Antique Tools #1: Stanley h1221 Hand Drill

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Blog entry by David Craig posted 08-17-2010 06:12 AM 11341 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I am not officially a “galoot” but I do keep an eye out for hand tools whenever I happen across a garage sale or used items store. Most times, though, I accumulate them as gifts for small favors or when people I know go through a basement cleaning and come across items they don’t use or have any interest in. This latest acquisition was a combination of the two. I helped out a friend with a wireless router issue and once we started talking about my interest in woodworking she gave me this old hand drill that sat in a toolbox for a number of years. Not an item of any real value but I have been looking for an egg beater drill for some time. I am not overly impressed with the hand drills sold today and this was a pleasant surprise to have fallen in my lap.

This is an old Stanley h1221 egg beater style drill manufactured around 1953 as part of their “Handyman” series and fell out of production shortly after. The drill started out as part of the “Defiance” line in 1942. I found a little bit of the history here. And picked up a little more bits and pieces on various websites.

Stanley h1221 hand drill

The “Handyman” series is not Stanley’s best (but compared to today’s offerings, definitely not their worst), however I do like the double pinions for the gear and the iron in the body.

Stanley h1221 hand drill gear and pinions

I do not use a hand drill often, but do find them useful at times. I thought it was a nice gesture on the part of the gift giver and will make use of it at some point. I spent some time cleaning the gears with WD40. Time in the shop lately has been nil and it felt nice to spend just a little time down there, even if it was just to spend a few minutes cleaning a tool.

Happy woodworking all,


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

11 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3166 days

#1 posted 08-17-2010 06:31 AM

niice gift in the turban congrat´s David
it´s not every day such a ting happen :-)
and it looks in a fair condition as I can see after so many years in the dark

have a great week David


View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3175 days

#2 posted 08-17-2010 07:40 AM

Keep it for the Antique’s Roadshow – I’m always looking for something that’ll make me a million on there.


View littlecope's profile


3071 posts in 3553 days

#3 posted 08-17-2010 01:09 PM

Cordless, Variable Speed, Reversible, no Batteries or Re-charge ever necessary… Ya gotta love ‘em!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View helluvawreck's profile


31666 posts in 2917 days

#4 posted 08-17-2010 01:29 PM

I have one of those and yours looks just like mine almost down the very last detail. It works just fine and I occasionally use it. I love the older tools.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3110 days

#5 posted 08-17-2010 01:48 PM

I have that drill as well as a few others. I even have and use a Bit & Brace on occasion. Sometimes you need something that allows you a bit more control and hand power is jus the ticket. With good sharp bits, you will also be surprised at how quickly the work goes.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View swirt's profile


2812 posts in 3023 days

#6 posted 08-17-2010 05:38 PM

Looks like a great hand drill. You’ll have to do a shootout comparison between it and the modern fiskars hand drill you have.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4187 posts in 3215 days

#7 posted 08-17-2010 05:43 PM

Well, clicked on the link for this post in Outlook, and 2 hours later I am here. Don’t ask me how, cause I don’t know, but I had inadvertently moved the folder for internet explorer down into the Intel folder, and of course, internet explorer couldn’t be found. Finally figured it out when looking in the the registry, and followed the location for iexplorer listed there and it didn’t exist. So looked in neighboring folders, and there it was. One problem with being a power user, even the most trivial misclick of the mouse can cause a lot of problems, and that us because I make everything accessible.

I like those old drills, but I lost mine, I think, in a move many years ago. Here is a link to Timbo’s restoration of a Miller Falls drill. That led to a whole bunch of posts by me and others:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3385 days

#8 posted 08-17-2010 09:17 PM

I’ve got a pretty similar one that I bought new David, but now I will have to check to see if it has double gears. A nice gesture by your friend.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3159 days

#9 posted 08-18-2010 02:05 AM

Jordan if you can get a million bucks for the drill, I will glady donate it :) Jim – Super users like you keep me employed ;) swirt – That is a great idea. I will do a post in the future pitting the modern hand drill vs. the antique hand drill. I am already betting on who wins that one.

Thanks all for the comments. They are neat and useful to have. I think everyone should have one to fall back on. They are surprisingly useful for delicate work.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3724 days

#10 posted 08-18-2010 05:44 AM

Nice find, David.

View Spratley's profile


5 posts in 2237 days

#11 posted 11-22-2012 01:18 AM

I just bought this drill for my six year old son—Dads’ giving him his first drill for Christmas. I’m glad to have a little more info on it, and I can’t wait to clean it, restore it and use it with him.

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