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, you should start removing the chuck from the drill press.

In this article, our pro woodworkers will share how to do this process efficiently without damaging 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?

Once the chuck from the drill has been damaged, worn out, or stuck, you should remove and replace it. 

You should also remove the chuck key from the drill press immediately after use to prevent it from getting stuck or damaged. Our experts also suggest that you clean the drill press regularly. 

What to Do Before Removal + Deciding on the Right Approach

There are a couple of tricks that our experts would like to share before you decide to 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

As our experts say, the drill press chuck can be in good condition until it expires. Here are the important tips to avoid a damaged chuck and keep away from accidents while 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 since 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. A drill press is a reliable tool to accomplish more jobs at home, and replacing the 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 woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson
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