Small hand drills, like this eggbeater-style drill from Schroeder, aren’t new products, nor will they replace cordless or AC-powered drills, but they are great for certain things. This Schroeder is my go-to tool for woodworking tasks that require small drill bits.
When my daughter first started working in my shop, my big Dewalt cordless drill scared her. Thinking that I could get her more into tools, I purchased this hand drill for her to use instead. Of course, she found a way to pinch her fingers in the gears, so she never really used it.
The three jawed chuck has a 1/4″ maximum capacity. While that doesn’t seem like very much, I’ve found its minimum capacity most useful. This drill will hold a small drill bit (like 1/32″) that none of my 3/8″ or 1/2″ chucked drills will.
As a plus, I’ve never snapped a bit with this drill, especially a small bit like 1/16″. I can’t say the same for any of my cordless drills.
The 2″ crank transfers power from a large 50 tooth gear to a small 15 tooth gear. This means that for every turn of the crank, the drill bit spins 3-1/3 times. Did I mention the gears are all metal?
The drill isn’t without its faults. Sometimes a bit will slip because it can be hard to tighten the chuck. To even tighten or loosen the chuck you have to keep the chuck from turning by holding the crank. This isn’t easy because of the gearing, the chuck has a large mechanical advantage over the crank.
I also find it slightly awkward to hold when you are drilling vertically at benchtop level. Your thumb rests on top, not pointing towards the business end of the tool. When you drill horizontally or on a lower surface, where you can hold the drill with your thumb pointing forward, it just feels right.
One more advantage is that a hand drill makes far less noise than an electric drill. And because it’s slower and more controllable, dust and chips can be easier to contain.
Made in Germany, this drill is sold at many online stores, but the cheapest I could find was Amazon where they charge $33 with free Prime shipping (or orders over $35). The next lowest price I could find was at Highland Woodworking, which charges $35 after shipping.
If you’re interested in a bigger drill in the same style, Schroeder does make an 11-3/4″ version of the drill with a 5/16″ chuck, although this really doesn’t buy you much more capacity than the smaller version. This slightly larger drill will run you $49 after shipping
Buy Now (via Highland Woodworking)
Do you a hand drill? If not this model, which would you recommend?