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Working with Hands - James E. Price

  Drill from Lapland, Finland  

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.


Provenance 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 sandstone slab.

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 shaft.
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
May, 2018



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