Continuing my chore of prepping some drilling and boring tools
from the past for a demonstration, one of the tools I selected
is a pump drill with a heavy soapstone flywheel.
of this drill is that it was made and extensively used in
Lapland, the northern region of Finland. I am posting this with
the intent of informing members of this group that some of the
earliest drilling technology can still be applicable in an
unplugged shop setting.
It is not a cordless drill since it
incorporates a hand-spun piece of coarse cordage but it drills a
hole as perfect as a modern power drill. Laplanders used similar
drills for starting fires through friction of wood on wood. The
bit in this specimen has a flat tip like a brad awl held in
place in the wooden shaft with poured lead and square nails. The
soapstone flywheel was pecked into shape with a much harder
sharp stone and ground on the top and bottom, probably on a
The only modern tool marks on the
wooden parts are from a steel knife and rasp file. This tool was
subjected to extensive use since the wooden shaft and cross
member are heavily worn.
A pump drill is used by winding the cordage around the central
The crossmember is pushed downward which imparts rotary motion.
When the cross member reaches the bottom, the flywheel causes
the cordage to wind in an opposite direction and the cross
member rises to the top and is pushed down again to maintain the
alternating rotary motion.
The flywheel is made of soapstone pecked and ground into shape.
The cordage goes through a hole on both ends
of the cross member.
Knots in the cordage hold it in place.
The cordage passes through a simple hole
through the upright wooden shaft.
The brad-point bit is held in place with
poured lead and square nails
on the margin of the lead.
James E. Price