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Drills - indians employed several forms of drills for making holes in stone, shell, pottery, bone, and wood.  To drill in a hard substance with his simple tools required a long time - but the Indians had plenty of time.

The simplest form of drill was similar to an awl, a sharp pointed instrument of bone, flaked stone, or copper.  To make a hole the Indian would press the instrument against the object to be drilled, turning the drill back and forth with movement of his wrist.

Indians also used grass and bristles in drilling small holes in objects that were not too hard.  The driller would twirl his tiny tool between his thumb and forefinger.  The white man today uses his small pin drill in the same fashion.

The Indian would also use a straight shaft, pointed with flaked stone, from ten inches to two feet long.  This would be twirled back and forth between the palms of the hands.  Or he might lay the shaft on his thigh, rolling it back and forth with his right hand while holding the object to be drilled against the point with his left hand.

The bow drill was effective.  This was also used in fire making.  For drilling, however, it consisted of a shaft with a hard point, a headpiece with a hollow in it to fit the top of the shaft, and a bow with a loosely fitted thong.  The thong was wrapped once around the shaft and the drill spun by drawing the bow back and forth while pressing down on the headpiece of the drill shaft.

The best was the pump drill, still in use today by the navajo silversmiths and other craftsmen of the Pueblo tribes.  It has a long shaft which passes through a disk of stone or hard wood, and also through a crosspiece.  The crosspiece is movable and is attached to the top of the shaft with thongs.  As the driller pumps up and down the thongs wind and unwind themselves around the shaft, spinning it first one way and then the other.

Some Indians employed only drills of wood without a stone point.  To make a hole with these they used dry or wet sand, and it was actually the sand which cut the hole.

In making a hole through a long pipe stem, the Indian usually split the wood lengthwise, removed the heart, and then glued the two pieces back together.  it is said that some Indians used a small wood boring worm.  The worm was placed in one end of the stem which had been hollowed out, and the hole sealed.  The end in which the worm was confined was then heated, causing the worm to bore rapidly in the opposite direction until it finally came out the other end.

Related Information within this Site
[ Fire Making ][ Grasswork ]