Removing the Chuck from a Drill Press — A Step-by-Step Guide

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The common problem with a drill press is when a chuck is stuck, damaged, or worn out. If something like this happens to your drill press, it’s important you start removing the chuck from the drill press.

In this guide, I’ll share how you can effectively carry out this procedure without causing any harm to your drill press!

Drill Press Chuck, Explained

The drill press chuck enables the drill to work properly. You can find it around the drill bit shank and tighten it with a three-jawed clamp.


Your drill press can have either a keyed, keyless, or torqued chuck. But the most common drill press chuck is keyed. Therefore, you’ll need to use a wrench or a chuck key to tighten or loosen the chuck. 

Why Should You Remove the Chuck from the Drill?

When the chuck of the drill becomes damaged, wears out, or gets stuck, it’s time to remove and replace it. Over time, dust, debris, and lubricants can accumulate within the chuck, affecting its performance and accuracy.

You should also remove the chuck key from the drill press immediately after use to prevent it from getting stuck or damaged. It’s also wise to clean the drill press on a regular basis to avoid dirt buildup.

What to Do Before Removal + Deciding on the Right Approach

Here are a couple of things you should do before you remove the chuck from the drill. 

new drill press chuck

First, you must unplug your drill press or remove the battery. Also, you need to use a thick cloth underneath the chuck to prevent damage or dent once it falls from the drill press. Afterward, you can decide which removal method you can do.

Two Methods to Remove the Chuck Properly

Like professionals, you must follow these two methods to disassemble the drill safely. 

Method #1: Right Chuck Removal Key

Step 1: Use a drill chuck removal tool. The tool is a metal wedge that you can adjust the size to work with your drill press and the chuck. 

drill press and key tool

Step 2: Strike the removal tool into a slot above the chuck. Use a hammer to tap the removal tool until the chuck falls out. The direction should be clockwise [1] for it to loosen.

Step 3: Lastly, you can clean and replace the drill press chuck. 

Method #2: Hammer-Hardwood as a Removal Tool

Another method is using a hammer-hardwood as an alternative removal tool. 

removing chuck with hammer

Step 1: Get a piece of hardwood or metal piping and angle it at the top of the chuck. 

Step 2: You need to hit the piece of piping using a rubber hammer or a wooden mallet until the chuck falls out. Try not to break anything when hammering the drill press.

Step 3: Once the chuck falls, clean the drill press and replace the chuck. 

Tips to Avoid a Damaged Chuck

The drill press chuck can be in good condition until it expires. Here are several essential tips I’ve learned to prevent chuck damage and accidents when working with a drill press.

drill press chuck

When to Reinstall or Replace the Chuck

Eventually, the chuck needs replacement when the drill bit slips from the drill press chuck. However, the installation of the chuck is as easy as how you remove it.

Speaking of drill bits, you may want to check out these articles

operating a drill press

How to Put the Chuck on the Drill Press

Simply put the chuck on the drill press with the retaining screw. Then, have it tightened into the jaws of the chuck in a counterclockwise direction. 


Why does the chuck get stuck on the drill?

The chuck gets stuck on the drill because the retaining screw inside is loose. The loosened screw prevents the chuck from moving the drill bit. 

So, you need to tighten the screw using the proper screwdriver in a counter-clockwise direction since the screw is in the reversed thread. 

Are all drill chucks similar?

Not all drill chucks are similar. You can choose from sizes depending on how you want to use the drill. 

There are different chuck sizes. The first standard size is 3/8 inch or 10mm, whereas other thread size measures 1/2 inch x 20tpi UNF or Unified fine-pitch threads.


Removing the chuck from a drill press is an easy process, given the two safe methods you can do. While drill presses are reliable tools for various tasks, replacing its chuck is imperative for safe and perfect professional drilling jobs. 

So there you go, your preparation to safely remove the chuck from the drill press is complete!

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You've probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.
Robert Johnson

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