This didn't happen to me, but a fellow repairman (Mont Holbrook) on another blog was kind-enough to share what happened to his drill-press post collar as he was pressing frets into a particularly hard ebony board.

I've thought about the stresses from time to time when going for that "last little pound-per-sq-in" of pressure, and this should be a wake-up call for me or anyone doing frets on a drill-press.  

Probably time to cut a nice 4X4 post to length and keep it proped-up under the table!  

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Man oh man. What a site. Thanks to both of you for this picture...

Ew! Thatll make ya think twice. Definitely worth it to use an arbor press. Too bad about hindsight.

Sure, an arbor press where it's appropriate and usable.... but sometimes you need the open working space and a drill-press table is just about right.  A suitably-cut 4X4 post is mandatory after seeing this.

The coolest part (to me) was that Mont Holbrook was willing to swallow a bit of pride, show the damage and post the warning for others. 

Yes thats quite true. I rarely press frets but I do press bridge inserts with my drill press since that requires more reach, so Im glad for the info. :)

Hmmm, that sucks.

Did he tell you what brand the drill press is? The walls are very thin on a component that should be stout. That part on good quality drill presses would be cast solid and not have the thin walls with the turned out surfaces that bear on the post. This won't happen on a good machine use as a fret press.

Your friend should be able to order a new part but he might want to consider an upgrade.

It was a Sears Craftsman and probably Chinese-made. Since parts were easy to order, he has a replacement collar on the way from Sears as we speak.  

He'll probably keep the drill press as it's been a good machine (up 'til this point) and he's already constructed his cut-to-size 4X4 post as a necessary accessory for all future pressings :)   Just bad luck, I think. 

Bummer. -  Cheap Asian castings- probably had a flaw in it to begin with, or was cracked in some previous operation.  There's a reason Made-in-China  tools are 1/3 the price of made-in-USA equiv. - this is the sort of places they fail. 

While a drill press is not really designed to be a "press" as in 'bearing press" or "fret press"  it should certainly be able to hold together while pressing a fret into a fret slot.   My 1960s Craftsman would not break in this way - no way, no how.  It's rugged. 



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