Also known as a wheel brace, the hand drill is good for drilling small diameter holes, and can be used in confined spaces. It is operated by turning a small drive wheel at the side and although it is much slower than a power drill, it is easier to control. To get a hand drill moving, move the handle to and fro until the drill bit bites into the wood, then turn the handle to drive the bit clockwise.
A brace is used for drilling larger diameter holes and is invaluable in situations where it is not possible to run an extension lead for a power tool. A brace is operated by pushing the middle of the tool round in a circular sweep. Braces are available with sweeps of 150-300mm (6-12in), but good braces will have a ratchet mechanism, which allows you to make ‘part sweeps’ in spaces where a full sweep is impossible.
There is a wide range of power drills available. Most have 2-4 fixed speeds with a switch to select the one appropriate to the job: slow speed for drilling masonry, high speed for clean drilling in wood. A reverse action is useful if you want to use a screw-driver bit with a power drill: this lets you drive in screws as well as take them out again. Use a drill stand and pre-set the depth stop and fix to the stand before starting work.
Professional woodworkers make their own depth stop blocks – small blocks of wood cut to the appropriate size, which slide on the drill bit. The ‘working end’ of the bit protrudes out at the correct length from the end of the block. A quick method is to wrap some masking tape around the bit at the correct depth. W hen the drill bit has bored to the line of the masking tape, the hole will be the correct depth.
- Unplug power tools before attaching accessories or changing a drill bit.
- Never lift a power tool by its flex.
- Always use the appropriate safety devices for the tools.
- Tie back long hair, make sure sleeve cuffs are secure and out of the way.
- Wear appropriate eye protection and a dust mask.
- Keep tools, bits and blades sharp and clean and stored safely out of reach of children.