Another word about pump drills. Also called “Archimedes” drills,
these drills are not anachronistic, crude stone age drills used to
gouge holes in shell or use to start a fire. And they are definitely
not antiquated (meaning too old to use), although they are rarely
Pump drills are just as effective and efficient as ever, and they
have some advantages over other drills, aside from being wireless
and cool to look at. Anyone who thinks that a demel, a hand drill, a
pin vise drill or a flex shaft does the same thing, does not
understand how to use a pump drill properly.
The key to controled craftsmanship in any discipline, is to break
each operation down into small steps, thereby gaining control. For
example, you are able to get far more detail by slowly whittling
down a piece of wood with care, than by whacking off a chunk with
one cut. The same is true everywhere…more, smaller steps yields
slower more precise control. Because pump drills take a very small
cut with each forward revolution and then glide glide on the back
swing, you are able to control the angle of entry and the speed of
cutting with greater precision than any tool that cuts faster.
When setting diamonds in jewelry, pave style, this kind of control
is very helpful. Getting the tables level and the seats flat is
actually easier when you do it more slowly, as with a pump drill. It
is more difficult to acheive the same minute control with a flex
shaft revving at several thousand rpm.