Fixing my hand pillar drill – Part 1

I bought a hand powered pillar drill at a car boot sale for £4 earlier today.

Hand drill press

The chuck was stuck fully closed and I couldn’t figure out how (or indeed if) the advance mechanism worked, but I figured it would be interesting to clean it up and see what it can do.

Hand drill press chuck

The chuck screwed off the drive easily as it was already quite well oiled:

Hand drill press

I was hoping the chuck would unstick with a bit of a tap on the jaws, so I used an offcut of wood and a mallet.

Unfortunately this just knocked the jaws into the body of the chuck and it became apparent that there was nothing holding them in place, so I started trying to figure out how to open the chuck.

The two parts of the chuck are held together with a reverse thread, to prevent them coming apart due to the rotation of the drill.

There are a couple of holes on the top, which look pretty chewed, but I didn’t have a tool that would fit them, so I figured the only option was gripping the two pieces and twisting.

My usual go to in such a situation is a pair of Axminster easy grip gloves but they weren’t up to is as there wasn’t much of the top of the chuck to get hold of, so I upped the ante to mole grips on the top of the chuck, but that still didn’t do the trick.

Eventually I ended up with the body of the chuck in the vice of my bench and the top of the chuck in the mole grips and this finally shifted it.

Chuck body parts

There was quite a bit of gunk inside the body of the chuck, so I’ve scraped the worst out with a screwdriver and will dip everything in degreaser later.

Chuck jaws and internal parts

The jaws of the chuck have holes in each of their flat sides which probably used to contain springs.

This means that as well as all the degreasing, cleaning, derusting and reassembly I will also need to figure out the dimensions of the springs needed and track some down …

If anyone has any idea of the make & model, or any hints and tips for servicing the drill then please get in touch!

Incidentally when I was looking for details of how to open the chuck I stumbled across section 2 of this guide to tuning a hand drill, which is rather good and contains some relevant information.

Edit 05/05/2013: I found this post by Bugbear on UKWorkshop, which explains how the advance mechanism works.

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2 Responses to Fixing my hand pillar drill – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Fixing my hand pillar drill – Part 2 | Aggravated Wood Butchery

  2. Art Watson says:

    Good luck John, I’ve never seen one of these devices. I’m still envious of your access to historic tools!

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