Picture of Wood drill bits made of a spoke
Drilling wood, specially if you have to do it by hand, must be done in steps: first a small hole, then a bit larger, then to size. Or as many in-between steps as needed. Woodworkers have collections of drills, but what to do when you have to start from scratch? We start with a drill bit of good quality steel, that is within reach for many people: a bicycle spoke!
This step by step Instructable shows you how to make with your bare hands from a bicycle spoke a multi bit wood drill.

The video is shown here:

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Step 1: Tools and materials

Picture of Tools and materials
As tools you need a hammer, a whetstone and/or a file, a knife or scissers and a chisel. You can use a hammer as anvil. Any hammer is OK. Instead of a sharpening stone, you can grind the spoke on the cement floor or on a stone from the river. As materials you need a bicycle spoke and a strip of rubber from a car inner tyre.

Step 2: Make the bicycle spoke ready

Picture of Make the bicycle spoke ready
Cut a spoke from a broken bicycle wheel; see photo 1. Cut with a chisel and hammer on a big piece of metal. Cut off the hook at the other end of the spoke: see photo 2. Find something that works as an anvil to support the spoke during cutting.
Bend double, try to make a bent like shown in photo 3. A spoke is not easy to bend, use all of your strength. Bind the rubber strip around the loop; see photo 4. Now bend out both ends; see photo 5.

Step 3: Bending

Picture of Bending
Now we have to bend the two ends in 3 turns together. To do so, insert a long nail through the loop; see photo 1. Take both ends in one hand and the nail in the other and turn. One end has to be bend as we see on photo 2 and 3. After taking the rubber strip off you see the drill ready for hammering. Watch the flat shape if the drill in photo 4.
dewanm2 months ago

nyce thanks for sharing

dewanm2 months ago

nyce thanks for sharing

dewanm2 months ago

nyce thanks for sharing

willymagoo11 months ago

Very nice, could be useful one day in the shop!

shannonlove11 months ago

Captain Pedantic says:

"Technically, a hand driven boring tool is an awl. To be a drill it must use some sort of mechanical advantage. Just because 95% percent of the population no longer knows what an awl is, is no reason to slack off. Now, I must be a way, there are a lot of minor terminology errors out there waiting to be corrected!"


Hmmm ... Perhaps I am only Lieutenant Pedantic, but as a woodworker, I would call such a tool a "gimlet" -- "a small tool with a screw point, grooved shank, and cross handle for boring holes." A true Pedant would note that an awl is "a pointed tool for marking surfaces or PIERCING small holes (as in leather or wood)." (emphasis added). The ROTATIONAL action distinguishes a gimlet (or perhaps a "reamer") from the PIERCING action of an awl, and what is instructed here clearly achieves holiness via rotation.

Now, I must be "away," since there are doubtless many other minor terminology "corrections" to correct ;-)

Could this be called a gimreamer? haha

i prefer my gimlets made with gin.

You Sir, are made of win.

snoopindaweb11 months ago

I have a heavy gauge, rusty, old, bent, (not motor cycle) spoke that I've had in My "possibles box" for years knowing I would use It for something. =////=====> Voted and favorited and not with a 3-D Lazer printer thing. . Thank You. ~(:-})={

ToolboxGuy11 months ago

They also make great needles when repairing car tires, for pulling the wick through the hole. It's a better grip than most handled tools for the task.

texdanl11 months ago

Great ible! If we are going to be specific about our terminology this is a form of Gimlet rather than an awl.

nickiedog811 months ago

cool idea, great for the sizes you don't have a drill for!

Aoshido11 months ago

Very usefull tool!!

cuvette11 months ago

So glad to see people continuing to share techniques not involving 3D printers and laser cutters. I guess that one just found a place in my head for the rest of my days. :)

ferjanyen11 months ago
Our grandfather's and father's have a lot to teach us yet and also necessity is definetly the mother of all inventions. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
lbrewer4211 months ago

Very good information and a clever idea. Thanks for sharing this.

Slim4911 months ago

Super Clever!

nahci1311 months ago
Zo mooi! dank u wel!
ngadhno11 months ago

It's good what you did, but using hammer,chisel and a file I wouldn't call this "how to make a drill bit with your bare hands". Anyway thanks for sharing, good idea. :)

This is really cool. Such a great skill to have in survival situations!