Friday 16 January 2009

Old but much loved

Having shown you my brand new workstation for my dremel I thought it was about time I showed you a much older, but very much loved drill. I've mentioned a couple of times that a friend very kindly gave me some of her parents' old tools from the days when they were goldsmiths in Portsmouth. I love them and use many of them every day I work in the shed, and this beautiful bow drill and one of the hammers are my favourite tools. I guess beauty really is in the eye of the beholder!

For those of you who haven't come across them before, bow drills (sometimes called pump drills) are centuries old. They've got a drill shaft (mine is metal) which obviously has the drill bit at one end, and at the other it's got a hole drilled through. A cord runs through this hole, and each end of this is attached to an end of a stick with a hole in the centre - the hole board. As you can see from the photo, the hole board fits onto the drill shaft. The last piece of the drill is the flywheel.

To use it, I place the drill bit in the indentation I've made with a centre punch (okay, a nail and a hammer!) so that it doesn't slip, hold the top of the drill shaft with one hand and give the hole board a push so that the cord winds up the shaft. I then hold the hole board and push it down gently. The drill spins, the weight of the flywheel makes the cord wind back up and then it starts again! I love using it as it's got such a soothing rhythm. I won't stop using it just because I've got a modern version as it's great for drilling small holes in small pieces, like the daisies that you can see, as it only needs one hand once you get going, so the other hand is free to hold the piece you're drilling.

Okay, the history lesson is over for today! There will be photos of finished daisies tomorrow!


  1. How fascinating! And just think how many pieces of jewellery that drill has helped to make.

  2. That's one of the things I love about it!


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