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When we think about modern woodworking, gimlets are probably not on our radar and most likely would not make the cut for the short (or even the longer) list of essentials when we envision a shop that is centered around hand tools. 

While they are fondly remembered as tools of the past, for drilling shallow holes or as instruments for initiating narrow holes to allow fasteners to tuck into, today, gimlets have almost become extinct from our woodworking ecosystem. Most hand tool aficionados drill small-ish holes with an eggbeater drill, and for the broader holes, they use Brace & Bit drills. If you are not a hand tool purist, you’ll probably be employing corded or cordless drills for most of your drilling jobs. So the question remains: do gimlets and other one-handed drilling tools have their place in modern woodworking?

From right to left: antique, old, and modern factory-made gimlets.

My answer is yes. Gimlets and the handle drill that I am featuring in this tool review still have their place in our shops, mainly for teaching woodworking to children and in situations where we need total control over the bit and the drilling process.


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