We get LOTS of questions at ToolCrib.com. Our most recent question called for the help of Tool Historians:
I have my father’s old #41 Yankee drill and I would like to know if I can still buy the bits for it?
There are 10 spaces in the handle and I need to replace some bits, I think they are 3/32–3/16–13/64 and 7/32, anyway these are the ones I’m looking for.
Do you know what bits were included in the original tool?
I went to the guys at WoodNet for help on this one – if you’re looking for help or would like to join a great community of woodworkers check out WoodNet.net.
Todd Hughes said that the Yankee #41 “Came with 8 bits, 1/16, 5/64, 3/32, 7/64, 1/8, 9/54, 5/32, and 11/64.”
He suggested that the best place to find these bits is in the little wooden tubes they originally came in. So the next time you’re at the flea market keep your eye out for little wooden tubes :)
Jerrry (no that’s NOT a typo ;) loves his Yankee #41 – in fact, he says he reaches for it “two or three times more often than an egg beater.”
I can’t tell if he’s joking or not, but I DO know that he corroborates the answer to a key question – how many bits were included with the original:
“Now, I know that there are quite a number of slots in the handle to hold bits, but I don’t know that they had that many different sized bits that came with it. Those small bits have a tendency to get broken, and possibly the extra slots were to carry spares of the most used ones.
Jon Zimmer has/had a number of the North Bros as well as Craftsman etc branded 41s and consistently indicates that there were originally 8 different bits that came with them.”
evenfall provided some great history of the Yankee company in this quote: “Yankee Tools were originally made by a company called North Brothers. Sometime in 1946, North Brothers was purchased by Stanley.”
And finally, MStens points to Woodnetter Walt’s page that sells Yankee push drill bits.
Thanks to the WoodNetters for help on this one! And be sure to check out the full thread.
Update: Jerrry was not joking – I just didn’t know what he was talking about. There are old drills that have mechanisms similar to egg beaters. Be sure to check out Jerrry’s Starfish Pens site!