Timber frame boring drill

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Forum topic by BrentKistner posted 06-16-2015 10:03 PM 1279 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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38 posts in 1840 days

06-16-2015 10:03 PM

Topic tags/keywords: old tools timber frame mortise drill rebuild boring drill question opinion

Okay, so this is a pretty cool piece of history here. Unsure of the maker or era, but I’m thinking early 1900s?

The question is this: what do I do with it? I mean, I know what it is, and that it works. Lol. But do I do a full restoration, a partial, as in rebuild the cracked base and weak old seat etc in something like oak or maybe even walnut, and try to find pins to replace the nails holding the gears in place? It has a chip on the back of one of the gears, but otherwise is still fairly solid. What say you, kind ladies and gentlemen? How far would you take this rebuild?

-- "Out of the darkness back into the darkness- affairs of the cat."

13 replies so far

View alittleoff's profile


534 posts in 1182 days

#1 posted 06-16-2015 10:24 PM

I would leave it as is. I sure your not going to be using it to much. I’d rather display is as it is. But that’s just me.

View dhazelton's profile


2689 posts in 2202 days

#2 posted 06-16-2015 10:58 PM

What he said. If the wood is dried out maybe some oil. Unless you plan on becoming a re-enactor at an old timey village and it NEEDS to be used I wouldn’t touch it. If you want to make repairs try to make them as invisible as possible.

View Tim's profile


3733 posts in 1867 days

#3 posted 06-16-2015 11:44 PM

Agree, it actually looks pretty good. I can’t see the crack in the base, but you could try to repair rather than replace that. Maybe also find replacement pins, that would improve the look I’d think. And it’s more likely it’s 1800s as these were used to start mortises for timber frame barns. Cool find. If you have need of a large mortice for a bench or something, pull it out and put it to work.

I have one, but mine is in worse shape and needs more in the way of repairs.

View boxcarmarty's profile


15602 posts in 2266 days

#4 posted 06-17-2015 12:47 AM

Excellent question, I have one sitting in my shop as well and an extra head for one. Yours looks a bit better then mine and I too was considering a restoration…..

-- My mind is like lighting, one brilliant flash, then its gone.....

View Woodendeavor's profile


276 posts in 2512 days

#5 posted 06-17-2015 01:07 AM

my father used one of these when he was a kid helping his uncle restore barns. If you keep the bit sharp with a file it cuts very well

View esmthin's profile


77 posts in 1087 days

#6 posted 06-17-2015 04:23 AM

I agree that it looks ok. It doesn’t look like it has any problems with it. If I were you I would grease the gears and put a few coats of BLO on it, the wood is probably very thirsty. Here is a video of keep-up and use of a drill like this. Dreams Do Come True
Dreams Do Come True 2

-- Ethan,

View BrentKistner's profile


38 posts in 1840 days

#7 posted 06-17-2015 04:54 AM

I will get a few more pictures of it. In the bottom most photo, it shows the gear with the missing chunk of cast. The left side (as you would use it) of what I would call the “mast” is split open by an 1/8th” or so by about 2 1/2” in length and the glue holding the base together is long gone. It is held together by the through bolts and a few washers as it is. I took the vast majority of the rust and tree gore off from the thing over a day or so of wire brush fun. I would love to find some keys to replace the nails at a bare minimum, and can make them if I have to. Either way, the base rebuild is tempting, but not really necessary.

Keep the input coming. It’s always nice to have the advice of seasoned wood workers and fellow tool geeks. :)

-- "Out of the darkness back into the darkness- affairs of the cat."

View upchuck's profile


540 posts in 1571 days

#8 posted 06-17-2015 11:13 AM

On this man’s channel there are many videos/tutorials about the restoration of this sort of tool.

View PatrickH's profile


51 posts in 1793 days

#9 posted 06-17-2015 12:53 PM

Very cool. How did you come across this?


View helluvawreck's profile


30147 posts in 2772 days

#10 posted 06-17-2015 04:35 PM

I have one of those in my basement. Mine is not in too bad of shape but yours is better than mine.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View BrentKistner's profile


38 posts in 1840 days

#11 posted 06-18-2015 02:04 AM

Patrick, Craigslist, as odd as that is. Digging around for materials and stumbled on to the listing under the antiques section. I really dig old woodworking tools and have been bitten by the “rescue old planes and such” bug. There is just such a vast and very cool history to those types of things.

-- "Out of the darkness back into the darkness- affairs of the cat."

View BurlyBob's profile


5247 posts in 2171 days

#12 posted 06-18-2015 02:30 AM

I agree with everyone else, keep it on display and cherish it!!

View PatrickH's profile


51 posts in 1793 days

#13 posted 06-18-2015 07:25 PM

Brent, very cool…lucky dog.


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