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Pump Drill?

I am looking for a source for a type of hand drill that I believe is
called a pump drill. This is the type of drill that can be used with
one hand, leaving the other free to steady the part being drilled.It
has a wooden cross piece that is connected by a cord to a metal
shaft and flywheel, and a small chuck with collets for the

I bought one a number of years ago from Rio Grande for about $8, but
they are no longer carrying this, and I have been unable to locate
another one available in the USA. I have located one in Germany for
around $60, which is a bit high in price for my student, who is the
one interested in this tool. I hope that some of you good people may
have that I cannot find.

Hopefully, Alison

These drills are also called Archimedes drills. I learned to do pave
setting with one as a student in Germany. They are very handy and
incredibly precise if used correctly. You do not use regular twist
drills with them. Instead you use “pearl drills” that have to be
sharpened very carefully, at just the correct angles.

The German ones are probably better because as we all know, in
general, you get what you pay for. That understood, here is a
catalog from India that has them. The item is called a “Jewelry
Drill” product #211, on page 24. It comes with a steel shaft and a
brass wheel, wooden cross bar, rope and two chucks for…$1.99.
That’s right 2 bucks! (Although the website seems to have the same
item at $3.99.)

It is available from Moon Machinery Mart, Cama Bldg., G/G, Dalal
Street, Fort, Mumbai 400001, India. email: or You can check out their website at

Good luck and happy pumping, Alan

Revere Academy of Jewelry Arts
760 Market Street
Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94102
tel: 415-391-4179
fax: 415-391-7570

Hi Alison, I have good luck locating old tools on eBay. I just did a
quick check for “drill (pump, hand, vintage, antique)” and got a
couple different options: a
pen-like push drill has an
arm brace so that you can lean on it to hold the drill keeping the
other arm free

There were more listings I didn’t check so they might also have the
one with the cord and flywheel, too.


Allison, We are suppliers of this Pump Drill . The cost is still $8.00
and it is in stock. At the Big Apple Orchid dinner Gerry showed this
as an antique. We still have distributors selling this in Peru,
Colombia and Brazil all the time. For the Amazonian this is
comparable to the micromotor and what a relief from having to use
the two handed bow drill.

Kenneth Singh

Alison The drill you mension is called an Archimedean drill they are
available in the UK from a company called Cousins Material House
e-mail them at the cost is =A319.95 + UKP VAT

The Watch & Jewellery Workshop
Tel: 01639 644410
Web address:

I had one of these nigh on a hundred years ago, Alison :slight_smile: Rio Grande
still has one in their museum of anachronistic tools- I believe it
is cataloged between the foot powered draw plate & the hammer with a
magnifying lens in the middle of the handle.—Hmmmm, how is that

Why not use a pin vise drill? These are quite easier to use, and
much more consistent in velocity- not unlike a Foredom or Dremel for
far less $$$

I remember when I was a boy scout learning how to build a fire…
Now, if I could just get rid of this darned centrifugal disc
finisher & water torch… But, in all sincerity, I really do envy
you-Handwork is the hallmark of our profession-and without it we are
doomed to indentured servitude to the mass appeal brought about by

To paraphrase Alan Revere-enjoy what you do with what you have-and
grow in each piece that you complete. Frustration, dreams, &
handwork become a vehicle to growth----enjoy life in all of it’s
convoluted intricacies!

Wishing you the best!