Archive for September, 2010

The Small woodworking guild I belong to opened a show of our furniture last week at a small gallery in a very small town about 40 miles away.  We haven’t had a show for about two years, so we were looking hard for a venue. There’s not a lot of galleries in this area of Central California (even though there are a ton of artists & craftspeople.)

This gallery, though small and out of the way, had a “good reputation” for drawing in lots of people — the owner has a giant mailing list. So we were all game for showing our work there for a month.  A prerequisite for guild members was that we had to have at least one — preferably two — wall pieces. There’s a lot more wall than floor.

So came time to set up the show, we all brought our stuff (less one member who flaked on us) and with direction from the owner, put things in place. Now keep in mind I said this gallery is very small (25’x25′??) but we all managed.

The problem for me, is that the gallery carries a lot of what I would call chotchkies(sp?) You know, more of a low level small craft item. My feeling is that these items should have been removed from the showroom but they weren’t. In fact many of them were used as accents for the furniture pieces — seriously detracting from the furniture itself. (I guess, these items are more of a seller item than our furniture pieces.)

Anyway, here’s some images of the gallery to show what I mean. You can decide for yourselves. Click on images for larger view and comments.


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I don’t know anyone that hasn’t complained about the quality of products they have purchased. With me, it’s always some stinkin’ little plastic ten cent part that disables the entire product. And of course I can’t just replace that little part because no replacement is available.

I’ve gone through several Shop Vacs over the years and their failure was always the bearings in the motors — bronze sleeve bearings. Now, bearings wear out, I expect that to happen. But the sleeve bearings also wear down the motor shaft slightly so it’s not just a matter of replacing the bearings. I would also need to turn down the shaft — something I’m not capable of doing. And, of course, to have the bearings etc replaced would cost about 5 times what the Vac cost.  If the manufacturer just spent another 50 cents and put in roller/ball bearings, these vacuums would probably last 3 or 4 times longer. (but Hey! where is the profit in that?)

But my beef today isn’t the vacuum, it’s my Drill Press.

Delta 16-1-2" Drill Press

The Delta 16-1/2" Drill Press

I decided to rant about this drill press because I busted my knuckles on it the other day so it pissed me off.

It looks like a nice heavy duty sturdy drill press. It has a nice 7-8″ distance between the chuck and the column: a space I need for a couple of accessories I use. It also has a lot of speeds (most of which are useless to a woodworker). I’ve also added a large table and a rear fence. For a drill press, it’s ok.  But there are two things that annoy me every time I use it. Two things that are there JUST BECAUSE THE MANUFACTURER IS A TIGHT WAD!

First is the quill depth stop:


Quill stop showing flimsy bracket

Note the black steel “L” bracket in the picture. This is the depth stop against which the knurled nuts above it come to rest as you plunge the drill bit into the wood you’re drilling. The intention of the stop is to stop the downward motion of the quill. DUH!  Unfortunately Delta’s use of the steel bracket means I can, without much effort, continue to drill another 1/32″ – 1/16″ deep. Not a big deal, but enough of a  problem if I need my holes to be exact!
(You might also note the knurled nuts: They are replacements for the stop nut that came with the drill press. That nut constantly vibrated up or down, changing the actual depth I was trying to drill to.)

Here’s my other drill press’s depth stop. Please note it’s cast iron — part of the body — and does not flex! (It’s also where I took the knurled nuts from.)


Radial Drill Press's cast iron quill stop

Next is the quill lock:


Showing the quill stop on the left and the lock on the right

It’s that little lever on the right of the body. It allows me to lock the quill at any position along it’s vertical travel. It doesn’t interfere with the spinning of the chuck. It’s handy if I’m using a little drum sander. It would be very handy if I wanted to bring the drill bit close to my work and position a mark on my wood directly under the bit. That would be very handy except when I try to do that, this is what happens:


movement of bit with lock on and lock off

Click in the image & you’ll see that the bit moves over 1/64″ to the left. Makes it real hard to pinpoint a hole.

Here’s the quill lock on my other (and I might say older and cheaper, but the same brand) drill press:


Radial Drill press's heavy duty quill stop & lock

The lock is that big-ass lever on the left.  When I use it, nothing moves!

So That’s my beef for today. You may ask why I bought the Delta 16-1/2″ drill press. Well, I thought I would be getting a good product. It was twice as expensive as the cheapo Chinese brands of the same size.  And my other drill press (the second one pictured — the Radial Drill Press) was making noises like the bearings were going to fail any minute — it is over 30 years old, after all — and I couldn’t be without a drill press for any length of time.

But more to the point, 30 years ago, Delta (then Rockwell-Delta, then Rockwell, then Delta again) made a solid floor model drill press that didn’t have all the problems this one has. But then they started nickle and diming their products: making them cheaper & cheaper until, now, they aren’t worth the thin steel they’re pressed out of.

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