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Cool Tool Rediscovered: The Yankee Screwdriver with Drill Bit Adapter

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Does anyone ever use one anymore? I recently had to put a center punch and pilot hole down inside of a long channel, through one object into another; it was not a job for a small hammer and an impact center punch, or a powered drill.

A Yankee Screwdriver with a drill bit chuck adapter did the job. These were common when i was a child but are now discontinued and can be found on Ebay. Be aware that different Yankee Screwdriver models require an adapter that fits that model; most adapters fit on several, but not all models.

yankee.screwdriver-1.jpg

yankeeno41shankadapter72-450.jpg

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Yes, I have one and use it a lot.  When I worked at an assembly-line kitchen-cabinet shop in Oregon many years ago, the Yankee was how we screwed the door hinges, door magnets, latches and handles to every thing we made.  That thing was in my hand about 7 hours a day--long before screw-guns, esp cordless types.

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And it saved your ears for sound work. Power drills are nasty noisy.

Great advantages for these thingys in drilling because downward or lateral force is used to keep aim on target without having to use a lot of muscle to keep the weight a power drill from throwing things off.

No tear out on small fine holes and great for making a smidge of a pilot hole as a mark.

I am kicking myself for not having one for the last 30 or so years.

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I used them tons when I worked in a scenery shop years ago. There were no battery powered screwguns or drills then and they were faster and simpler than wrangling stingers around in the shop.

Stanley discontinued them but there are versions by other tool makers still available though the one I tried recently at a fancy woodworking supply place didn't feel the same in my hand. But it did have a modern 1/4" hex chuck so conventional screwgun bits fit and there are tons of specialty bits available.

JG

 

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There is an Ebay seller who is selling hex chuck adapters for a lot of makes and models. Rather than put a link that will go stale I will instead copy/paste his headline:

Hex Bit Adapter for Millers Falls Yankee Stanley 130 30 68-130 30A 68-130A B

 

 

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What a strange coincidence! My dad showed me one today in my grandfather's old workshop. And now this thread pops up. What's going on? Strange and impressive tool! Very cool! Even has a directional switch!

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They were a standard grip tool when I started (early 70s).  Both the Yankee screw driver and the smaller push-drill, among other tools.  Grips were not expected to bring power-tools to jobs in those days!  I got some of my earliest non-PA movie work because an experienced grip saw the Yankees in my tool bag and took me seriously enough to let me work as his 2nd on some jobs.

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I still have some around that were my Dad's. We had a bunch at his machine shop (incorporated around 1940), but they went to auction when i wasn't paying close enough attention. Fascinating tools. They would use them for assembly of parts for textile machines. There was one specific piece that was 2-3 feet long and had a whole bunch of screws running the length of it. they would have to open them up to swap out these needle looking things called transfer points, and that's where they got a lot of use. 

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