Wobbling Drill Bit

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by HokieMojo posted 05-16-2008 01:49 AM 7254 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3723 days

05-16-2008 01:49 AM

Topic tags/keywords: drill wobble wiggle

I think I’m asking a question that could be answered by a manual, but I think I’ll get a better response here because maybe my problem isn’t being caused by the bit alone. When I try to drill holes with my drill press, the whole bit wobbles. on smaller bits, the problem seems less pronounced.

One time while drilling, the chuck (?) popped off. I pressed it back on, but it popped of again. I gave it a gentle but firm whack with a rubber mallet to keep it on and that seems to have worked, but its still wobbling. I don’t have the best bits in the world, but I think they are good enough that they should be straight (some craftsman, some companion, particularly noticable with my longer irwin spade bits).

I’m guessing this isn’t my bits since it seems to happen with almost every bit, unless they are sized too small to notice. At the same time, the wobble seems to be equally bad on my craftsman cordless drill. I never had to install the chuck on this and I think all the chucks are clean. Any ideas?
Thanks all!

PS: some of you guys should take longer to respond to the simple questions in these forums. I’d like to contribute too, but most of what people need help with is over my head so my opportunities are few and far between. When I do see something, it already has 5 answers better than mine! Give a begginer the chance to pass along his limited knowledge too (-: j/k

9 replies so far

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4016 days

#1 posted 05-16-2008 02:08 AM

Lets go at this one part at a time.
Do you have access to a microgauge?
If not, let’s set up a stick or rod on your drill press that touches the chuck body at least in one spot.
Now, rotate the chuck by hand to see if it remains touching or (very nearly on the cheaper ones.)
If not, you have either a bad chuck , dirty chuck seat ,or bad taper channel.
Take the chuck off and clean it with varsol or similar.
Clean the taper housing and snd the quill the same way.
Put the chuck and quill back in the housing and use the drill press lever to seat it against a piece of wood.
Once it’s seated try a bit out.
If it’s O.K. give it a tap with a rubber mallet and a piece of wood against it for safety.
If that checks out good then let’s look at you drill bits.

Take a large on and roll it on a piece of float glass.
Does it remain in contact?
If not we need to upgrade at least your most important sizes. ( 1/8, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4, and 7/8.)

hope this helps


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3723 days

#2 posted 05-16-2008 03:38 AM

I’ll try this on the weekend. I can see some of these suggestions working. I’ll let you know what happens!

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3983 days

#3 posted 05-16-2008 04:01 AM

The chuck is just held on by friction on a taper. You may have something on the taper that is causing it
to be off center. I would take the chuck off and clean out the internal taper on the chuck and the external taper in the shaft with something like acetone. To take off the chuck just tap it on the side where the 3 holes are with a steel hammer. Don’t always hit the same spot though. Rotate it around. To put the chuck back on just slide it on with a little force and then use a hammer and a block of hard wood seat it on good.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Tony Z's profile

Tony Z

205 posts in 3785 days

#4 posted 05-16-2008 04:03 AM

Sounds like your taper is bent. Especially if the chuck keeps falling off. When I seat my chuck, I open it all the way to give it a large flat surface, hold a piece of 2×4 against it, and give it one whack with the nearest hammer. No rubber mallet needed.

-- Tony, Ohio

View Tony Z's profile

Tony Z

205 posts in 3785 days

#5 posted 05-16-2008 04:04 AM

Damn you Gary! Got me again. ;)

-- Tony, Ohio

View fredf's profile


495 posts in 3705 days

#6 posted 05-16-2008 04:59 AM

on my drill press the taper is removed by dropping the quill, and inserting a wedge in to the slot to push the taper out (it came with a wedge) a couple of light taps usually does it. sometimes can just run the quill back up so the wedge hits the bottom of the head

I have a Taiwanese import press. the chucks and tapers adaptors on those are noted for being a bit off, I replaced and got a considerable improvement. as far as inserting the taper, I open the jaws all the way and use a block of brass …

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View Woodshopfreak's profile


389 posts in 3737 days

#7 posted 05-17-2008 01:31 AM

I would take a closer look at the drill bits fist. If you find that they are all just right then worry about the chuck. I have a cheap drill press and I wouldn’t put it past me that it is wobbleing as well, but usually with most bits the center hits the wood and stablelizes.

-- Tyler, Illinois

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3739 days

#8 posted 05-17-2008 03:29 AM

I had an old drill press with a similar problem. I chucked a rod in the chuck and used a drill press clamp to clamp it to the table. I then popped the chuck off of the taper. I used the valve grinding compound that you can get at your local auto parts. Put some on the taper. Set your drill to the slowest speed and slowly work the taper in and out of the chuck. Don’t force the taper into the chuck, just work it gently to clean up each piece. This will clean up any rough spots and basically fit the chuck to the taper. It should take out the wobble.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 3723 days

#9 posted 05-18-2008 10:19 PM

Thank you everyone. I have a tendency to say thanks on this website before using the advice, but I don’t go back to tell people about my results. Here is what happened today…

First, I tried rulling that largest bit I had that was not a spade bit on a flat surface (sorry Bob, no float glass available so mdf had to suffice). It wasn’t PERFECT, but I could definitiely rule out faults bits as the culprit.

Next i tried to remove the chuck. This proved a little difficult. I have a laser on my press and it pretty much blocks my access to remove the chuck. about 15 minutes of trying differnt items that would fit through the small gap in the laser, and I finally got the chuck off.

I know that I cleaned everything before initial assembly, but the people giving me advice here seem to know what they are talking about so i tried again. Wouldn’t you know, I found a small little fleck of metal had been in there somewhere. Since I only use this for wood, it must have been there all along. Maybe this was the culprit, maybe it was something else that I did not see, but everything looked good and clean.

Re-attach the chuck and put one of my longest bits in, a 3/8’s inch spade bit. The press seems to be back to functioning properly. I did notice one more thing that made a big difference. When I was clamping my work using spring clamps, and wobble felt greatly magnified. I got 2 irwin quick clamps this weekend and those seem to provide MUCH better results. I’m learning as I go, and I know spring clamps have there place, but apparently this is not one of the.

Thanks to everyone for their assistance!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics