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The Walker-Turner Drill Press

Updated on July 7, 2013

One of the biggest names in the machine tool industry was Walker-Turner and the Walker-Turner drill press is part of a quality line-up of heavy duty machinery. When it comes to band saws, jig saws and table saws the company was at the forefront and was responsible for some serious machines leading up to and during the Second World War.

In 1939 the company included the drill press to its inventory, adding its first Radial Arm Drill Press a few years later. For precision drilling on a large scale there were no better machines than the drill press.

It is still possible to find some of the old Walker-Turner drill presses with restoration work being done on them to bring them back to their former glory. Anyone who has a passion for woodworking and is after a smoothly operating machine will appreciate the way the Walker-Turner drill presses perform.

About Drill Presses

The drill press was designed as a multi-purpose machine in the shop with the ability to perform more functions than merely drilling holes. The Walker-Turner drill press was able to be used for boring, surface grinding, milling, sanding, shaping, routing, mortising, tenoning and carving among some other purposes. It was a hard-working machine that was able to withstand all kinds of abuse that came with some of the heavy duty jobs put to it.

The majority of Walker-turner drill presses were created so that they could easily be converted into other types of machines, most significantly a shaper which meant that the workshop didn’t require that extra machine. It meant that the drill press became a more necessary machine for both the professional and amateur craftsman alike enabling mouldings and carvings to be performed on the same machine.

A drill press is a valuable piece of equipment that is a must if you have to perform precision work and want to accurately locate your holes. In most cases you can set your work by clamping it down with a vise or, if you are performing taller work the table may be swivelled out of the way to accommodate it. The machine is a versatile piece of equipment and it can be used for more than simply drilling holes with attachments to give it a multitude of uses – sanding, grinding, sharpening. The best types allow you to vary the speed of the drill and have an adjustable plate so that you can completely control the work site. The drill is usually lowered and raised by means of a feed lever and the drill bit is tightened and loosened with a key chuck – something that may be difficult to find for the older and more scarce Walker-Turner drill presses.

As a fine old piece of machinery the Walker-Turner drill press is well worth tracking down and if you can get them for a reasonable price, say somewhere in the $200 - $300 bracket for one in good condition, then it would be a good idea to snap it up.

Below are some other drill press bargains that you may want to consider.

Benefits of A Radial Arm Drill Press

The benefits of using a radial arm drill press involve being able to make angled holes without having to tilt the drill press table. You can keep the work piece horizontal while the drill bit comes down at an angle. Jobs that require a lot of angled holes are made much easier using this type of drill press.

These types of drill presses have a feature that allows deeper drilling thanks to the ability to tip forward by more than 15 inches. The hole that can be made will then be far deeper than is possible with a standard benchtop drill. This means that if you need to drill through the end of a long piece of work such as a table leg it will be possible with the radial arm drill press.

Not only will you want to find quality Walker Turner drill presses at reasonable prices but, more importantly if you have already picked one up, you will want to be able to find parts for the drill press. As you can see on this page there are Walker-Turner drill press parts readily available online at eBay and these continue to appear at regular intervals.

Because the Walker-Turner drill presses are getting older it will be more and more likely that machine parts are going to wear out and new parts will become harder to find. Vital parts such as the spindle quill assembly can become worn and will certainly have to be replaced at some point.

Some of the machines that you might want to keep an eye out for from the old Walker-Turner drill press range include the D520 Driver 520 Drill Press, D570 Drill Press, Walker-Turner/Rockwell ½ HP 3-Phase Drill Press, D710 13” Bench Model Drill Press, D925 15” Bench Model Drill Press. The 900-series drill presses were particularly effective machines and were given a makeover at one point so that they have what we would consider a more art deco appearance.


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      gerald mclane 5 years ago

      I have a walker-turner floor model drill press ser.# 1 944 and i would like to get a parts break down because it sounds as if i will need some parts, at moment it runs great. Can you help?

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      Dave 6 years ago

      The last comment about wear and parts that are hard to find is not quite accurate. The spindle has bearings that do wear out but can be replaced with new bearings that are available from industrial suppliers. The motor also has bearings that can be replaced. I just had a 1950's rockwell motor bearings replaced by a motor shop for $135. The old repulsion induction motor is a good as new and twice that of a foreign import. The main thing to look for on a vintage machine is cracks in the cast iron. They sometimes can be repaired but it requires a very skilled welder and special rod. I have 20-30 vintage machines in my shop and would not trade them for every tool at Sears and Home Depot together. If you decide to purchase a vintage piece of machinery there is a form dedicated to their preservation. It is

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      dancubed 7 years ago

      Walker-Turner is the king of the drill presses. I remember having one in my 8th grade shop class. Very smooth.

      Steve of

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      Michael of 7 years ago

      This is a great hub about a great make of pillar drill / drill press. I am now officially a fan - it's just a shame they are getting so scarce.


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      Thomas 7 years ago

      Good background information on walker turner drill.

      Thomas of