Tapping Head Information


"The Montana Bladesmith"
This subject was brought up on another section of the forums....but it reminded me/gives me a good opportunity to share some insight on these wonderful devices. If you build folders, and don't own one.....YOU NEED IT!! The savings in broken taps alone has paid for mine many times over.....

Tapping heads are the bee's knees for anybody building folders, and/or using screws for knife construction! Before my tapping head, I could count on breaking at least 3-4 taps with each folder, trying to do it freehand.....and that gets expensive when you're paying $14 each for 2-56 taps! :)

My tapping head is a "knockoff" brand that I purchased when Enco used to be in business. It works great! The big key is getting the clutch adjusted correctly....once you get that down.....you will wear taps out before you break any. Although I keep 1-72 through 6-32 taps in the shop, I have created/modified all my folder patterns to utilize 2-56 screws throughout....with the exception or pivots. That means I only have to have 2-56 taps, screws, and the correct bits/reamers....so it save some materials/overhead costs. It also saves me having to adjust the clutch on the tapping head....which can be a pain, and, in turn, saves lots of taps!

The biggest thing I can tell you when purchasing a tapping head, MAKE SURE IT COMES WITH COLLETS!! They are the little cone shaped rubber parts, with steel strips in them. If you happen to stumble on a used one, especially a Tapmatic brand, and the price seems too good....ask if collets are included..... Chances are if the price is low, it doesn't come with collets....and buying a full set separately is nearly as expensive as buying the tapping head new!

I purchased my tapping head based on the shank size, that I could get on a 10" drill press. I purchased a 10" drill press from Home Depot, with a JT-33 taper shank...... and a tapping head with the same....that way I just took the chuck off the press, and put the tapping head on.....and that's it's home forever.

My tapping head automatically reverses..... once I built the device that's clamped to the drill press column (the long slotted piece of steel that holds the tapping head's reversing "switch" but also allows for up and down travel).... when you put down pressure on the quill, the tapping head rotates cockwise. When you let up, the shaft of the tapping head pulls downward, and engages a reversing clutch.....which pulls the tap out.

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KnifeDogs.com & USAknifemaker.com Owner
Staff member
2nd this.
I have the same one and keep it on a cheap HF dedicated drill press.
Tapping 2-56 holes in titanium is stupidly easy.
Highly recommended.
Once the clutch was adjusted I have never broken a tap and also had to replace them from simply being worn out.


I have a big and little tapmatic...If I knew knock offs were available....

Ed's is an exact clone of the tapmatic from what i can see...

nice fixture for holding the arm!