Though I sometimes grumble about my shop (mostly that it seems to be in a constant state of disarray – my fault), I really do love it. Sure, there are things I want to change, improve, or get rid of, but on the other hand, there are some things I really do love and have become accustomed to. They are not things that I could not live without, but if I were to start another shop, they would be up at the top of my list. I have become accustomed to a few things to the point where I try to use these things in other shops and it makes me look like a fool.
My Tucker vise has a foot-operated quick release. When I need to clamp a large piece in its jaws, I step down on its pedal with my right foot and guide the front jaw out with my right hand as my left hand positions the work piece. When I am not in my shop, I try to step on the pedal which, of course, is not there. So anybody watching me sees me stomping on the ground. I sometimes wonder what they would think if I didn’t explain myself.
On the base of my drill press, I have installed a foot-operated momentary (deadman’s) switch. When the pedal is depressed, the drill press runs. When it is released, the drill press stops. I find that this saves me a lot of time moving the quill up and down. For this to work, I lea
ve the regular on/off switch in the on position. In the shop at Lee Valley, there is no foot switch. Instead, somebody decided that the flat spot on the base would be a good place to put a heavy cross-slide vise, which I inevitably end up kicking. Good thing I wear steel-toed shoes in the shop.
I have also replaced the stock 1/2″ keyed chuck of my drill press with a 1/2″ keyless chuck. I don’t do very much work where I need the additional strength required of a keyed chuck and if there happened to be such a situation, I could change it back without too much fuss. The keyless chuck saves me a lot of time playing with the chuck key.
If you’ve ever used a keyed chuck and a keyless chuck, you know what I mean. Just like on a hand held drill, I can rapidly close the jaws by holding onto the chuck with one hand while the spindle turns under power. Sometimes I put the bit between the jaws while tightening them and just hold the chuck loosely so that as soon as the jaws engage, my grip will slip and the jaws will stop tightening.
Here is a short video demonstrating the features of my drill press: