A vintage drill

PeacockWe visited friends in Wiltshire not long ago and went to a vintage fair at Larmer Tree gardens.  (“Vintage” sounds so much better than “old tat”, doesn’t it?)  I didn’t know what to expect, partly because when our hosts told us where we were going, I was under the misapprehension that there would be llamas involved.  Easy mistake to make, although there were peacocks.

I was also afraid that everyone else would be dressed like a 1940s starlet or GI, but I needn’t have worried.  The vast majority of the visitors, and the stallholders too, were in normal attire and there was a decent mix of goods on offer, some genuinely vintage and others merely vintage in style.

Stall at vintage fairAlong with china and glassware, which didn’t much interest me, there were old tools, linens and haberdashery, which certainly did.  Vintage tools and fabrics are two of my loves, and there aren’t many places where you can find them together.

I managed to avoid coming away with anything from the linen, clothing or haberdashery stalls, mainly because my own collection of fabrics, lace, pearl buttons, Sylko sewing thread on wooden bobbins, ribbons, trimmings, yarn and the like could seriously rival what the vendors were offering.  Perhaps that’s the solution if I ever decide I’m serious about de-stashing: take a stall at a vintage fair.

But I was led astray at the tools stall.  There were lots of tempting Sheffield steel planes, chisels, saws, hammers and screwdrivers, plus brass-faced hardwood spirit levels, glass cutters and all manner of more obscure items.  We already have a lot of tools that would be considered “vintage”, dating from the middle of the last century, because my late father-in-law was trained as a carpenter.  While they are lovely to look at, in general I find modern hand tools lighter and easier to use (and modern power tools even easier, it goes without saying).  The steel is usually Chinese and they don’t last as long though.

I bought a hand drill with a chest/knee brace.  It’s rather lovely, isn’t it?

Old hand drillSilk 2-ply yarnI justified the purchase to myself because I intend to re-purpose this drill by using it for the ball winder that I’ve been meaning to make for quite some time – ever since I bought 1,000m of mint green, 2-ply silk yarn that is still in the hank.  Goodness knows how long it would take to wind it by hand.

Despite the age of this drill and its well-used appearance, its bevel gears are undamaged. They change the axis of rotation through 90º, which is just what’s needed for the ball winder, and should be plenty robust enough for such a project.  The winding handle and shaft will also be reused.

About yorkshirecrafter

I live and work in West Yorkshire.  I've always enjoyed crafts of all types, from woodwork to lace-making.  I also enjoy anything mathematical, which makes knitting a favourite pastime, especially complicated designs.  I've been advising businesses and industry on environmental matters for 30 years and also have an interest in green living, especially where it saves me money. I live with my husband and our Maine Coon in a 100-year-old cottage that constantly needs something doing to it.  Fortunately, I enjoy DIY too.
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6 Responses to A vintage drill

  1. Krafty Fix says:

    Funnily enough I was using my hand drill the other day to drill a hole in the wall (it was just the one hole so didn’t warrant anything more powerful), and I thought how useful it would be if the rear handle could be braced by my shoulder or chest. Looks like the idea has been around for some time already!

  2. Aussie says:

    Just found your blog last night. Started at gansey design and now drooling over your repurposing/ tool redesign! I’m going to be sad to finish reading every entry, so I’m skipping through all round about and hoping there’s still one more I haven’t read. Lol. If you see this comment – how did you get your gansey to have waist shaping? Did you do mirrored decreases on the fake side seams or maybe went down a needle size? Love your gansey, thanks for blogging.

    • Thank you for your kind comments, and I’m glad you’re finding plenty to interest you in this blog! I hate to disappoint, but there is no (deliberate) waist shaping in my gansey, although I can see why you might think otherwise, especially in the pre-blocking photos. I expect it’s because the vertical patterning below the yoke draws the fabric in a bit more than either the welt and the plain area just above it, or the larger designs on the yoke. I’d probably increase a few sts for the below-yoke patterning if I did it again, like you have to do for cables. You live and learn …

  3. Aussie says:

    Just the pattern was responsible, yes that seems like a good explanation, very interesting thanks heaps. I’m going to try moving the waist shaping in from the side seams at the back and front -sort of like where princess seams would go. I’m making a cardigan for a friend and will try it on that and see if it fits confortably. Can’t wait to see your cardigan pattern when it’s ready or your next invention they are so cool.

  4. The Kelmscott cardigan I knitted had the back waist shaping at that princess line position, and I like the fit of it very much. Re. my cardigan design, I plan to submit it to a magazine this summer, for the winter edition (they work months in advance). If, as is more than likely, it is rejected I’ll get it test-knitted in a range of sizes and then offer it on Ravelry. Either way, it should be available some time this coming winter.

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