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I Forge Iron

Renovating a Bradson No15 drill press.

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Picked up this huge drill press for £20 on ebay, locally.  

Second image is after a night of Wd40 action.

next steps to take apart, get rid of the rust, paint and reassmeble in my shop. 

2 and a half ft tall. 50” diameter flywheel.

I don’t know its age. Maybe 1920? 



Taking the gear covers off. Spiders! 


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The whole mechanism is mounted on a single steel pillar, maybe inch and a half in diameter. The mechanism can be moved up and down but I’m a little surprised that there’s just a single screw holding the mechanism to the steel pillar. I guess it was designed to be pretty tight on the pillar and you tap it down, but it seems crude, and frankly difficult. Probably easier to have the object being drilled on a stack of wood, and add to it.  I’ll probably convert to a jacobs chuck so I’ll need a little more height.

here’s the bolt holding the mechanism to the pillar.  Anyone have advice on how it was intended to raise and lower?



I’m struggling to remove the flywheel. A squirt of penetrating oil and I’ll leave it overnight. The handle is off and the threads are damaged but probably still usable. It looks like the handle was originally painted black. I’ll sand down but probably just linseed. I like the feel of linseed. 



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Been thinking about how it might be raised and lowered on the pillar. Im guessing the best way to raise would be to place lumber under the chuck, loosen the pillar screw and wind it up on its own mechanism. And for “lowering” it onto a piece needing drilling, simply put a plank under the piece needing drilling...and forget about lowering.... sort of. 

Which maybe gives me a clue how to dismantle the seized pillar collar... 

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Some work on it today. Painting the gear covers. 


Working off the rust from the base. 


The pillar is rusted, and seized. A swim in wd40 penetrating oil, plus the application of some heat just started to move it, with some effort snd hammering. Will repeat tomorrow with even more heat. 



The original colours were indeed red and green.

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Finally got it apart. There was a little “nub” of steel under the screw holding it to the pillar.  I replaced it with a brass nub.




A lick of paint and a while fiddling with a new pawl spring (which I expect to fiddle with some more), the here we are. Not quite perfect, but I learnt a lot on the way.


I have on order a 1/2” straight shaft arbour to fit a jacobs chuck, so once I get a face milled in the shaft, it’ll use modern bits as the old one are now impossible to get.  A few other tweaks but not much left to do. Very weird gearing.  Perhaps not weird but....One turn of that 50” flywheel gives 1 and a third turns of the drill. 

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Of course silver and deming drill bits with a half inch shank and a flat ground on it should work too, so I’ll give that a go. 

Having a problem finding or making a suitable spring for the pawl... so for now I’m using a piece of string with a weight on the end as a a temporary fix. Works fine! 

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