Hand drills

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So, I’ve got a nice old hand brace, and a collection of auger bits, but I’m looking to pick up a small hand drill for twist bits smaller than about 3/16”. I’m planning to use modern bits and am wanting a tool for more delicate work where a power drill is a bit over the top. I’m thinking something in the smaller egg beater class might work. What say you? 

And as a matter of education for myself and others, I’d ask you guys to post your hand drills and maybe a description for size and use, bit limitations, whatever. 

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

106 Replies

 ​ Lee Valley Replica Egg-Beater Drill - Lee Valley Tools

thinking that price would be cheaper then antique 🙄🙄

*TONY ** Reinholds* ALWAYS REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN

I'd just get an old Stanley 803, dirt cheap and work well.
I do not have this one of these but for a new old one, I've always thought this small one from Lee Valley looks interesting for small stuff. You can probably do cheaper by finding something vintage. 



Have you considered a push drill, something like a Yankee screwdriver?  For quick small holes they are pretty handy.   After restoring one with a plastic handle (replaced with wood) I've sort of rediscovered them lately and for the bits, this adapter also from LV lets you use modern hex bits. 




--Nathan, TX. Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

Did you really just ask this bunch to post a pic of all their drills 😁

This is what will fit on my bench
This just might turn into the hand drill of your dreams thread.  

--Nathan, TX. Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

Good shout on the Yankee screwdriver, they are very handy for small bits.

I’ve actually got an old ya Lee screwdriver somewhere I think. I feel like it would be too forceful and unguided for small delicate holes though, no?

I was looking at a couple Millers Falls 2 eggbeater drills last night. It’s the number just a sizing? I saw 3s and 5s too. 

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

Just buy a little chuck that goes down to zero and put the drill you have

Cheers, Jim ........................ Variety is the spice of life...............Learn something new every day

Mike, past life as the master interrogator for the inquisition? 🤠
I like the micro chucks, Have one that fits my little cordless driver and it actually can grip my #60 bit.
Push drill is good for some holes but nothing below 3/32” or so for me because I tend to snap them.

I have MF #2 and #5.  The #5 is a much better size for smaller drills.  The #2 is a little too large IMO.  A #4 would probably be the best for really detailed work but they are harder to find and the price tag usually matches.

The Buck Rogers drills, 104 and 308, are a good option too.  They are more compact so you can get good control with more capacity.  I don’t recall what the low end of the chuck is, it might go to zero on the 104 which has a 1/4” max capacity.

I can get some pics and better measurements when I get back home this weekend.  Unsurprisingly though, I’m firmly in the Millers Falls camp 😉  I have to admit though, I don’t use eggbeaters a lot.  A cordless drill is my preference and when I drill small pilot holes for small screws, I tend to use a push drill.  Like I said, under 3/32 or so is about the only time I use any of my half dozen eggbeaters.
And you can’t correlate model number to size with MF drills.  Model number just signifies the order they were released in.  Except the Buck Rogers where 308=3/8 capacity and 104=1/4 capacity.
I looked at a couple Yankee push drills (71s maybe?) but they look like they use proprietary bits. I’d much rather be able to use a humble twist or brad point but. While I’d rather collect a vintage tool, that might not be possible for the push drill. Input??

So maybe I’ll also look at a MF 5 and see how that goes. I do like the open spoke look of that drill. 

Keep adding input, whether you think it’s relevant or not. For posterity, this is a good thread to load with information. 👍🏼

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

All push drills had a proprietary bit type.  Either notched or a spline shank.  IIRC you can buy adaper chucks but I think that would introduce a lot of slop in the alignment which is the main advantage of a push drill to me.

That said, most of them, at least the MF ones I have that use splined bits, will also hold standard twist bits in a limited range.  I can’t recall that range right now though.  I know they won’t go all the way down to fully closed though and IIRC the max size is around 1/8”.  So if I was to guess I’d say like 1/16-1/8 inch twist bits.
SplinterGroup
Mike, past life as the master interrogator for the inquisition? 🤠
The medieval torture equipment is in the next room  😎
Hmm…ok. Well, perusing FleaBay shows a host of MF 5s so I picked up one that looked to be in nice shape and was inexpensive. We’ll see how it shows up. I need a ‘user’ as this isn’t my area of collection/obsession…but who knows, maybe it will become one? Also, will be my first MF vintage tool, so that’s kinda neat!

Might also look for a push drill. Anyone got a brand or mode number that will take modern bits? Kenny, you know the mode number for the MF?

Ryan/// ~sigh~ I blew up another bowl. Moke told me "I made the inside bigger than the outside".

My favorite by far is the 188A.  I really like the size and design of the black tennite handle and the indexed bit storage in the handle.  It’s got a really tight action.  They’re fairly common and affordable too.  There is also the 185A which I don’t have but it has a solid steel body and handle with knurling on the handle.  It was a carryover from the Goodell Pratt line after the acquisition.  A lot of people kinda hold that one up as the gold standard.  I don’t think there’s any difference between GP branded versions and MF branded ones.

Restoring Eggbeaters can be fun too.  Here is a #2 I did.

Are those the 2-flute bits?
Yep.  Straight flutes.