Ruminations, Philosophy, and Workshop Antics.......... #9: Yankee Push Drill

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 12-06-2009 04:34 AM 9031 reads 2 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: An ELECTRIFYING WEEKEND, When Peter Power Pillar Got More Power, & Tammy Table Saw Got More Whine Part 9 of Ruminations, Philosophy, and Workshop Antics.......... series Part 10: Do you have a gift list, things people can get for you? I do, and it says I am a......LJ »

I saw Timbo’s blog entry about an old Miller Falls hand drill, I have used those. And I thought of my Stanley Yankee Push Drill, and thought it was worth a thought, especially, since it is still in active use…......

I have an old Stanley Yankee push drill, anybody remember those? Still in use, and sits in my home made tool tote. My Dad had one, and so I bought one in the 70’s…..use it to this day. No cords, no batteries, bits are in the handle. Quick for electrical, for a pilot hole for screws, and wood repair work, working on the fence and gates. Get it done before you can find the cordless and put in the new battery and find a bit.

Here it is in my homemade tote, of about 20 years, oriented towards electrical, but I take it for every repair in the house, and it sits beside me during every project in the shop:

The Stanley Yankee push drill closed and ready for use…....

The drill open ready to select a bit…...

This is a good, but very limited tool. I love my portable drills. The box you see on the left side of my tote has a quick pick selection of all the bits you normally, and even rarely need for an electrical driver, and the bits for my portable drills are in the tote too, as you can see. But the old and simple stuff still does part of the project…..........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

18 comments so far

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3589 days

#1 posted 12-06-2009 04:47 AM

Yep, remember those too. Looks like you have a nice well cared for yankee drill, thanks for posting.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3188 days

#2 posted 12-06-2009 04:55 AM

Thanks, the crazy thing, is I actually use it, not frequently, but from time to time….........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3188 days

#3 posted 12-06-2009 04:57 AM

This was a double, but I would like to thank you for the old hand drill post, lot of memories there….........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3358 days

#4 posted 12-06-2009 01:11 PM

I have seen similar drills. This one looks very well made. I have to admit that I was much more interested in your tool tote and the idea of using in the shop. I, like many others have my small hand tools neatly (or not so neatly) organized in drawers and cabinets. When I’m working on a project these small tools are pulled out as needed, but rarely put back as readily. They are left sitting on work surfaces and therefore get knocked onto the floor every time I do a pirouette. This tote is an excellent way to avoid that problem. This is another one of your unique ideas that I will be unashamedly copying very soon. Thanks much for this idea.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1567 posts in 3589 days

#5 posted 12-06-2009 01:32 PM

I was liking the tote also Mike, hey Jim, what is the box on the left of the tote and are those little drawers on the bottom? I have been thinking about making some type of holder for chisels but maybe this is what I actually need. Jim I think you’ve started something here.

Please check this post:

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View patron's profile


13606 posts in 3365 days

#6 posted 12-06-2009 02:14 PM

jim ,
i’ve had one since the sixties ,
it rusted shut , but since seeing all the renovations here ,
will get it out and fix it up .
i realy loved it before cordless .

i also have the big push screw driver .

thanks for the remind .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3215 days

#7 posted 12-06-2009 04:03 PM

Makes me feel young, all you gentelmen talking about how drills worked before electricity. In the 60’s and 70’s I was just a kid borrowing dad’s tools and leaving them in the back yard to rust. That drill looks awfully small, what was the biggest bit it would take 1/8th inch?

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View furnitologist's profile


198 posts in 4037 days

#8 posted 12-06-2009 06:32 PM

Man Jim, that brings back memories…........everything was a slotted screw at the time and pushing into a slotted head screw with a slotted head bit took some getting used to. I had my share of dings from to much pressure and the slotted driver sliding off the screw head and marring a good face. Now that I think about it, Famo Wood wasn’t in my vocabulary and the local lumber yard had a putty that really didn’t take stain back then, what a mess…........I still have my 2 Stanley’s, both worked in their day, but thank goodness they no longer see the light of day… :^) ......Neil

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3188 days

#9 posted 12-07-2009 12:48 AM

Thanks all for the comments:

Mike: Tim got me into a blog item on the tote. It is posted and more detail is there. These should be very unique and customized items, and mutable as well.

David: Kind of fun seeing the old things. The one I have is a well built Stanley, and hasn’t rusted at all. I had one of the screwdrivers, but I think it went the way of my hand drill, i.e. to my brother and into a house fire.

Bob: The largest bit I have is 11/64, but I think I might be missing the 3/16” one.

Neil: Times change, and not always for the worse. Slotted screws, I still have a bunch, I do hate, for exactly the same reasons. Hmmm, I still have some bits for the Yankee screwdriver, maybe I better look around….....

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3582 days

#10 posted 12-07-2009 01:39 AM

I think I still have one of those in my shop too. Used it all the time in my early years of cabinetbuilding. Must get it out and start using it more often.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18286 posts in 3699 days

#11 posted 12-07-2009 04:40 AM

That’s what I need is a bundh of those totes, but they’d probably all be empty and teh tools piled to eye level on the bench ;-)

I remember those Yankee screwdrivers, I still use one a little, but normally have the battery drill because of other tasks going at the same time.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3188 days

#12 posted 12-07-2009 04:47 AM

Things definitely do change. My use of the push drill is very occasional, but still convenient, and takes up very little room.

Here yah, hard to keep putting tools back where you belong….....I’ll give you a little of my OCD for free (-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View botanist's profile


167 posts in 3562 days

#13 posted 12-07-2009 04:37 PM

I’ve got a Yankee push drill as well and I love it! It’s great for drilling pilot holes so you don’t have to fiddle with the power drill, and it doesn’t have to charge. Love the tool box as well.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4179 posts in 3188 days

#14 posted 12-07-2009 05:11 PM

Thanks for the comments. It is nice to see an old tool in use, and a pleasure to use it as well.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 4323 days

#15 posted 12-10-2009 01:34 PM

I have an old Yankee that was my Dad’s. It was one of my favorite toys when I was a little boy.

I also have one made by Millers Falls that I bought from a friend back in the 60s for about $2.

I’m missing a lot of bits that I’ve broken over the years. I guess I’ll have to shop around for some new bits.

I’d prefer using one of these than a battery drill, I can carry one of these around in my pocket.

I’ll have to take some pictures to show you how much use they’ve had over the years.

They both look like they’ve been used a lot.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

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