Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Vintage Drill Bit Holders

I became fixated on this particular style of vintage drill bit holder and spent several months searching on EBay to finally acquire these two beauties.

 These Cleavland drill bit holders are very cool and when you are in the shop they are always a pleasure to turn to.

As soon as I got the fractional size I realized that there were also numbered drill bit holders out there too.

I will need to do a restoration paint job on the fractional holder in the future.

OK a little Drill bit holder obsession going on here but its fun, they are cool, and I use them.

Next I came across this little gem on EBay and had to have it!
I could see thru the original condition that it was unique and had potential.

Quite a mess so after water blasting I decided to etch the surface so that my paint job would not end up like the original. It seems like a zinc casting so it is nice and heavy but the original surface was so smooth that blue paint had nothing to bite into. I went with a tough gloss black enamel and the next day scraped off each of the fractions, very readable.
Without drills in it the holes appeared to be all parallel but to my surprise they are fanned out to make it easier to handle the drills. The designer went for 4 rows of 8 drills that left 3 extra... so there are four 1/16 bits; brilliant!

I have been designing my own Letter drill set holder but have not settled on a design yet. When I do I will mill it out of heavy tooling foam or aluminum. submit your ideas!



I picked up one of these diamond shaped Cleveland Drill holders for another numbered drill set and was so impressed with the usefulness of the design that I quickly went for the fractional size too.

A very nice design; the 64ths run up one side and all the other sizes on the right side, its easy to read and heavy enough to stay on the table. The numbered set goes from 1 to 60 with the odd numbers on the left and even numbers on the right.

Next came this totally unique folding case, normally I dislike folding cases because they are hard to use, hard to read, and hard to keep open. Now this General case solves all of the above issues and does it with beautiful design.

Although not small it is for good reason, it is wide and thin compared to the standard three row case.

When open we have only two rows with this clever folding size plate that has both the fractions and the decimals listed together, big enough and contrasting enough to read easily. In addition it has a Tap drill size chart on the inside of the cover.

It stays open via this cool little red kickstand on the right. All in all a great little design albeit big and heavy its a nice example of let's do it right!

Now this is the BEST; big, heavy, and easy to read the New Process bit holder is beautiful and functional. Plus it's got the pick-up ring in the center for easy moving about.

I refinished it with a paste gun blue after media blasting, then sanded the highlights with 220 on the random orbital and lastly sprayed it with a clear lacquer.
I didn't notice until I went to take the picture that the NP and the Cleavland fit together perfectly about an inch apart!

Well apparently I am the only person that ever wanted a Letter drill holder and since I have never come across one I decided to make my own. 
I tried many different designs but had to settle on a very simple shape because I was using my Casio label maker for the letters.

I machined the basic form out of 30 lb. foam. I added a small radius at the top of each opening and machined down into each hole about 0.150" this allowed me to drill each of the holes using the milled guide. 

And so I have all three drill sets within arms reach of Grandpa's King-Sealy drill press.