Drills Millers Falls

In praise of the hand drill

Hand tools are going through something of a renaissance as I write this post, and rightly so. As the world looks hard at our increasing consumption of energy, we find ourselves also evaluating the way we work.

Using a hand tool, instead of a power tool, might, for some, seem like a waste of valuable time. After all, why spend ages toiling away, when you can flick a switch, and get the jobs done in minutes, sometimes seconds?

I spend a long time explaining to people why I love using hand tools rather than using power tools. It is a feeling of connection to the work, an enjoyment of the ‘journey’, rather than just celebrating the arrival. Similar to taking three train connections, rather than flying I guess. I also find myself referencing the past, the knowledge I’ve gleaned from how those ‘old guys used to do it’. I will never tire of learning woodworking technique from tradesmen of the past.

A hand drill embodies all these ideas for me. I still (have to) use a power drill sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a total luddite. But using a hand drill, especially one like this, is so much nicer.

This Millers Falls ‘Eggbeater 2-B’ drill came to me from a friend, who said his granddad had a few nice old tools. Other tools have been donated to me the same way. There was hardly any cleaning needed. The pride that tradesmen took in their work so often translates to how they also took care of their tools. The two, dare I say it, go ‘hand in hand’.






A fine type study resource on Millers Falls hand drills can be found at George’s Basement. I can add nothing to this exhaustive record!

Also, if you’re an avid reader of Chris Schwarz’s excellent blog, you may find his post about hand drills of interest.

Planes Restoration

Stanley #48 restoration

This Stanley #48 is a tonguing and grooving plane. Designed to work on stock from 3/4″ to 1 1/4″, (the groove centers on stock 7/8″). It holds two cutters, and originally the one to the right was a wider one, meaning if you’re working with stock that isn’t 7/8″, the wider cutter will still trim it. To use the plane, you disengage the little sprung pin at the front, which releases the guide rail, and switches to either use one cutter, or two. You’re then set up to make the tongue, or the groove.
This plane has some rust, but should be serviceable once I can get the front pin and guide rail moving. Both are currently seized!

I’m hoping most of this is just surface rust. 🙁

I’ve found the best way to get something moving again usually involves a product called ‘WD40’. But even after several quirts of this, and a short wait, things are staying stubbornly solid.

Flipping the plane over, I can see that the front pin has a hole right through to the base, so in goes another big squirt of ‘WD40’, and the same for the central guide bolt, upon which the guide rail swings.

(Drums fingers on countertop).

TAA-DAA! The pin finally releases, with a bit of help from my pliers. (I put a bit of cloth on the jaws to make sure I didn’t mess up the pin’s head). The guide rail creaks into it’s first swing in years, and I add another liberal spray of ‘WD40’, just for luck.

I’m using a rust removal gel from ‘Hammerite’. A liberal coating goes on with my girlfriend’s toothbrush, (not the one she currently uses, I hasten to add). A wait of 20 mins, and let’s see how much rust comes away.

First application did pretty well, but another two coats and some scrubbing with very fine wire-wool, gets just about everything off.

The finished article gets a good wash of clean water and a dry with my girlfriend’s hairdryer. After that, a quick coat of oil to protect the metal from flash rust, and we’re good to go. The blades have been cleaned, honed and replaced. Just need to put the front rosewood knob back on and I’ll post some pics of this in use soon.

Swing out sister! 🙂