An antique hand drill, more properly called a brace and bit in working condition is a wonderful find. Nothing like a modern drill, they typically drill holes from one-half to one inch in diameter. These drills were used mostly to drill holes in what we would call “country style” furniture, to install the back rail and legs to the seat part of a chair.
For larger applications, the same tool would be used in anything from rustic tables to wagons to barns for drilling the holes for pegged construction. In this type of construction, a peg would be driven through the drilled hole to hold the piece together. Friction held the peg in place.
A good antique hand drill will still function to perform the same job today. The bits, which are from six to 12 inches in length, have a tapered square end to fit into the drill.