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Advise on buying an old bit brace

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Forum topic by Brett posted 04-14-2011 08:13 PM 4146 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Brett

631 posts in 1368 days


04-14-2011 08:13 PM

I’d like to buy a good, user-quality bit brace for a reasonable price. Can anyone recommend a few commonly available maker/model combinations to look for, and any that should be avoided? For example, “Company XYZ model 111 and 222 braces are all good, but their models 333 and 444 models are junk.”

Also, can most brace-bits be used with most old braces? Are there any old braces that can also be used with modern drill-bits?

-- More tools, fewer machines.


6 replies so far

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Loren

7718 posts in 2333 days


#1 posted 04-14-2011 08:18 PM

“Also, can most brace-bits be used with most old braces? “

I think so. 4-sided shanks won’t work well in a 3-jaw brace.

“Are there any old braces that can also be used with modern drill-bits?”

Yes. 3 and 4 jaw braces can usually be. 2 jaw braces sometimes not.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1281 posts in 1683 days


#2 posted 04-14-2011 09:36 PM

Other than the aesthetics of plastic pad and handle, most modern braces are as good as old ones. The 2 and 4 jaw chuck for square tanged bits. I suggest a 4 jaw if you plan on using just one with both square tanged bits and round shanked bits. The three jawed ones are good if you are using round and hex shanked bits but I rarely use it that way. I use an eggbeater drill for round shanked bits in small holes. Bigger holes up to an inch, I go for the auger. Bigger than that, I just bring out the power tools although they have some adjustable augers that will cut larger holes. I just don’t have one any more. They don’t really cut very cleanly anyway.

New ones I have seen from the range of $20-$100. I have one that I think I paid $15 for new but that was 20 years ago. I have never had a problem with it. I can’t say it is worth big $$ to get a fancy one. It’s a pretty low tech item.

The one real killer is getting a good set of bits for it. You can poke around and pick up one here and there and build up a set. I got lucky and picked up a boxed set of Irwins on the cheap. If you look, most are stamped on the tang with numbers from 2 to 16 which is the size in 16ths of an inch.

Also take a look at at the adaptors for socket wrenches and hex bits like these from Lee Valley:

Garret Wade has a brace with the socket drive as the main head and a chuck that snaps onto it.

I use my brace with the hex driver head all the time. A lot easier than messing with a cordless drill. Just have to be careful because these things generate a huge amount of torque.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune: http://lowbudgetwoodworker.blogspot.com/

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Bertha

12951 posts in 1379 days


#3 posted 04-14-2011 09:43 PM

“tenon cutter not included” drats! :) I like the big and old Stanleys. They can be had at a song on Ebay. I think I got this one for $20.

Quality bits can be a bit more difficult. There are new ones out there but they’re pretty pricey (but worth it). I’ll buy several sets on Ebay, expecting about a 20% return. I still want one of those cool chest bit braces.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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WayneC

12292 posts in 2783 days


#4 posted 04-14-2011 10:21 PM

North Brothers and Millers Falls are good brands…. Check out this blog post by Chris Schwarz.

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/chris-schwarz-blog/the-essential-brace-bit

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

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WayneC

12292 posts in 2783 days


#5 posted 04-15-2011 04:32 AM

I’ve seen a number of bit sets in antique stores and at flea markets. I picked this one up a couple of years ago. They seem to be reasonably common.

DSCF0050

I have a bunch of braces, these are the only ones I have photos for at the moment.

DSCF0052

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

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