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This Cole Drill from the Rusty Iron Workshop is a type of ratchet drill that consists of a post assembly clamped to the workpiece (such as an I-beam or large tube) and a drill assembly attached to the post that feeds downwards by a screw and turns with a concentric ratchet. The assembly allows great drilling pressure at low speed so that large diameter holes can be drilled in steel entirely by hand.

Those that have them love them, and those that don’t are often out of luck since it appears they are no longer made. However this page still shows them as a product (with pictures showing Cole drill setups). There were a number of accessories available, and the pamphlet shows the many uses. They do show up on eBay from time to time, though the one listed now is in relatively poor condition. The drills are chucked in a 1/2″ hole with a set screw, so Silver and Deming bits are often used (although some people will mount a drill chuck).

Special thanks to Rob Skinner and Kelley Garcia of the Rusty Iron Workshop in California for use of this great photo. Check out their antique engines, machinery, and tractors here.

 

8 Responses to The Cole Drill

  1. fred says:

    What an interesting post. This site is great! You learn something new every day. With over 60 years of looking at tools – never saw one of these – but it looks like something that would still come in handy as a low-volume alternative to the magnetic drill press.

  2. Bob Coder says:

    I have had one for years and when needed there is no substitute. Cutting oil and slow is a good thing.

  3. kyle says:

    I would love to have a setup like that. IT looks like a very useful tool.

  4. Julian Cullen says:

    They most assuredly are still being made, as well as all parts, should one need to replace something dmamged or missing.
    Ordered a couple of new vise coil springs from them this summer.

  5. Rob Wooldridge says:

    Could you please leave details as how to contact them as I am interested…thanks

  6. Ron Martin says:

    I have a Cole #7. I need a chuck key for it. The chuck is an “Almond 34”. Where can I get one?

  7. Jennifer says:

    I actually have one these tools! Seems to be I good condition. I have never used it but for the looks of it I do t believe I would have any problem. It is most definitely an antique. I would be very interested in selling it if anyone is interested! My email is
    jramey1994@gmail.com
    I can get pictures!

  8. keith says:

    I purchased one of these at a garage sale recently without knowing exactly what it was for the sum of six dollars. It was only because of this site that I was able to figure it out. Since then I purchased a Cole vise at another sale. The possible uses for the no. 7 are endless, its definitely a keeper.

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