Santa help: buying a vice and a drill press

A friend on the North Wet Coast in in need of a good vice, and a
drill press. He already has a mostly woodworking shop but also
is building up metalworking tools.
I'm trying to help Santa but don't know where to start. What
brand names matters in the metalworking vice category, and where
do you buy such? (Assuming we avoid H-F...)
On a drill press, his spouse didn't balk at $400 so I'm looking
at CraigsList in the Seattle area for lack of a better approach.
I've proved myself less knowledgeable on such than I thought.
Where is Yoda when I need him?
Reply to
David Lesher
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Be careful trying to avoid HF. A lot of the more expensive stuff from elsewhere is essentially the same item. HF has a comment/review section for each item. If a product sucks, has some sort of deficiency users will point it out. Sometimes I'll still buy it with the idea of fixing whatever flaw has been noted.
All that being said my favorite vice (and my Dad's) are the 5 inch Multipurpose like this:
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I have a couple of them and they have worked well, but... they were purchased many years ago. So what they sell today may look the same but may not be equal if you know what I mean. Other places sell these too now so look around...
Reply to
Leon Fisk
I have a similar vise as a bench vise, and it does quite a lot. Also from Harbor Freight. I lost one of the pipe jaws some time ago, but I can count on one finger the number of times I actually used it. I also several other bench vises. A carpenters vise, an all aluminum Zeillis (sp), and a Columbian with smooth jaws. They all get used.
However, I wonder if the OP might have been asking about a drill press vise. I've got a couple cheap ones, but I usually use one of my screwless vises instead because the extra mass really helps with vibration, handling, and safety.
I also own 3 HF drill presses. All three are ok, but the smaller benchtop 16 speed and 12 speed both have less runout than my floor model 16 speed. I still use the floor model all the time for general hole making. I keep tapping heads in the other two. If I need a little better hole making, but not bad enough to go the Hurco mill I'll use either of my mill drills (one is HF and the other may be HF but has no name plate) and a collet chuck that I keep for quick and dirty manual work. My RF-30 makes a pretty good drill press, and the little noname isn't to bad either, but neither has the drilling flexibility of a floor model drill press.
The real question is what does he want to use the drill press for. I would note that HF's selection has been reduced significantly over the last few years.
If I went HF for a new drill press I think I'ld be sorely tempted to go for the 20" 12 speed with its large square table, and hope runout wasn't too bad. Its a little over budget, but its a beast for the price. They strill also offer a variant of the RF30/31 mill drill, but its a lot over your budget, and if I went that way I'ld probably order one from Grizzly, because they have a reputation for a little better quality control. Its a couple hundred more and comes with a stand, but it might not have the throat for some woodworking projects.
Hmmm... I see the Grizzly version of the 20" floor model is on sale right now. Something to look at anyway. It still costs more than the HF.
Like I said... it really depends on what he plans to use it for.
Reply to
Bob La Londe
You might also join the metalheads group on Yahoo. It is a metal working group for Seattle folks. For what it is worth , my favourite vise is a 4 inch Columbian. But I have picked up a couple of Charles Parker vises that are pretty nice.
Reply to
This one is in Shelton.
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Hiding under that ugly paint is a Wilson "bullet" vice. Needs a good cleaning and the base repaired. Maybe dress the anvil. Very good US made machinists vice.
Reply to
Steve W.
I paid more than that for my vise, a gift to myself one Christmas. It's a 5" Wilton machinist vise. I mounted it on a vise stand I welded up from 6" square tube, 1" plate on top cut to the mounting template and drilled and tapped for the mounting bolts, and a gusseted 1/2" plate for the floor flange. Great vise, don't know what they run these days.
Pete Keillor
Reply to
Pete Keillor
Gunner will likely chime in with some of his stock of old but good vises.
PNW? If you're near Bellingham, stop in at Grizzly.
Why? I've been happily beating the crap out of a $24 HF 5" Mechanic's vise since 1977, when they opened the Escondido, CA store. Nirvana!
Joined with the Force at the hip, as usual.
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Grizzly is a bit of a step up from HF (IMHO) but still the category of (mostly) China made tools. The QC is better and the support (IME) is decent.
China made stuff often looks pretty similar in design (so you might be fooled into thinking it's just painted different colors for the customer) but often comes from different factories with quite different standards.
Reply to
Spehro Pefhany
That's the experience I've had with Griz stuff, too.
Quality probably varies with which batch of scrap steel it was made from, too.
Y'know, rereading his post, I'm wondering if he meant to say "drill press with drill press vise". My first take was shop vise and drill press. We'll see, wot?
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Well, that sounds like it's time to pay a visit to Hardwick's. Take binocs, and you/a-friend can admire the woodwork memorabilia amid the rafters...
They have a rotating inventory of pre-owned as well as new...
Reply to
I won't be replyingto anything (or reading it) for the next week Going on a little cruise with the bride and our youngest daugher, her man, and his 2 kids. Travelling with a 10 year old and a 12 year old - Heaven help me!!!!
Reply to
I just looked at all the Drill presses on the Seattle CL. I only saw one th at I would have in my shop. There is a Jet unit for $500. If that is the 20 " model it appears to be, that's not a bad price for a serious ($900 new) d rill. I think Jet is a step above Grizzly.
But that's the only thing I saw worth having.
You might keep your eye out for one of the older Craftsman 15" drill presse s, made in the 1970s. They have a thin belt and will run up to 8500 RPM. Ve ry stout. I bought one last week for $50. It will look new in a few days, a nd I'll have
Reply to
I've had a couple of those drill presses. They are fine for light work. Changing speed is a snap. They are worthless for anything needing high torque. Try before you buy. :-)
Reply to
Have a great time, Clare. Do the kids a big favor and stick their iPads under a lifeboat cover while they aren't looking. They'll have trouble adjusting, but they'll thank you for it some day.
Reply to
Ed Huntress
Reply to
Good luck, mon.
Reply to
Larry Jaques
Haha, I won't get into the modern family issue. On another note, you do have to wonder how many people have dropped phones and stuff like that overboard over the years.
Reply to

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