I purchased an Arbor press some time ago and quickly got frustrated with constantly trying to pack the work piece to get the handle into the optimum position to apply the reactive force. This was especially so when trying to press a keyway broaching tool through a bore. The below video shows how this simple re-work was done to convert the Arbor Press into a much more useful and easy to use Broaching Press.
Some good mods I particularly like the Delrin friction pads. My arbor press has a 2 ft long 1" diameter handle and just like you describe it is a pain to get things packed to a good working height I also have a 1" drive ratchet that would do nicely on my large press if I would just take the time to do what you did
Never try to tell me it can't be done
When I have to paint I use http://kbs.justoldtrucks.com/
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