Introduction: Old School Hand Drill Overhaul.

Picture of Old School Hand Drill Overhaul.

This instructable hopes to inspire the voltage-heads out there to acquire a lo-tech backup for li-ion, ni-cad technology and then bring it up to a serviceable level. You never know - you may find that you use it more and more and electric drills less and less.
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't be without my cordless mini-drill. Its unbranded mains voltage cousin is handy too. Both are very essential, but I discovered that sometimes it's just quicker to reach for the hand drill, put one in the chuck and start working, no hunting for chuck keys or spanners, digging out the charger and having to wait three hours etc.

The solution: Trawl the secondhand / junk / charity / goodwill shops / garage / yard sales / boot fairs for a hand drill, aka an egg-beater drill.

When choosing your drill make sure it is complete, especially the chuck jaws and springs, if anything is missing here - move on, re-manufacturing missing parts is waaaay beyond the scope of this ibble!
Check for cracks in the castings, these things have probably hit the deck a few times in their lives.
If you haven't already done so, try and give it a turn and check to see if the spindle is out of true, again move-on if there's any hint of wobble.

Step 1: Bill of Materials.

Picture of Bill of Materials.


1. You will need a de-greaser of some kind to shift all the gunk from the moving parts. I'll leave the exact petroleum distillate up to you, I went for White Spirit / Stoddard Solvent. It's cheap and relatively low on acute toxicity. Always read the label of whatever you go for.

2. A general purpose light oil, the sort you put on your bike chain is perfect.

3. Boiled linseed oil. Wood needs oiling too.
Now here in the UK boiled linseed oil has been treated with hot air (boiled?) which improves the drying time. Other methods of improving the drying time include the addition of heavy metals so check your countries' regulations and read the labels, if yours states heavy metal additives go for a neat beeswax polish, alternatively, and this sounds a better proposition, Zzoe recommends using food grade walnut oil.

4. Epoxy glue, Araldite or no-name, you choose.

5. An old toothbrush. A pair of vinyl gloves. What do you mean you don't have any old toothbrushes?

Step 2: Diss-assemble the Drill.

Picture of Diss-assemble the Drill.

So you have your drill back in your lair, time to take it apart. If your brain works like mine, take copious notes, drawings, photographs! of how the thing is built.

Step 3: Bath Time!

Picture of Bath Time!

Soak the parts in White Spirit for a few days. Or if you can't wait, get scrubbing now.

Just re-use a polypropylene tub or check this ibble submitted by Thav and make a

handy Small Parts Soaking Basket

Remember to make sure in polypropylene, use polystyrene and you have a mess.

Step 4: Assemble the Cleaned Chuck.

Picture of Assemble the Cleaned Chuck.

1. Get the jaws, springs and the yoke ready.

2. Place the springs in each slot and hole at the base of the yoke as per the second image of this step.

3. Hook each jaw on the end of the spring using the little hole in each jaw as in image 3 this step, it takes a steady hand. One spasm and they fall off, so lay off the coffee until after this bit.

4. Drop the yoke and jaws into the chuck shell as in image 4.

Step 5: Clean the Body of the Drill.

Picture of Clean the Body of the Drill.

Scrub off the pre-soaked kack, make sure to get into the pinion teeth.

Step 6: Clean and Oil the Woodwork.

Picture of Clean and Oil the Woodwork.

1 Give the wooden handles a wipe with a rag soaked in white spirit, as per the shaft handle (1 in the image.).

2. Apply a good libation of boiled linseed oil as per the side handle (2).

3. After 30 minutes soaking wipe off the excess and buff with a clean dry cloth as per the crank handle (3).

4.Warning. Linseed oil dries by oxidation, the reaction is exothermic and if you have any quantity of oil soaked rags lying around there is a chance that they could go pyro. Soak them down with water before disposing.

Step 7: Oil Up the Metalwork.

Picture of Oil Up the Metalwork.

Wipe all the metalwork over with clean general purpose oil, put a couple of drops in the oil hole in the spindle shaft, ensure that all teeth are oiled, remove any excess.

Step 8: Replace the Shaft Handle.

Picture of Replace the Shaft Handle.

Clean up the tang of the shaft. Mix the two part epoxy and apply to the tang, push the handle on while twisting to ensure even glue distribution. Leave to cure overnight if possible.

Step 9: Done.

Picture of Done.

All finished and ready for use next time there's a powerout and the li-ions aren't charged. I hope you found the instructable worthwhile and you'll go out there and do the same or better.

Sorry if you were expecting French polish, slick new paint job and gleaming metal, less is more and all that.

I've entered this in the Epilog contest and would love you to give it your vote.

Hmm, I may even take to favouring my new old hand drill just for the exercise. ;-)


orrinson6 (author)2013-05-25

Tres cool-I am missing the chuck for my old Stanley and the replacements I purchased were all the wrong size. Any suggestions?

barclayVT (author)2013-04-24

I'm going through all of my dad's ancient handtools, stored for decades in the barn. This was very helpful, as I'd like to put them back in action!

bosherston (author)barclayVT2013-04-25

Yes! Yes,yes,yes. A marvellous course of action and please don't forget to post pictures of what you find - an Instructable too maybe?
If you find anything that gets you scratching your head as to what it could be, there's plenty of folk here who'd be glad to help - me included. Best of luck with saving the tools,


Mr.Sanchez (author)2013-04-14

Tools Up !! Hand Drills Rules over technology.I got one and its so usefull.

bigpig (author)2011-04-19

Just stumbled upon your ible. I have many old tools and use them all as well as my new toys. I commend you on your restoration and the fact that you did not sand blast or paint it. The value and function of a tool such as yours would be greatly reduced. I hope you get a lifetime of use out of it!

LeOSSJ2 (author)2010-10-16


I have a small hand drill like yours, but, it's even simpler than the one you have.
But my cuestion is...
Could i put some oil into the chuck for it to work smoother, without disassembling it?

Thanks for reading and anwering!

bosherston (author)LeOSSJ22010-10-17

Sure give it a go ~ maybe use a can of spray oil WD40 to wash out any crud?

( Arghhh! my eyes! , my eyes! )

Thanks for reading and asking!


sharlston (author)2010-01-17

that multi purpouse oil iis from wiliksons right?? ive got some and when its empty i unscrew the top and fill it with motor oil

sharlston (author)2009-10-03

how did you remove your chuck?

bosherston (author)sharlston2009-10-04

Turn the chuck as if you were opening it up for the largest diameter drill bit it can take, but just keep on turning, it'll unscrew and come away, take care to keep all the bits that fall out safe.

sharlston (author)bosherston2009-10-04

did it take much force?

bosherston (author)sharlston2009-10-06

Nope, just winds off. Can you show some pics of the chuck? I'm wondering maybe it's a different mechanism to the Stanley.

sharlston (author)bosherston2009-10-21

i managed to get it off by putting a allen wrench into the chuck and hitting it with a  hammer it came off it sounds like yours needs tightening up

sharlston (author)bosherston2009-10-07

ok ill post them tonight is yours a stanly? and also its a keyless chuck and mine is not so that might be it

twocvbloke (author)2009-07-14

I bought myself a hand drill this week off the market, a second hand one made by Footprint, when I got it, the thing was stiff, and the upper handle (doesn't have a side one) was split, but with a little grease on the crank, oil on the rotating parts and a quick and cheap replacement handle (lump of wood cut to size, drilled an 8mm hole in it, sanded it smooth, put it on!!!) and it works perfectly, no batteries to charge, no wires to fiddle with, it just works, so long as my arms aren't aching... :D

sharlston (author)twocvbloke2009-10-04

footprint is it blue?

twocvbloke (author)sharlston2009-10-05

Yep, sort of a sky blue... :)

sharlston (author)twocvbloke2009-10-05

maybe its the same as mine how big does the chuck open?mines 5/16 and its made by jacobs

twocvbloke (author)sharlston2009-10-05

Not sure, haven't measured it, only used it with small bits... :)

sharlston (author)twocvbloke2009-10-05

it should say on the chcuk

bosherston (author)twocvbloke2009-07-14

Good work fella, go and make holes far, far away from electricity outlets :) (I've only managed the allotment shed so far)

twocvbloke (author)bosherston2009-07-14

Though I have some masonry bits, I have no intention of trying to drill a wall with a hand drill!!! :D Still, makes light work of things, though I do have a drill attachment for my Kirby, it's quite fiddly, but that also a polisher, sander, buffer, and a vacuum of course!!! :P

bosherston (author)twocvbloke2009-07-15

Convert the Kirby to Big Spring And Flywheel™ clockwork, and you're laughing even more.
OMG I just googled Kirby, they really do have a drill attachment! Dyson eat your heart out.

twocvbloke (author)bosherston2009-07-15

Nah, I could never do that to a Kirby, mainly cos I have no clue how to, but also cos their too close to my heart... :D And yep, since about the 60s to the 80s, Kirbys had the option of the "Handi-Butler" kit, very handy it is too, might go get it out and finish off my new drill handle... :D

Derin (author)2009-05-04

By "I don't have any old toothbroshes" I mean "I don't have any old toothbroshes"

sharlston (author)Derin2009-10-04

just youse the one your using now

sharlston (author)2009-10-01

3 mi n1 oil works good and how did you get the big crank gear off i cant seem to get it to budge

bosherston (author)sharlston2009-10-04

Once you undo the screw holding the handle onto the cog it slides quite easily off of the pivot spigot, that's all that's holding mine together.

8bit (author)2009-04-23

Or you could just save yourself the trouble and let me have it.

bosherston (author)8bit2009-04-24

Keep checking the yard sales :)

zzoe (author)2009-03-30

Nicely done. I love (and love to lovingly restore) old hand tools. Very nice inst'able. I would like to recommend something, however. By way of being 'green', and also for practicality and safety - Try food-grade walnut oil instead of linseed. At least in the U.S., linseed oil usually has toxic additives, whereas walnut oil doesn't, and not only that, it is such an excellent drying oil that many luthiers prefer it... and the wood itself seems to really adore it. Good for us, god for the planet, good for the wood. Finally, looking up, i can't help but see the aesthetic contrast between the hand tool, restored by hand, and the more mass-produced cordless mini. I know the latter is a good tool, but, there can be no contest, really... Cheers.

bosherston (author)zzoe2009-03-30

Thanks for the praise, thanks again for your recommendation I'll add it to step 1. My next tool for resurrection is an old jack plane and I'll give walnut oil a try.

fritsie123 (author)2009-03-22

I know you weren't going for looks, but I still think sandblasting the metal and a new powdercoat would be a real improvement. Then again, that might be a tad overdoing things... :-)

bosherston (author)fritsie1232009-03-22

Yeah, this sort of thing is usually a matter of personal taste and the argument goes back and forth about how far you should take old tool renovation. As it was for a competition requiring a green twist I couldn't justify going overboard on the finish. Now when it comes to a classic vehicle....... :)

hedgiehog (author)2009-03-21

i love my old drill, i got it at a garage sale for 50cents, works fine

bosherston (author)hedgiehog2009-03-21

Na ya see you have to put up a picture of the drill. Otherwise how do we know for sure?

nachosyumm (author)2009-03-21

Yeah, i have one like that too, except its already in great condition. I like to use it for times when an electric drill is just too much =)

bosherston (author)nachosyumm2009-03-21


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