Chris Wolf replied to Joseph Holsten:
>>There was something pretty close to what you're asking for years ago, the
>>Bridge City CT-6. I don't know when they discontinued it, but here's an
>>They turn up for sale occasionally.
>>WKTools offers beautifully refurbished original eggbeater drills. Chris
>>Schwarz praised them in Popular Woodworking in 2008.>>http://www.wktools.com/t_MF-hDrills/MF-handDrills.asp<<
Welcome, Joe. Pull up a chair; don't spit tobacco juice on the stove, it stinks
and will give you cancer.
Chris' information is excellent as far as it goes; but watch out for that Bridge
City drill. They used the common two-pinion style of gearing, as in the later
versions of the MF #2, rather than the functionally superior earlier model MF #2
with one pinion plus the LRRCW ("Little Rail Road Car Wheel"):
Typical Bridge City: a lot of expensive bling, but functionally not quite first
rate (don't get me started on BC's far-famed trysquares: all the cost of a
Starrett, without a tenth of the precision. I mean this literally: compare the
guaranteed run-out of the two, if you have time and focus to convert from one
specification system to the other).
Eggbeater drills, unlike most hand tools, will wear out and need to be replaced
in less than a lifetime of use. My experience with eggbeaters is that, although
some problems are repairable, the main spindle will often wear far out of true,
and it doesn't wear evenly; so that you end up with a conical spindle, most
likely with the narrow end toward the frame. This causes incurable wobble and
affects the quality of work, so don't buy an eggbeater drill sight unseen.
Happily, there seem to be plenty of sound LRRCW #2s around, especially if you
don't worry too much about cosmetic problems.
Given roughly the same size, to the best of my knowledge and belief the only
drill fit to compete with the LRRCW #2 is the Goodell-Pratt #5-1/2. However,
every #5.5 I have used is badly worn in one feature or another, probably due to
having a (speculative) generation more use than the #2s. My favorite eggbeater
is a #5.5 with a broken chuck, where it holds the bit OK but is extremely fussy
and awkward to change bits; everything else is OK, so I keep an eighth-inch bit
permanently chucked in this #5.5 for making long pilot holes. The #5.5 is (like
the #2) a two-pinion drill with a device to hold the big pinion against the
small, but the GP flat non-adjustable blade is definitely inferior to the LRRCW
adjustable roller. On the other hand the #2 is always a one-speed drill. whereas
the #5.5 is two-speed, which might be convenient if the gearbox ever worked. The
GP is definitely more elegant, with lighter lines and graceful if that matters
to you (it does to me). A tricky choice if it weren't for the question of wear;
as things are, go for the MF#2 with LRRCW and use it for the couple of decades
until you find a #5.5 in good condition.
If told, I am happy to believe that there is an eggbeater drill in production as
functionally good as an ordinary two-pinion MF #2. Nothing better, though. And
a two-pinion #2 in unrestored ready-to-go condition will probably run you half
the price of a new eggbeater. Maybe $25.00 tops. Same thing for a LRRCW, by the
way: connoisseurship in eggbeater drills does not seem to be reflected in price,
at least in my neck of the wild.