Boxford Home Page Boxford Drill Literature
Manufactured from the late 1950s until the 1970s Boxford drills were made by Boxford Machine Tools Ltd. of Wheatley, near Halifax, in England. Early models were all listed as "Union" (as was the company's early tool and cutter grinder), though by the early 1970s the name was to be dropped and "Boxford" used exclusively, the latter type recognisable not just by their badges but also a deeper head with smooth, curved sides.Some pictures are high resolution and may take time to load
Just two models were ever offered: the PD4 and PD8- both available as either a bench or floor-standing pedestal type - with, common to all versions (Union and Boxford branded) a spindle centre to column clearance of 174 mm (7 inches); a tilting table 280 x 254 mm (11 inches x 10 inches) with a position zero location; a spindle running in an angular contact and plain bearing; a ball-bearing supported 4-step spindle pulley that took an "A" section V-belt and a quick-locking, direct-reading depth stop. One difference between early and late models was that those branded "Union" of the PD4 type had an extended spindle with a No. 1 Morse taper socket - while the PD8 versions had a No. 2 Morse inside the spindle. Electrical switchgear changed slightly over the years but, in general, consisted of a standard safety no-volt release push-button starter mounted on the left-hand face of the head and a micro-switch on the hinge-open belt cover to stop the motor if the guard was opened. On later machines safety was improved in two ways: by mounting the push-button starter on a sheet-metal casing so that it faced forwards and adding a safety cut-out switch that stopped the motor immediately. Both older pedestal models also had the option of a foot-operated stop switch built into the forward edge of the base casting - this fitting remaining available until the end of production. The main tube was 76 mm ( 3 inches) in diameter and finish ground with safety stop rings were fitted under the head--and beneath the table of the pedestal model. The working area of the base on bench models measured 254 mm x 254 mm (10 inches x 10 inches) and on the pedestal version a necessarily more stable 370 x 330 mm (14.625 x 13 inches).
With a drilling capacity in steel of 13 mm (0.5"), the PD4 had, as standard, four direct-drive speeds from its 0.5 h.p. 3-phase motor of 620, 1100, 1840 and 3240 r.p.m.--though the makers did offer an alternative pulley set that gave a range more suited to heavier work of 340, 630, 1120 and 2100 r.p.m. The chuck nose to table distance on the bench model was a maximum of 288 mm (11.375") and to the base 450 mm (17.75 inches). Corresponding figures for the pedestal drill were chuck to table 890 mm (35 inches) and chuck to base 1180 mm (46.5 inches). The weight of the bench model was a substantial 139 kg (305 lbs) and the pedestal 195 kg (430 lbs).
Of identical layout to the PD4, the Boxford PD8 had a drilling capacity of 19 mm (3/4") - the extra strength being brought about by a redesigned head that incorporated a most useful addition, a geared slow-speed drive--this giving a range of eight very useful speeds: 82,152, 260, 400, 550, 1000, 1700 and 2900 r.p.m. Engaged by a single-action lever on the left-hand face of the main body--there was no need to pull out a bull-wheel locating pin as on the rather fine competing Kerry Super 8--the result was a drill able to tackle a very wide range of work. With the addition of gears, clearances and weights varied slightly in comparison with the ordinary models: chuck to table clearance of the bench model being reduced by 14 mm (0.55 inches) and the chuck to base by 15 mm (0.59 inches). The pedestal model lost 15 mm between the chuck and table and the same amount to the base. The bench PD8 weighed 140 kg (310 lbs) and the pedestal model 198 kg (435 lbs).
Although the majority of the Pedestal models are found with a long steel column that socketed into a short vertical extension to the base plate, the original version of the PD8 used a much heavier, more sturdy box-section support in cast iron. As the casting was enormously long, the maximum clearance between chuck nose and the table was reduced to less than half that of the PD4. Even so, from a rigidity and weight point of view, this is probably the most desirable model of all.
A number of accessories were available including, for the pedestal models, rack-and-pinion operated rise and fall to the table by a crank handle and a foot-switch built into the base; a circular table for all versions; a variety of machine vices; chuck guards; halogen light unit and a mortising attachment with a holding capacity of 108 mm (4.25 inches) wide by 100 mm (4 inches) deep.
Links to information about other makes of similar drills:
For a high-quality, heavily-built, versatile yet compact drill with a wide speed range and torque-enhancing reduction gearing within the head the choice is simple, one of the following: the superb Meddings Pacera MB and MF models and the equally useful Fobco 7/8 and 10/8, Boxford PD8, Progress 2G and 2GS and late models of the Kerry Drillmaster 3/4". Also in contention would be the rarely-found 10-speed Startrite Mercury and Speedway Models with their epicyclic gearbox mounted around the spindle nose. All makes and models were available in both bench and pillar types with some of the latter having more strongly constructed "box column" supports in cast iron.
Standard bench and pillar types
For a lighter, less expensive type - the ones with head-mounted reduction gearing always command a premium price - the same makers listed above also offered a range of direct-drive models, some with "fixed" chucks, others with No. 2 Morse taper spindles - the latter, of course, being by far the more preferable of the two. Some makers also listed - usually starting during the late 1940s and continuing into the 1950s - a range of less expensive models such as the ones named "Junior" by Progress and Kerry and "Bantam" by Startrite
Of all the various models in this "standard" range probably the best is the neat and compact Fobco "STAR" with its solid-steel column, high build quality and smooth-running performance. It's an easy drill to rebuild and restore to as-new condition and a good range of parts is still available from email@example.com