A brief history of hand drills

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/08/15/a-brief-history-of-hand-drills.html

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My Yankee Handyman drill is perhaps the most loved tool in my box.

That sounds vaguely dirty, somehow…

But srsly, it’s the best.


“Drawer Number 04”: the ‘Passer Drill’ just caught my eye recently.


Warning: Slightly Boring

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Brace and bit is the way to go in hand drills (well probably only for wood).

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I have a Craftsman push drill much like the one shown. I can testify that it’s ideal for pilot holes and small holes in general, not least because it only takes one hand to operate, unlike a hand-cranked drill.

As a bonus, it fits in my “general household tools” box, which my Milwaukee cordless certainly won’t.

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Hand drilling was the standard for years and is still quite common in equipping rock climbing routes with anchors. No fancy gears though, just a bit holder, a hammer drill bit, and your hammer. All while perched tens to thousands of feet off the ground. Whack, turn, repeat till you have a 1/2" hole a few inches deep in the rock face before you. Then you can install a bolt, clip in, and relax.

The craftsmanship involved in making some of these drills is superb.

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That’s the model I have as well, I inherited it from my late aunt, so it’s gotta be at least 30 years old, and it still works fine.

My father owns one of those. I’ve always lusted after it, but it appears I’ll have to pry it out of his cold dead hands…someday.
On a lighter note, this is the same tool that Harry Tuttle used in the movie “Brazil”. I have proof!

That’s it in the foreground, slightly out of focus. I recognize the swivel-chuck there on the end.

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Love my Yankee Drills! Work like champs and never run out of battery life.

A very handy tool indeed.

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Oh. Hand DRILLS.

De Niro must have had a ton of fun doing his scenes!

We’re all in it together, kid!

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