Michael Parrish

'I am always doing what I can't do yet in order to learn how to do it.' – Van Gogh, 1885

Goodell-Pratt, Hand Drills, Restorations

Goodell-Pratt 5 1/2 B Two-Speed Hand Drill Restoration

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I recently completed a restoration of a Goodell-Pratt 5 1/2 B two-speed hand drill.  The 5 1/2 B was produced by G-P between 1898 and 1936, and based on the mahogany-finished hardwood handle, I believe this one is post-1926, making it approximately 90 years old, though I could be off a smidge.  Old Tool Heaven has a great G-P hand drill information page if you’d like to read more about this model or others.  Now, let me walk you through my restoration,  starting with ‘before’ photos of the drill as I received it.

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Goodell-Pratt 5 1/2 B, fresh from the wild. The drill was intact, with the exception of a missing side handle and a jammed chuck.

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Another ‘before’ shot.

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The back of the drill reveals the speed shifter assembly and a missing side handle.

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Goodell-Pratt Company / TOOLSMITHS / Greenfield, Mass. / U.S.A. / PAT. Mar. 31, 1896

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The wheel guide helps keep the main wheel gear on track.

 

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Everything turned, but the shifter was a mess. At least nothing was cracked, which would be fatally render this a ‘parts’ drill.

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The chuck was rusty and jammed due to damaged internal springs.

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Notice that the chuck springs are stretched and bent, and the internal surfaces of the chuck are rusty, preventing the teeth from smoothly sliding into position.

 

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Chuck components. The springs were replaced with stainless steel compression springs [1/8″ (0.125″) O.D.; 25 AWG (0.020″ wire diam.); R3.57N] that I cut to length based on the original ones.  I bought them from http://springsandthings.me.uk.  All other components of the chuck was polished inside and out, then it was oiled and reassembled.

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The shifter assembly is keyed to fit onto the spindle shaft. The whole thing was a greasy, dirty mess.

Before you remove the spindle, be aware of the ball bearings captured in the two cups behind the chuck, as seen in this photo. They'll go flying if you remove the spindle without care. I suggest opening it inside of a gallon size ziplock baggie to catch anything that might fall out.

Before you remove the spindle, be aware of the ball bearings captured in the two cups behind the chuck, as seen in this photo. They’ll go flying if you remove the spindle without care. I suggest opening it inside of a gallon size ziplock baggie to catch anything that might fall out.

 

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Shifter components removed from the frame. The knob engages through the circular hole in the case into the grove around the waist of the central piece, shifting it left or right (in the photo) to engage the slots in one gear or the other. The unengaged gear free-spins.

Main handle – stripped, sanded to 400 grit, stained, several coats of water based poly, and some paste wax to finish.

Main handle – stripped, sanded to 400 grit, stained, several coats of water based poly, and some paste wax to finish.

 

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The main handle ferrule is stamped “No. 5 1/2 B”. Note the hole for a steel pin. This is a nickel-plated brass part, and if excessively sanded, the brass will show through.

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The shifter components and the spindle were cleaned and polished before reassembly.

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Crank handle, showing some minor evidence of past rust. It’s shinier in person – the lighting makes it all look dull.

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Restored and reassembled. The frame was painted in semi-gloss black Duplicolor engine enamel, and the wheel in red Duplicolor.

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Restored, rear side. The side knob is off a Millers Falls no. 5 drill.

So there it is, all cleaned up and restored.  I like to think that it looks as good or better than it did when first sold.  I intend to use this in my shop, so this is probably as good as it will look for the next 50 years, until (perhaps) my son or daughter decides to restore it.  There’s no reason why this drill shouldn’t provide another 90 years of service now.

3 Comments

  1. Lindsay Parrish

    Good job I am proud of you.

  2. Rob

    you forgot to warn about the main shaft bearing, full of tiny ball bearings that bounce all over the floor if you’re not careful !! Dammit !!

    • pendragon1998

      Rob – Wow, I’m sorry I didn’t mention that. I know I referred to ball bearings in the post, and I think I’ve photographed them in some of the Millers Falls restorations, but I didn’t include a photo of the bearings in this Goodell-Pratt restoration. I’ll add a photo if I can find one. I hope you found all your bearings. I’ve definitely been in the position of scrounging around on the floor looking for them myself.

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