What are Hand Drill and Hand Drill Tools?

What is a Hand Drill?

A hand drill is the simplest primitive method to produce the rapid rotary motion of a rod. It consists in holding the rod vertically between both hands and moving these back and forth, in opposite directions, as in rubbing them. The rod typically is one or two feet long and half an inch in diameter.

Hand drills have been used by many primitive societies as a fire drill to start a fire. It is still often learned as a useful survival skill. A hand drill could also be used as a tool for drilling holes in hard materials such as wood, stone, or bone.

For either use, the hands must also exert downward pressure while spinning the rod. As a result, the hands drift down the rod and must be periodically raised to the top again.

These interruptions can be avoided by cutting a notch at the top of the shaft, tying a cord through it, and then inserting the thumbs through loops in the cord. However, skilled operators can either maintain pressure with their hands almost stationary vertically; or, in a movement comparable to floating, can “float” their hands back to the top of the drill.

A hand drill is a simple tool used to ignite a pile of dried tinder.

Steps to Make a Hand Drill:

A hand drill is a simple tool used to ignite a pile of dried tinder. Because hands create less friction than a bow drill, this method is only effective in hot climates when the wood is very dry.

  • The drill is cut from a straight, dry piece of hardwood such as ash, birch, hickory, maple or oak. The strong stalk of a bull thistle, a sunflower, or a cattail plant can also be used. Avoid gummy or resinous woods. It should be about 15 in long, 2 in thick, and as round and straight as possible to minimize wobbling during rotation. Round on end and carve the other to a sharp point.
  • Choose a piece of softwood such as cottonwood, pine, or poplar about 6 in wide by 12 to 18 in long by 1 in thick for the fireboard. On one of the long sides of the board, well towards the end, cut a V-shaped notch about ½ deep into the center of the board. Then dig out a small hole about 1/8 in, or less, from tip of notch for the drill point to fit into.

Set-Up (Starting your Fire):

  • Set the fireboard on a smooth, even surface where it will not slip. Place a small pile of tinder under the notch in the side of the board.
  • Set the pointed end of the drill in the hold near the notch on the fireboard. Gently roll the drill back and forth in your hands until the drill begins to bite into the fireboard. Covering hands in pine pitch from cut branches or pine cones may help the drill roll more easily over hands. A hot black powdered wood known as char will fall through the notch onto the pile of tinder. As smoke is produced, spin the drill faster. Never allow the tip of the drill to leave fireboard as the air will cool the drill hole immediately. Always maintain a constant downward pressure.
  • When you have a considerable pile of hot char on your pile of tinder, move the fireboard away and gently fan the pile with your hand until you have a bright glow. Add more tinder and blow until the tinder bursts into flames. Begin adding kindling as your fire grows.

What is Hand Drill Tool?

Hand drills are useful tools for woodworkers and those who prefer not to use power tools.

A hand drill is a manual tool that converts and amplifies the circular motion of the crank into the circular motion of a drill chuck. Though it has been replaced in most applications by power drills, the hand drill is used by many woodworkers.

Hand Drills are elegant solutions for simple drilling tasks and in certain situations a superior choice over power drills. Craftsmen prior to the invention of power tools could accomplish any furniture building task with a quiver of hand tools which would certainly include the trusty hand drill and bit brace.

Today consider a hand drill when you need that extra bit of control for delicate or precision drilling at that critical step in your project. Hand drills are also great tools for pre-drilling and drilling into wood prone to splitting.

Consider using a bit brace when drilling in dense material or for drilling larger, deeper holes – the extra torque will help you drill more easily and power through.

The hand drill consists of a cranking handle that turns pinion gears on the main shaft. A chuck at the end of the shaft holds a drill bit. The opposite end of the shaft has a second handle that is held stationary while the chuck turns. The drill bit is selected to cut a hole of a specific width, such as 3/8 inch; the size typically is inscribed on the bit’s shaft.

How to Safely Use a Hand Drill

To safely use a hand drill, loosen the chuck and insert the appropriate drill bit, then tighten the chuck. Most hand drills require a special tool to firmly tighten the chuck. Place the bit’s tip where you want to cut a hole, making sure the bit is at the same angle as the desired hole.

Turn the cranking handle to rotate the bit and drill the hole. With smaller drill bits, be careful not to apply excess pressure on the handle or the bit may bend or break.

How to Maintain a Hand Drill

Hand drills require little maintenance but can be damaged by improper use, such as using the wrong drill bit or placing excess pressure on the tool. For optimum efficiency, periodically place a drop of light oil on the crank pinions and in the chuck gear.