Thread: mystery tool
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Old May 19th 05, 10:02 PM
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Grant Erwin wrote:
This is another one from my neighbor's basement. It looks pretty much

a screwdriver, except the shank is tubular, about 3/8" OD, with a

disconnect chuck on the end. The end of the handle screws off to

reveal a
bunch of bits. These are not screwdriver bits. They are like drill

bits but
they aren't twist drills. From the end they look quite a bit like a

drill but only the end has helical relief. On the sides are two

flutes, no spiral at all. The tool is self-twisting, i.e. when you

push it
into the work it twists. The only lettering says "YANKEE".

Anyone know what this tool is, and what craft uses it? The bit sizes

from about 1/16" to about 3/16".


This is the push-drill, not the screwdriver. I have all three sizes of
the Yankee screwdrivers, plus a couple of the drills, all inherited.
There's some rather rare bits so you can use the push-drill as a
screwdriver, they're smaller shank-size than the regular Yankee bits.
I think it's McFeeley's that sells the 1/4" hex shank adapters for the
Yankee screwdrivers, apparently the Amish use them instead of anything
electric. The hex bits are certainly a lot cheaper than the real
Stanley bits. No battery to die mid-job, either.

The push-drill was used by a lot of different trades, my dad used one
for putting up electrical fixtures in the pre-portable tool era. It
was a lot faster than trying to use one of those old eggbeater-type
breast drills. Good for doing things like kitchen cabinet hinges, too.
The only downside is the special drills used, they're quite expensive
to replace although the local hardware store still carries them, along
with the Yankee screwdriver blades. For drilling pilot holes for
woodscrews, the push-drill is probably as fast as a cordless, if not
quite as effort-free.