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$5 Brace and Bit Restoration

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Blog entry by Jorgearaujo posted 07-20-2015 11:27 PM 1745 reads 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

So on my way home on Friday I stopped at the American Way Thrift Store… Pretty rare occurance for me but I am glad I did. I walked around the store not really looking for anything in particular but way in the back, actually in the area where they take the stuff and put price tags on it before bringing into the store. I found an old Brace and Bit, it was pretty rusty but checking the chuck and the rachet part I realized it was in good shape, also the grip and head didn’t wobble too much… “This is in good shape” I thought to myself… so I went to the counter to pay and since it didn’t have a price the lady called the manager and he said… $5.99, to which I countered $4.99, he said ok. What does a $4.99 Brace and Bit from a thrift store look like?

Yikes!!!!! What did I get myself into… Let me just say I have never restored a Brace and Bit, hell I have never really ever used one. But I find restoring old stuff very fun, so I started by taking everything I could apart. I was able to take the wood head off. The head is held in place by 2 little screws and the wood has a threaded center so the brace threads into it. The I took the Chuck off and the little jaws come out easily. I couldn’t figure out how to take apart the handle or the rachet I think they are pressure pressed and don’t come off.

Ok Let’s get started… First I covered the wood handle with blue tape to not hurt the wood with the rust remover, I used a product called Boeshield Rust Free, It’s part of my rust prevention and cleaning for my tools. I sprayed all the metal with it and wiped it down, took a couple of rags just to get the dirt and grime off, I set a wire brush onto my drill and put my drill into my vise and held it on with a clamp so I could start getting the rust off the metal. I started with the Chuck and Jaws.

At this point I found the first set of marking on the Brace. “STANLEY RULE & LEVEL CO. NEW BRITAIN, CONN. USA” Pretty cool start considering I had never heard Stanley Tools to be called Rule & Level Co.

Next here are the cleaned up Jaws…

Next I worked on the Auger bit and the Brace body. This took the most time since the U shape makes it akward to get the wire brush on it and its round making it even harder. It was actually a lot of fun to watch the rust start coming off and revealing the metal… at this point I started to realize it didn’t feel like tool steel, not sure why but just the feel was off, but what do I know I thought. So while removing the rust of the body I revealed the model number. One side says VICTOR and the other side says No 955 – 10IN and then upside down in larger stamping there is an SP12 (this looks off or put on later).

So after finding this all restoration halted and I ran into my office to do some research on this Brace. I was able to find a site that says it is from 1885….Wait what? 1885 yes its is over 130 years old…or at least the patent for it is… they made this brace until about 1915 so it could be anywhere in that range. That still makes it over 100 years old. The next thing I found out about this Brace is that it is Nickel plated, which makes so much sense why it didn’t feel like tool steel, it actually feels like a nickel coin. After the wire brush I used a polishing wheel and gave it a pass on all the metal parts just to shine it up a bit.

Now the easy part, sanding all the wood parts which I found out from the web that they are Fruitwood/Hardwood, pretty descriptive if you ask me… LOL! After sanding I put a coat of Boiled Linseed Oil to darken the wood and I will be putting a coat of shellac to protect the wood once the BLO dries. When I put the oil on the wood it revealed a weird “4” shape that was put onto the head with a series of little holes, not sure what craftsman in the past did that or why but its interesting.

Next I went back to my computer and watched a few videos on how to sharpen the Auger bit and started sharpening the bit, its pretty easy, you just have to know which parts to file sharp and which ones not to touch because you don’t want to change the size of it.

Then I assembled the Brace and Bit added 3-in-1 oil to the mechanical parts (every household should have a small bottle of 3-in-1, stuff if awesome for everything), then I added a coat of Boeshield T-9 Corrosion protection. I wiped everything clean, tested it and FINITO! Only thing left was to photograph it. Get ready for some Sexy Tool Porn!







15 comments so far

View Boxguy's profile

Boxguy

2178 posts in 1733 days


#1 posted 07-20-2015 11:41 PM

Looks like a nice project. Next you will be buying planes.

-- Big Al in IN

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12642 posts in 3562 days


#2 posted 07-21-2015 01:21 AM

Nicely done.


Looks like a nice project. Next you will be buying planes.

- Boxguy

And more braces…

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View CFrye's profile

CFrye

8749 posts in 1305 days


#3 posted 07-21-2015 02:30 AM

Great job on the restoration, Jorge!

-- God bless, Candy

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

2356 posts in 2462 days


#4 posted 07-21-2015 11:27 AM

Nice restoration.
I would not have any problem leaving old tools on your doorstep, you look after them very well. “The way tools should be looked after”
Yes it is fun cleaning them…......WARNING…...it is addictive.
Enjoy

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View grfrazee's profile

grfrazee

385 posts in 1605 days


#5 posted 07-21-2015 12:30 PM

Very nice restoration.

Lots of old tools like this use apple wood for the handles, btw. Disston, for example, used it a lot in saws. That would explain the “fruitwood” handles.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

View Jorgearaujo's profile

Jorgearaujo

51 posts in 1217 days


#6 posted 07-21-2015 04:07 PM

Thank you all for the nice comments…. I am now for sure addicted to restoring old tools, there is something just so satisfying about it… Only problem is living here in Los Angeles there isn’t a lot of old tools at thrift shops, its like somebody said that everything old is Vintage and most stores here want to charge a fortune for old rusty tools… So I have been looking on Ebay and stuff… But its not as fun as finding and old tool lost in the back of a store ready to be restored. But I will keep looking.

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12642 posts in 3562 days


#7 posted 07-21-2015 04:51 PM

Try antique street fairs. I’ve had good luck in Northern California as well as flea markets and antique stores.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Jorgearaujo's profile

Jorgearaujo

51 posts in 1217 days


#8 posted 07-21-2015 06:46 PM

In the Fall I will be going back to the Rose Flea Market…hopefully will have better luck this, time.. you would think that in a city this big there would be tools all over, wait let me re-phrase that there would be woodworking tools but nope… not sure why! Industrial tools and large machines I have no problem finding but small old woodworking tools are hard. I think I just have to keep looking.

View canadianchips's profile

canadianchips

2356 posts in 2462 days


#9 posted 07-21-2015 10:11 PM

Part of the the thrill is the hunting as well.
When I lived in Sask. Canada, old tools were hard to fing, I think because the few people that lived there still used them or they were hanging in someones shop waiting. No one wanted to sell anthing. Then I moved to Alberta. More tools, just of different type than what I wanted.
When I moved to Ontario. JACKPOT. The old timers were selling off their collections, it seems everyone had old tools they were getting rid of. It has slowed down somewhat in past couple of years, but you don’t have to look far for a lot of things.
eg. This weekend I found a 3/4 hp black and decker router (yellow body) not even sawdust on it at “Habitat Restore” $5. yes it works fine.
I found a 1 1/2 hp black and decker router, same base as yellow model at auction sale. My online bid $5 took it home.
I really like when people NEED or HAVE to have the bigger, soft start models, they sell off the old ones cheap !
Also found a #9 Milers falls hand plane at the neighbors garage sale. She said her brother passed away and was getting rid of his stuff. Spent another $5. Today I started sharpening blade. Thats all it needs. NO RUST.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 861 days


#10 posted 07-22-2015 04:26 PM

Welcome to the ‘Slippery Slope’ of Neanderthalism! All it takes is a project like this to get hooked.

Very cool find and equally nice restore.

I am positive that this will always be a treasured tool in your arsenal. Even better if it is a good, functional user.
Now the next step is to find a good set of auger bits. There are essentially two styles: Irwin and Russell Jennings. The Irwins are single flute like the one you have, and the Russell Jennings are double fluted. Also, there are variations in the lead screw at the tip – fine thread for hardwoods, and course thread for soft woods. From your pics it appears that yours is a course thread, so it should work well in pine and softer hardwoods.
Another tip – when using this tool to bore a hole, go in only far enough for the lead screw to poke through the other side of the board. Turn the board around and finish the hole from that side. If you try to bore through the entire hole from one side, you will get a nasty tear-out exit hole.
Have fun !!!

-- Ed

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 861 days


#11 posted 07-22-2015 04:30 PM

In addition, here is an entry from my blog file that you might be interested in….

http://lumberjocks.com/handsawgeek/blog/42205

-- Ed

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7482 posts in 1472 days


#12 posted 07-23-2015 01:04 AM

Hmmm, Stanley, 100+ years old, nickel plated, and only FIVE BUCKS???? Are you kidding me?

YOU SUCK !

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Jorgearaujo's profile

Jorgearaujo

51 posts in 1217 days


#13 posted 07-23-2015 02:47 AM

Wait till you see today’s find… LOL! I will restoring another old tool… I think I may be addicted.


Hmmm, Stanley, 100+ years old, nickel plated, and only FIVE BUCKS???? Are you kidding me?

YOU SUCK !

- JoeinGa


View Woodiewannabe's profile

Woodiewannabe

43 posts in 344 days


#14 posted 09-09-2016 01:45 PM

I know this is an old thread, but I am curious what source was used to date the bit brace. I recently found a Stanley R&L co. No. 965 Victor bit brace that I have not been able to discover anything on. All I’ve really found out is that the jaws don’t match any pictures I’ve seen (they do not have any teeth).
If anyone can steer me in a good research direction I would greatly appreciate it.

View CFrye's profile

CFrye

8749 posts in 1305 days


#15 posted 09-09-2016 04:09 PM

Go to the Vintage Drills of your dreams thread, WW. Lots of help there.

-- God bless, Candy

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