Hand drills may be considered old-fashioned, but are still useful for woodworking and other tasks where you want to have total control.

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

What Is a Hand Drill?

A hand drill is a manual tool that converts and amplifies circular motion of the crank into 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.

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.

Tools Related to the Hand Drill

Other useful tools for making holes include the power drill and various small saws.

 

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