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Welcome aboard Nathaniel, glad to have you. If you'll put your general location in the header you might be surprised how many members live within visiting distance. 

Try a web search for, "electric tapper." I haven't used one but hear good things as a solution for exactly the problem you're having. 

Please keep us in the loop if you give the things a try.

Frosty The Lucky.

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16 hours ago, Nathaniel Lee Winkler said:

I have been hand tapping #8-32 blind holes into railroad spike heads for knobs. It takes forever, taps break, and it's hard on the hand. I'm looking for a more efficient way to tap blind holes about 1/2" deep. Any ideas, tool recommendations are greatly appreciated!

Blind holes are tough. What kind of tap are you using?

What size hole are you using? I'd try a #27 or maybe even #26 drill.

What taper tap? Maybe start with a plug tap then go back in with a 

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  • 5 months later...

Switch to 10-32 

1/4 -28 would be even better.

Use gun style raps

Go up a size on your tap drill

Drill your tap hole twice as deep.

Drive your tap in only half as far.

Use only taper taps.

Use Tap Free or other high performance tapping lube.

Realise that you may only be able to tap 10 or 12 holes before the tap is dull.


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If you can drill and tap in one rigid setup is best. I would recommend using a spiral point tap, no back and forth, just turn it in. Drill the hole as deep as possible to give clearance for the tap point, and with spiral points the chips that are pushed forward of the tap. I used to bang these out in the mill pretty quickly. Drill, swap out the drill for the tap, and power it in. I do agree that stepping up in tap size will also help with breaking taps. Do not use any taps made in China. Look for USA, JAPAN, or European.  Use a good tapping fluid. Some chlorinated solvents(carb and brake cleaners) work great, since the original Tap Magic no longer contains 1,1,1, trichlor... Otherwise a good cutting oil will do. Also the flat bar type tap handles can be more comfortable to use than the T-handles

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