My small drill press was not in use, so I decided to convert it to a tapping stand.  Tapping is done manually, so the motor, pulley, mandrel spring, electrical wiring, etc. could be removed.  A tommy bar was installed in place of the mandrel pulley. 

The "stop" nuts were retained and are used, as needed, to set the depth of tapping. 

The below photograph shows how the drill press has been "stripped" and converted to a tapping stand.  The t-handle is rotated during tapping and is reversed to back out the tap. A "button" fits in the t-handle and is used only to exert downward force when starting the tap. 

I have had very good results using this taping stand with a variety of tap sizes.  The tap and workpiece are held steady and a sensitive feel is provided by the t-handle.  Of course, threading with small taps must proceed gently,  but fortunately, the t-handle provides ample feedback to avoid excess.  This tool has improved my success rate, and I have broken no taps  as yet.   

As explained previously, the button is used only when starting the thread.