My latest woodworking project required several small brass parts that were drilled and tapped for threaded fasteners. I tried to cut nice straight threads in 1⁄8-in.-thick material, but I just couldn’t keep the tap square to the brass material by hand.

I was about to give up when I came up with a solution that worked perfectly. I put the tap into my drill-press chuck, which held it securely at 90° to the brass workpiece on the table. Then I manually rotated the chuck to cut the threads as I gently lowered the tap through the workpiece. The result was nice straight, square threads. This technique works well in materials of all thicknesses. Bill Wells, Olympia, WA
April 4, 2013