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Large tool companies get traded faster than fictional real estate printed on cardboard; we know this. The latest press release on January 18 says this deal between Chang Type Industrial Co. Ltd. and Stanley Black & Decker for Delta closes Feb. 4th — we know this too. That’s all fine and dandy. The problem is we (the consumer) are often caught in the crossfire, and our tools suffer for it.

The resulting Delta company from the deal will be consolidated with the manufacturing, R&D, engineering, sales, and administrative functions in Anderson County, South Carolina, and be led by Bryan Whiffen and Norm MacDonald who have heavy-weight clout and experience in the field with Ryobi, Homelite, Milwaukee, and Ridgid. We also know that Biesemeyer accessories and Unisaw are going to keep a made-in-the-USA label as well. So why is it being sold again? What’s the mindset of the folks behind this, and what’s their plan?

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This is part three of a series where I take a look at the Delta DP 350 drill press. If you missed the first two parts, check out the links at the bottom of the article.

In part II, I left off mentioning that Rockler had just put this drill press on sale and I wondered if Rockler would refund me the difference. It never hurts to ask, so I asked my local store if they’d give me store credit for the difference. Without hesitation, they said sure. They would have refunded the difference to my credit card if I hadn’t had another $50 of stuff to buy anyway. It wasn’t even a problem that my receipt got wet and the bar code was unreadable. And no, they have no idea who I am; I have no doubt they would have done this for any customer. All in all, a stand up corporation.

First Real Test

My first real project with the drill press was boring holes for a pair of dry erase marker holders. I needed a series of 1/2″ diameter holes 1-3/4″ deep in some red oak. To set the depth stop, I drilled the first hole approximately 1-1/2″ deep and then incrementally drilled a bit more and checked the depth with a caliper until the hole was 1-3/4″ deep. Then I set the depth stop from that first hole.

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In the first post of this series, I chronicled my experiences purchasing, transporting, and assembling Delta’s DP350 bench top drill press. You might want to go back and read it if you haven’t already. In this post I’ll look at the specifications and features of the drill press.

One of the first dimensions to look at when buying a drill press is what is the widest piece of stock the machine can drill into the center of. For some reason, manufacturers use this measurement rather than the more practical distance from the column (or back of the machine) to the center of the chuck. It makes the machine sound twice as big as it really is. So a drill press like the DP350, which claims to be a 12″ drill press, actually measures 6″ from column to center of the chuck.

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Sick of struggling with a micro-mill machine from Harbor Freight to drill holes, I decided to buy a real benchtop drill press. I really didn’t want a full-size floor model because I don’t have the floor space for it in my shop, but I have plenty of bench space. A few years ago I did the research and determined that a Delta DP350 was the best option, but lost my good judgment at the last minute and figured I could do more with a micro-mill.  Now, after a little more research, I discovered not much has changed.

I headed on over to my local Rockler to pick up the drill press, but was dismayed that they didn’t have any on the floor, even though they had in the past. I thought maybe I should have called first, but figuring it never hurts to ask, I found out they had a few Delta DP 350′s in the back. So I ended up paying about $230 after tax and Rockler’s super secret 10% discount, which is about what you’d expect to pay looking at the street price.

Hefting the box into my truck with the manager, I noticed it was damn heavy, about 80 lbs. of awkward box. Although the weight was a good sign, there was no way I was carrying it by myself down to my shop; I would have to take it out of the box and transfer it piece by piece down to the basement.

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Large machine purchases are not as common as they were a few years ago — to try to combat this issue, the folks at Delta are bringing the rebates. From now until May 31st Delta is offering a $100 mail-in rebate if you purchase select woodworking machines and the base for it.

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Delta can be normally be depended on to roll out hard-working wood shop gear. The 46-455 and 46-460 lathes are fine-looking examples of that trend. Like many larger shop machines, one looks about the same as another — until you look under the hood.

To start off, the first attention grabber was the quick-change belt system that can easily change the five or six groove belts with the pull of a lever. You can adjust the rpm much like a bicycle. Move the belt to one of three positions internally and dial in the rest of the rpms on the adjustable speed knob located on the head stock.

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CPO is selling this six-piece set of Delta Turning Tools for $130. The set includes a 3/4″ Roughing Gouge, 3/8″ Spindle Gouge, 3/4″ Oval Skew, 3/16″ Diamond-Section Parting Tool, 1/2″ Round-Nose Scraper, 1″ Square-End Scraper. Made of HSS, it’s a useful set for beginning turners.

Delta Set of 6 Spindle Turning Tools [CPO Woodworking]
Street Pricing [Google]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]

 

To follow up on the aforementioned sad state of affairs:  I have the home shop up and running again.  It’s not perfect yet and there’s still a ways to go, but I did manage to make room for two big pieces of gear — Chuck’s big Delta planer and my father’s ShopSmith have both come to live with me.

It’s a super-sweet turn of events, but I quickly found out I know precisely zip about setting up the eight tools the ShopSmith’s got going for it — so I’ve been poring over manuals to learn how to calibrate this hunk of wood-mangling hotness.  Also, I need to drop a 240 plug in the shop for the planer.

Speaking of the planer, here’s a handy tip for you folks setting up your own home shop:  Suggesting to your other half that you’ll just run an extension into the laundry room and unplug the dryer when you need it — not a good plan.  Who knew?

 

Delta’s Unisaw has been kicking around longer than most tool guys out there today.  Over the years they’ve changed it to fit the times and added a few things here and there that make it a little more pleasant to deal with — this March, Delta’s launching the latest incarnation of this famous saw system, and they’ll be accepting pre-orders in a matter of days.

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Though it seems strange, even huge trucks can run short on storage space. Their jobs often require all the bed space to be taken up with the load they’re transporting, leaving little room for stowing gear. Delta’s underbed storage boxes help with that.

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