Thanks so much for that information. I appreciate you taking the time to write it out.
The tap and die set from Reactive Metals does use a pin vise set up, for both the taps and the dies. There's a set screw to hold the different taps and dies in place.
It sounds a bit like what you are describing, but I may not have understood the handle for the die part.
RM's set works well as long as I can rein in my impatience. I use a water-based tap fluid (it's green but I don't have the name handy) in one of those needle dispenser bottles.
I do know what you mean about the T-bar -- I have one that I had purchased earlier, but it's a contraption I'm not fond of.
Let me see if I can get a picture of the Reactive Metals set for you to see if the handle for the dies is similar to what you're describing. (It may take a few days...)
Thanks again for the info. Very useful!