There have been a lot of questions about the old drill press in the back of my shop. It’s also called a post drill or blacksmith drill. The mechanism on this baby is very cool, and everything still works. If you can provide any info on how old the drill press might be, we’d love to hear it.
George, I got one of these drills from a relative whose family owned a silver mine in Idaho. Mine, however, does not have the adjustable chuck on the bottom. I wonder if one could adapt a new chuck to it to make it easier to secure bits?
Drills like this are not uncommon in mid Missouri auctions. I was tempted to buy one because they are so cool but was disuaded by a friend who said they are really inefficient, and there is no more room in my shop anyway.
A very interesting video and lots to think about. Until I read all the fascinating posts below, I assumed it must have been built by the ACME Tool Works of Plymouth, England and came over on the Mayflower…
I have seen one of these. I am on the down side to 70 years old. When I was a kid my grandfather died. He had come to the US from Sweden before I was born, before my dad was born. When my dad was cleaning grandpas basement out he had one of these. He had used it to the day he died. He was a trained cabinet maker and he had no power equip. He made some boxes etc. for magicians. Things would open and close and I would defy anyone to see the joint (that’s how magicians did their tricks) and it was all done with hand tools. That’s a lost art now. Oh well I can’t help with the make or manufacture date. Just thought I’d throw this in.
The ACME drill press was sold by Sears as late as 1911 in the same configuration. There is an example here:
And here showing the ad:
hi George I think that I have seen the same drill press on the woodwrights shop , asking Roy Underhill might help .
I grew up with a press like that on the farm (i`m 63) it was old then and my father (he`s 96 ) he had it on the farm when he was young and got it from his father. It still hangs on the same post and works very well with the same forward push
wow nice to see another
We had one that was about 60 gyears old in 1965
I looked my post drill over and found this: Buffalo Forge Co., Buffalo N. Y. No. 61. Search Buffalo Forge, then Vintage Machinery etc, lots of info, founded 1878, upright drills 1883> founded, model 61 circa 1930’s lots of info and reading.
I looked my post drill over and found this: Buffalo Forge Co., Buffalo N. Y. No. 61. carl
My Dad had one just about like that, I now have it. I had made a new flywheel shaft that extended and I put a wash machine sheave on it to a 2 speed wash machine motor, low speed about 500 rpm’s and 800 rpms that I use for drilling wood. I removed the handle and watch that I don’t get my fingers in the gears!. I could send you pictures of it and also look it over to see who made it etc.
George, I enjoyed your video of your old post drill. Your dating of the drill is very close to my guess about my old post drill. Mine is missing the “kicker”. But I do have two original metal bits that were and still are taped to the handle. I also have an old metal tool box that came with 7 old wood bits. My granddad bought it from a blacksmith in Hugoton KS during WWII. He used it to repair Chevrolet cars. The blacksmith had been practicing his trade there since the last of the 1800’s. The idea was when the wagons traveling West got that far they would need repaired. Thank you for sharing.
Very cool story.
George, Thanks for sharing. Could it be possible that there was originally a small spring that would lightly load the pawl thereby giving a smooth and steady downward movement to the quill?
Hi, Jerry! I don’t think there was ever a spring. But I think that, 100 years ago, the parts weren’t so worn and there was much better contact between the kicker and the teeth so it worked more effectively.
You said you saw one in a retail store, by chance were you in Southern Lumber Co. in San Jose Ca.? they have a great old tool museum.
No, it was a Woodcraft Supply store in Bloomington, MN.
Cool Drill, Haven’t seen one of those since the old man ( he was probably my age at the time) took me under his wing and taught me my basic wood working skills. His was display only as one of the gears was broken and he couldn’t find a replacement. It’s nice to see one work!
Thanks for the great comments! It’s very cool to hear your memories of using one of these old post drills.
When kids are in my shop and I have them use the drill they complain with every crank (kids being kids) but they stay with it. Hopefully they’re building lasting memories, too.
We used to have a post drill in my grandfathers blacksmith shop. It had a electric motor hooked up that ran the drill press, grinder and trip hammer. The drill press also had what I believe to be a Model A transmission hooked up to it so different speeds could be used. I used to spend a lot of time in the shop especially at the forge. I would heat up metal and bend it into different shapes, quality time.
Good morning George, I don’t know how old the post drill is but I do remember using a similar one in 1948 in school metalworking classes. It had seen better days then!
Hi George. I enjoyed your video on the post drill. I spotted that drill on the wall a long time ago because it’s the exact drill that we had in our shop on the farm when I was growing up in the 70’s. We never had a very good shop and most of our tools were very old…but they worked. My Grandfather had replaced the crank handle with a pulley and added an electric motor under the drill. We therefore had an electric post drill. The quill advance was so slow that we’d usually just flip that advance dog over and crank the quill down manually. Either way, that’s the drill press we had and that’s the drill press we used.
I can’t help you with the age of the drill etc. These days I wish I’d held onto some of those old tools we had in the shop. We also had a perfectly operational coal forge with a hand crank…my Dad spent hours cranking as a child as his Dad would forge weld parts for the farm.