slips off (with some fiddling) the rest of the way by hand. A tip from the OWWM guys after I posted this makes a lot of sense and is something I'll do from now on... slip a pipe fitting or something similar around the jaws so that you press directly on the chuck body rather than on the jaws themselves. I close the jaws all the way as shown below so that they can support each other and provide some stress relief when pressing on them. That would not be needed if using a round tube to avoid pressing on them in the first place.

You may have to spin the sleeve around to some particular location, I've never really figured that part out, and it will eventually slip off. The split nut will probably fall off at this point, but the jaws aren't likely to go anywhere.

The jaws usually need a little prompting to come out of the main body, which means a small punch. These happen to pull out by hand, most likely because they've been soaking in MS for two weeks. Once they're out, the chuck is apart... seven total parts: the sleeve, both halves of the split nut, the three jaws, and the main body.

A quick inspection shows that the split nut appears to be intact and the jaw teeth are all there. That's good news, but we won't know for sure until they're cleaned up on the wire wheel. After cleaning, the jaws appear to be in surprisingly good condition.

If you look closely at the second photo above, you'll notice slight differences in the jaw teeth from left to right. Specifically, look at the first step/tooth up from the solid jaw. These matter, because they are required to go into the main body in a certain orientation to each other so that the split nut will line up everything correctly. On the main body, where the jaws are inserted, there are numbers 1, 2, and 3 stamped respectively. I've lined up the three jaws above accordingly. Slot #1 gets the jaw that has a little half first tooth, slot #2 gets the jaw with the full tooth, and slot #3 gets the jaw with no first tooth. The "beautiful iron" site that I linked to above has a nice discussion about these.

Anyways, the parts all clean up nicely.

The jaws slip into their respective slots, tooth-side facing outwards. At this point, each jaw should smoothly slide its full length of travel in and out relatively easily by hand. If it sticks, catches, or binds, spend some time cleaning or troubleshooting the bore or the jaw, because it isn't going to get any better on its own once it's back together.

And now, one of the trickiest steps of all... orienting the jaws to install the split nut. The split nut is machined as a single piece and fitted to the jaw design as I described above. Then it is literally split in half, roughly, to be able to go onto the jaws and into the channel on the main body. Installing this thing takes some trial and error pretty much every time.

The first problem is that the jaws slide up and down on their own when you'd really like them to stay in one place... aligned with one another if possible. Second, when you put the first half of split nut on one or more of the jaws, it's going to intersect with the jaw teeth and move that jaw. After some fiddling, you eventually get what will feel and look like a good fit.

Once you have one half in place, don't lose your grip on that half and that jaw (or jaws). Carefully slip the other side of the split nut into place, making sure that the bottoms of the jaws are all lined up properly. At this point, holding tight to both sides of the split nut, you should be able spin the assembly and watch the jaws move in and out. Drop it, though, and you have to start over.

Carefully slide the outer sleeve back over the assembly, without anything moving, until it gets a slight grip internally on the split nut.

Back to the arbor press to press the sleeve back into place. There is one bit to pay attention to here, and that is how far to press the sleeve back on. Not quite far enough and you can't get a chuck key into place, too far and the chuck key will slip. After pressing to make sure there's a solid bite, I sort of gradually work my way to the proper depth and check it with a key a couple times as I go. Once the key slips in smoothly but tightly, that's it.

Run the chuck open and closed a few times, and this one turns out to be as flawless (knock on wood) and smooth as any that I've ever had apart. There is a little bit of external pitting on the exposed portions of the main body, but that's cosmetic only. The chuck itself appears to be pretty darn good, considering its original condition. To be honest, that's a big and pleasant surprise... I had pretty well assumed this thing had little chance of surviving for use, and was figuring at best I might be able to salvage the jaws and/or split nut for parts another time. Turns out to be as good or better than any I have in use on other machines.

Total time from start to finish, a bit less than 90 minutes, and one of the biggest pleasant surprises so far.

Re: Restoring an Old Drill Press - THE CHUCK - mgfranz - 08-14-2010


I know it's been a few years, but I need to take a road trip up to SJ... if anything to bring you my box of Jacobs chucks for rebuilds...
This is probably one of the best rebuilds I have ever witnessed! Bill you make me want to go shopping...

Re: Restoring an Old Drill Press - THE CHUCK - Anak - 08-14-2010

Very cool.

Kudos for this thread.

Has anyone pointed this thread and its counterpart out to Cian? These belong on the Power Tool Registry.

Re: Restoring an Old Drill Press - WIRE WHEELING PARTS - Rickbaro - 08-15-2010

skizzo said:

...The second photo shows a good example of the original WT grey/green color from the area that was behind the original switch...


How does this color compare to the Sage Green?

Re: Restoring an Old Drill Press - WIRE WHEELING PARTS - skizzo - 08-15-2010

Rickbaro said:

How does this color compare to the Sage Green?

You know, I was kicking myself when I wrote that in the post. I specifically had taken the photo to show the original paint, but it never occurred to me to grab the paint can cap to put beside it for comparison.

I had looked at it earlier to get an idea, though, and the Sage Green seems to be just a slight shade lighter, and a tad greener compared to the more greyish tone WT. The Spruce Green that I used on the PM90 in the background is definitely darker than than the WT color. The Sage Green might also make a nice substitute for the old PM pea green, but it is a fair bit lighter than the original for sure.

BTW, the Sage Green is in the "Painter's Touch" line of Rustoleum, not the usual white or gray cans. It is labeled as 2X coating (twice the coverage) and definitely went on heavier and didn't use as much paint. It also had a different nozzle design that seemed to work better than the usual little bitty plastic jobs on a small spindle. It cost about $4.50 per can and I used a can and a half yesterday for three coats on everything.

Re: Restoring an Old Drill Press - READY FOR ASSEMBLY - skizzo - 08-18-2010

Quick update, as everything... at least as far as I can tell... is now cleaned, prepped, painted, and ready for reassembly. The painted parts have been hanging untouched for three days, and while waiting for the paint to dry I finished wire wheeling the rusty nuts, bolts and whatnot. I also used taps and dies to run the threads on every threaded item, inside and out. The extra few minutes that it takes to do that makes it so much easier to put everything together by hand later when it matters.

Every nut, bolt, washer, rod, set screw, or whatever was a hunk of rust. They do clean up pretty quickly and nicely, though. Here are the motor mounting parts, some done, some not.

I also ran all the unpainted shiny parts through the buffing cycle. Here's one handle buffed, one not. I didn't worry about the internal cylinders. I don't have a photo yet, but wait'll we see the spindle cap up close eventually. Sweet.

After finishing up those miscellaneous items, it was a matter of untaping all the painted parts and laying them out to get ready for assembling. The color is a little washed out in these photos compared to the actual color.

The motor and quill/spindle assemblies.

The table and table raising assembly.

The head and handle. Regarding the cracks in the knobs, I ended up doing what I considered earlier... mixed up a batch of epoxy and slathered it on, using a couple small instruments to work it down into the cracks, and leaving it sloppy and heavy on top. After it dried, I buffed the knobs to get rid of the excess and clean them up. They came out pretty well and seem solid. I decided to leave the cracks showing rather than paint over and hide them. Full disclosure and all that... it is over sixty years old, after all.

And the money shot, with everything ready for step-by-step assembly.

And that ^^^points up^^^ fellow woodworkers, is a drill press, down to every last nut, bolt, washer and taper pin... except for that base and column still sitting way over in the far corner of the shop. Now comes the really satisfying part the next couple nights.

Thanks for following along.


Re: Restoring an Old Drill Press - READY FOR ASSEMBLY - Phil Thien - 08-18-2010

Do you apply anything (wax, anything?) to nuts/bolts/handles, etc., to prevent them from rusting up again?

Re: Restoring an Old Drill Press - ASSEMBLING THE QUILL AND SPINDLE - skizzo - 08-19-2010

Phil Thien said:

Do you apply anything (wax, anything?) to nuts/bolts/handles, etc., to prevent them from rusting up again?

I wax intersecting surfaces, but other than that, no. I live in sunny, no humidity northern California. Unless things sit outside in open exposure, pretty much nothing rusts where my shop is located. That's not the case half an hour north or half an hour south, where they get coastal fog.

Two subassemblies went together tonight, which needed to be done before I put the whole thing together. This post shows the quill and spindle reassembly.

These are the basic parts as you'll recall... the spindle with the lower bearing and threaded retaining collar, the quill, the upper bearing, and the upper retaining collar.

Since I am reusing the original open bearings, it's finally time to repack the grease. I picked up a can of heavy multi-purpose grease at an auto parts store a few years ago and have gradually used it bit by bit.

Slide the quill onto the spindle and snugly over the bearing so that the bearing is fully seated into the well.

Now the upper bearing gets repacked, then installed onto the spindle grease side down. There is bound to be a better way to do this that what I did, but it worked. I didn't want to spend time trying to figure out something else. The problem is that by tapping the tubing down, I dinged up the spindle splines a little bit, so had to spend some time filing them back to normal. Oh well. And no, I am not using the same retaining collar to tap on that goes on the spindle... this one came out of a spare parts drawer and was used so that I was only putting tapping pressure on the inner race.

And voila, we have a reassembled quill with cleaned, repacked, and reused original bearings. Again, not necessarily the best idea compared to replacing them with new sealed bearings, but these are in good shape and the quill spins well. If they turn out to be a problem at some point, they will be easy to replace later. That's not the case with the proprietary pulley bearings.

On to the next sub-assembly.

Re: Restoring an Old Drill Press - ASSEMBLING THE TABLE RAISER - skizzo - 08-19-2010

I'm a little bummed at the pictures in this particular post. Something happened with the lighting and the resolution that I didn't realize until I came in here to do these posts. I had to spend some time fiddling with the images, which is why they don't look the same as others so far, but I'm also not going to take the table raiser assembly back apart just to get some replacement photos.

This thing was tricky and I had to study my "before" photos to figure out how everything went together. I did not do a good job of taking photos while pulling it apart, so it needed to be studied and tested a few times before actually putting it together. From what I can tell given my friend's experience a couple months ago and mine this time, the sequencing of the parts on this is pretty much a "one way only" assembly, which doesn't occur very often. Because the two gears are each pinned in place, they cannot be pinned first and then installed. Rather, they have to be installed in place, in the order shown. I may be wrong, but I can't see any other way.

This is the handle/crank assembly and one gear.

This is the drive screw and the other gear.

The crank shaft is installed through the casting and the small gear is pinned in place.

The large gear is slid into place sideways and aligned with the lower hole.

The screw is dropped through the large gear and pinned in place.

Those PITA tabbed washer and locking double nuts are installed to keep the screw in place. If the closest nut to the casting is tightened too much, the screw won't turn, so it has to be left just slightly loose and locked in place with the second nut.

Now the handle gets pinned in place. It was interesting to discover that the bore for this pin is WAY off-center, not even close to the middle of the shaft that it goes through. I have no idea if that was intentional design or just a manufacturing goof. It's not close.

The cap slips on and bolts into place.

And again, voila, we have an assembled table raiser assembly.

Too bad those photos came out so poorly. These were planned for use in some other purposes that I may not be able to do now. We'll see. Thanks for watching.

Re: Restoring an Old Drill Press - ASSEMBLING THE TABLE RAISER - Phil Thien - 08-19-2010

The photos are not bad at all. Perhaps it is your monitor or video card. The pics come through beautifully on this end.