Reader Aaron Cashion writes:
“Watched your DVD about drawboring today after reading your ‘Workbenches’ book. Really enjoyed both. I had never heard of drawboring, and this will defintely be going into my arsenal. Where can I get a good eggbeater style hand drill? Are there new quality ones being made or should I go the eBay route and look for a vintage one? I prefer to buy quality and not some Asian import for $4.99.”
Ah Aaron, I relish opening this can of oligochaetes.
I have yet to encounter a newly manufactured eggbeater drill that I like. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any. I’ve always been curious about this drill from Germany. However, I’ve never seen one boring in the wild.
Most of the eggbeaters , more properly called “hand drills” , that I’ve used have been from the venerable Millers Falls company. This company made a shocking quantity and variety of these drills, and you can learn all about the different models here at Old Tool Heaven.
In the Midwest and East, you can find these tools at almost any antique store, flea market or garage sale. I typically pick them up for $5 to $15 when they are in good working order. Look for a chuck that has jaws that open and close properly (they can be missing their springs). You want the gear train to move smoothly , through usually a little cleaning and lubrication can fix things up.
Typical hand drills will be missing their removable side handles, so snatch up any that of those that you stumble on.
These drills come up every darn day on eBay, though you cannot tell if the thing is clapped out. Here’s a search script that will take you to a page of drills. However, I prefer to take my drills for a spin before spending my American dollars.
The other option is to spend a bit more and get a drill that is better than new.
Wiktor Kuc of New Mexico buys these old drills and rebuilds them so that they look and work better than when they came from the factory. I’ve had a few of Wiktor’s drills pass through my hands, and all I can say is that the man charges far too little for the work he does. If drill restoration is an art form, Wiktor is the Leonardo.
You can purchase these drills from Wiktor at his web site wktools.com. You might have to wait a bit for one, but it’s worth it.
- Christopher Schwarz