Monday, October 5, 2009

Hand Drill Restoration

    Here is my "new" Miller's Falls No. 2 hand drill. The major part of its restoration involved making a new handle. I chose to make it out of crab apple wood given to me by my neighbor last year when she had the tree cut down. I really like the figure and color of it and have a bunch more logs drying out to use in the future for small bowls, tool handles, etc. I prepared the blank, turned it to size and shape, and fitted the ferrule. The ferrule is the metal collar on the end of wooden handles. It keeps the wood from splitting apart when its fitted onto the tool as well as when the tool is used.

    The first thing I did was to cut the crab-apple blank just a bit over-size and find the centers of the ends for when I put it on the lathe. Then, on my drill press, I drilled a hole in one end to accept the post of the hand drill. To drill the hole straight I used the tenoning jig for my table saw. I clamped the jig to my drill press table and it holds the handle blank nice and straight.

     I placed a wood plug into the hole I drilled and centered it on the lathe. After turning the square blank to a cylinder I transferred reference lines to it with a pencil. Holding the original handle next to it allowed me to mark different areas where the size changes or where certain curves start and end.

    Using a parting tool and calipers, I remove wood at the point of the reference marks to match the size of the original handle at the same point.

   The rest of the operation is just "connecting the dots" with a few hills and valleys along the way.  I held the original up to the lathe often during my progress. It didn't result in an exact copy, but for my humble turning skills it was close enough.

    After adding a few more details at the lathe and being careful to keep the ferrule end bigger than needed, I put the blank in my pocket and  went over to the Home Depot to look for a suitable ferrule. I see a lot of woodworkers using copper fittings for ferrules so I went to the plumbing department to take a look. I found some copper fittings that would have been good but I was happy to find a brass end cap for about 5 bucks. I thought shiny brass would look much nicer so I got it. And, as a bonus, it was perfect as-is so it wouldn't need to be turned or shaped at all.
    After I got back home I turned the end of the new handle to size making sure it was a snug fit into the brass end cap. By "snug" I mean that I needed to tap it lightly to get it on the handle. I took the brass cap off and put it in a clamp so I could drill a hole in the end. This wasn't as easy as I would have liked. I soon learned that it went much better after I slowed down the drill press (I guess those drill press speed pulleys are actually good for something) and took it really slow. Before that the drill bit would catch, pulling the brass cap from the clamps.

    The new handle was slathered in boiled linseed oil which does absolute wonders to the crab-apple wood. I assembled everything together and lubed it up. Very nice. This will definitely get some use in the shop, helping to keep the Rigid charged for the big stuff.

    As with all projects there are things I would do differently the next time. If I were to restore another hand drill I would probably avoid using a sandblaster to remove the old paint and rust. While this drill does work well I can feel some aluminum oxide (sand from the blaster) inside the moving parts. If I do use a sandblaster again I'll be sure to mask and seal all of the moving parts more effectively. Flushing it with WD40 has removed a lot of it but the rest may take a while. It may never come out at all. I could take the gears apart and clean it out but I think I may have to grind or drill out the pins holding them in. In any case, it ain't gonna happen today or even this month. If anyone has any comments or suggestions about the sand in the gears or any other parts of this project let me know.
    Well, I suppose the lawn ain't gonna mow itself. Until next time...



liljimy said...

Great job with detailed explanation & pics.....

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