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Pictured above is my very own “YANKEE” No. 41 (from North Bros. Mfg. Co. in Philadelphia, PA) that I got many (many) years ago from my dad. I have no idea how old it is. My dad may have gotten it from my grandfather, but I can no longer ask either one of them. Soon after I got it, I broke one of the bits, but was able to stop into my friendly local hardware store and pick up a set of replacements — those were the good ol’ days. It’s an oldie but a goodie that I still like to use. In fact, I recently broke — well, kind of bent it (see above picture) — a bit, and found that replacement bits are now somewhat harder to find and getting expensive as they’re often classified as antiques or collector’s items. Fortunately, a bit of web searching turned up a possible solution: a shank adapter complete with bits.

It’s available for $32 (plus $3 shipping). Another alternative is the $20 set of eight spare bits from Garrett Wade’s push drill that, they say, “should” fit an old Stanley push drill.

What do you think? Should I modify the old classic so it can use standard bits, or should I try the spare bits from Garrett Wade?

[Manufacturer’s Site]
Garrett Wade [Website]

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17 Responses to Yankee No. 41 Push Drill Shank Adapter

  1. MattW says:

    You guys have previously posted your answer:

    http://toolmonger.com/2008/06/25/push-pull-click-click/

    I would be tempted to frame my dad’s yankee screwdriver and hang it on the wall, and buy and use the new one and move on in life. The new one has a ratcheting handle, as well as the standard 1/4 hex quick release power bit drive.

    On a tangent, I have found this tool to be da bomb when doing electrical outlet work. You can zip the screws in and out without breaking most of your parts.

  2. Gordon says:

    @ MattW

    Turns out that I also have a plastic-handled Stanley 133H to which I’ve added a 5.5mm hex adapter from Lee Valley, so it can use any 1/4″ hex bit. I like my posted Yankee No. 41 for drilling small pilot holes.

    http://www.leevalley.com/wood/Page.aspx?c=2&p=57809&cat=1,43411,43417

  3. Gary says:

    If it says North Bros on it, it was made prior to 1946, which is when Stanley acquired them. I’ll admit to having a pushdrill jones. I’ve got several different kinds. I think the old fluted bits actually cut better and faster than twist bits and they’re really easy to sharpen and reshape.

    I actually prefer the Miller Falls pushdrills with the + shaped jaws. You can use them to grip regular round shank bits up to about 1/8″.

    I say keep using it, if you like the connection to your family. I have a few tools from my Dad that I treasure. I use them though. That’s what they’re for.

    You can also keep your eyes open on eBay. If you don’t need a pristine set in the wooden tube, you can pick up a set of 8 for less than $20 – if you want to keep using the original bits.

  4. fred says:

    I’m old enough to have worked on jobsites where nearly every electrician and phone installer had one yankee push drill of the type shown – and every carpenter had a Yankee spiral ratchet screwdriver. The latter even had an adapter (Stanley #4077) to drive 3/8 ” square drive sockets. The Yankees were replaced first by corded screw guns and then nearly completely by battery-powered cordless drivers.
    I’m told that Yankee screwdrivers still find use in communities where religious beliefs will not allow the use of power tools.

  5. Old Coot says:

    I’ve got one of these in fairly good condition, including many bits; just checked eBay, they aren’t selling for very much so perhaps I should just put it on display.

  6. Old Coot says:

    OBTW, why don’t I use it? It doesn’t have a laser.

  7. Gordon says:

    @ Old Coot

    That’s probably why I bent the bit: couldn’t zero in on the proper location without laser guidance.

  8. Gary says:

    Coot, wait till the market improves. A friend of mine bought a #41 mint with 8 bits 2 years ago. I think he paid about $60, but he likes shiny tools.

  9. craig says:

    carried one for over twenty years.
    made great holes.
    convinced junkyard dogs that I was at the top of the food chain.

    at one time they came with really high quality twist bits. my first one even had a regular screwdriver bit that was total crap, however i always like the idea.

    i recently broke my last small drill point.

    i have the stanley 03-043, so the vendor needed to install the conversion chuck. the chuck he uses would limit the bit diameter, so…

    i picked up a few spring loaded drive chucks (similar to the adapters that mcfeely and lee valley sell) with 1/4″ hex shafts.
    chucked them up in my drill press and turned the shanks to 11/64″ and dremeled the neccessary indents for the chuck on the yankee drill.

    the first one had an aluminum shank…failed spectacularly.
    the second made of steel had way too much mass in the chuck, best chuck though.
    the third has the same diameter as the yankee chuck and has worked out very well. using hex shanked drill bits (and some care) it drills round holes and with drive bits it screws as well. in not out, no reverse.

    easy enough to diy. but it would be neat if they were carried by stores.

  10. max says:

    I bought 4 Push drills at local market for $10 in New Zealand – One Yankee 41 had all 8 bits in brand new condition. Harder to come by are the Millars Falls Fluted bits! Do Not Destroy yor lovely old Push Drill – Buy the bits and thank heaven you live where you can!!
    Max (from “Down Under” in New Zealand)- where it costs 10 times more for postage than the purchase price!!!

  11. Carlos Gillham says:

    I have one of these made in japan-looks very old,
    belonged to my grandfather-and I am 65 years old.
    I sure would like to know more about the one
    I have-very dangerous tool-you move a cylinder
    around and the end explodes with enough force
    to take your head off. Thanks, Carl

  12. Mark says:

    I have several of the yankee drills, one that I just acquired. This last one is a model 41 made by North Bros. in Philadelphia, Pa. but I can’t figure out how to get the bits out, I have tried unscrewing the sleeve receptor down, but it will only go so far. The one pictured has the cap off of it, can anyone explain to me how to get the bits out? thanks

  13. Mark says:

    Aha, I found a video that shows me how to do it!

  14. ronald walker ,md says:

    Where can I buy Shank adapter for Yankee Good solution since regular bits break so often Please respond

  15. TechPro says:

    I agree that you should keep it in-tack, as is. You have something valuable not only as a hand-me done, but as real money antique!

    I started in Telephone business in 1979 and we all had one in our pouch. I’m back in the field now trying to relive my past and I keep reaching for that drill – only to find out they are only available online.

    Just lucked out on Ebay and bought one (little rusty) for @$20., but my guess is it has no bits. Time to start rummaging through my old bags to see if I can come up with one or two.

    Also, I think the fluted style is designed for the back-forth motion, where traditional drill bits rely on 360 degrees full rotation.

    Yah, I got the bug back now!

  16. Lee says:

    The bits from Garretwade.com do fit the Yankee 41, 41y & Craftsman (gray with red top). You can buy a set of of bits or sizes needed. They also sell a newer version similar to the 41.

  17. Jeff Polaski says:

    Just bought a North Bros, 130 or 130A, have to check. I have 3 of their braces. The 130 & 130A take a 9/32″ bit. Can anyone tell me what size bit fits the 41 push drill? Those bits seem to be more available. Are there adapters?
    Got a tool chest and started sorting out old tools. Seems I have at least 4 push drivers, and at least one ratchet driver that will fit in a shirt pocket.
    I’m ready to work, but not having bits that match the ratchets is just plain embarrassing.

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