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Forum topic by planeBill posted 791 days ago 2619 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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planeBill

467 posts in 1013 days


791 days ago

How usefull are they? How often do they get used in your shop and for what? In what circumstance are they more usefull than say a cordless or corded drill? I know the Yankee brand is supposed to be the top of the line but one pays a premium for one even in not so good shape so I have been studying old lit from the Millers Falls Co., Stanley and what I can find on P. S. & W. Which one(s) do you favor and what years, chuck, jaw should a person seek out?
I have only found one new brace in current manufacture and it is made in France, 3 jaw chuck. They also make one with a 2 jaw chuck. How well, if anyone has any first-hand experience, does the 2 jaw chuck hold round shaft bits, say, like a drill bit, or drill as some would say.
I appreciate any advice.

-- I was born at a very young age, as I grew up, I got older.


21 replies so far

View NJWiliam's profile

NJWiliam

32 posts in 1171 days


#1 posted 791 days ago

I use braces all the time. I’d recommend one with a spofford chuck. For 1/4 inch and less bits, I recommend a hand drill (eggbeater style). The toughest part about braces is finding good bits – but that’s not too bad for most types.

View Boatman53's profile

Boatman53

817 posts in 800 days


#2 posted 791 days ago

I use hand braces all the time, but very little for drilling. The main use for me is driving and removing screws. I have all sizes, the 6” throw for smaller screws up to the 14” throw for maximum torque. The control cannot be matched. Lee Valley sells adapters to chuck in the brace so you can fit hex bits and drive nuts. I have a couple I would part with, PM me and I’ll see what I can come up with.

-- Jim, Long Island, NY Ancorayachtservice.com home of the chain leg vise

View planeBill's profile

planeBill

467 posts in 1013 days


#3 posted 791 days ago

Are triumph bits good bits? And, what exactly is a Spofford chuck and which brand has this type of chuck, if it is brand specific?

-- I was born at a very young age, as I grew up, I got older.

View hhhopks's profile

hhhopks

561 posts in 981 days


#4 posted 791 days ago

Braces seems to go dirt cheap. I guess people just aren’t into braces as they are to planes.
Perhaps now is the time to pick some up. I haven’t intend on collecting them but something how I have end up with about 10. I have used it on a few occasions.

There seems to be more demand on eggbeater. There are perfect for small holes.

-- I'll be a woodworker when I grow up. HHHOPKS

View woodworker59's profile

woodworker59

560 posts in 805 days


#5 posted 791 days ago

I use my braces very often, sometimes for drilling, but mostly for driving screws, there isin’t a cordless drill out there that can apply the torque that a good brace can. they seem to be quite cheap and available up here in the north east, and I have ended up with 4 without even trying. seems every odd box of junk you buy has one in it.. the Shelton, Mohawk Sheldon, and the Millers Falls are all good braces.. have fun and use hand tools.. they need love too. As for bits, if you can find a good set of Jennings, jump on it. As long as the price aint to high.. but they are a very good bit..

-- Papa@papaswoodworking.com

View sikrap's profile

sikrap

989 posts in 1963 days


#6 posted 791 days ago

I too seem to have collected braces (and bits) without trying. One benefit that a brace will offer over an electric drill is control. Its also very surprising how quickly a brace will drill a hole, especially if you use a 12” or 14”. If/when you want to buy, drop me a note.

-- Dave, Colonie, NY

View planeBill's profile

planeBill

467 posts in 1013 days


#7 posted 790 days ago

Thanks for the tips/advice/help. I bought a stanley brace on ebay for nothing basically and it looks like it just came out of the package. I need some of those jennings bits now.

-- I was born at a very young age, as I grew up, I got older.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2726 posts in 1847 days


#8 posted 788 days ago

When drilling deep holes, it’s easier to keep the bit straight (90° to the surface) than with a power drill. Too bad I can’t find a hex or square driver bit for driving lag screws.

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2252 days


#9 posted 788 days ago

For me the best benefit over cordless drills is that the battery on the brace never runs out… especially if you don’t use it too often – always ready for work when you pick it up.

the braces are not that expensive, but the good bits….thats a different story, but there are still good deals to be had out there, and it’s not as bad as collector planes.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Brit's profile

Brit

5109 posts in 1447 days


#10 posted 788 days ago

PlaneBill – I did a blog series on braces last year. Parts 1-4 are about restoring an old rusty brace to ‘as new’ condition, Part 5 is about tuning a brace, Part 6 is about what to look for when buying a secondhand brace, Part 7 talks about auger bits and shows you how to sharpen them, Part 8 provides tips and tricks on using a hand brace.

Here’s the link to Part 1. Hope it helps.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View CartersWhittling's profile

CartersWhittling

451 posts in 1278 days


#11 posted 788 days ago

I would also recommend a Spofford patent brace. The main difference being the way the drill bit is held in the chuck.

A regular hand brace has a chuck like most modern drills, except with only two jaws instead of three. The only problem with these chucks are that they can be a little loose, therefore making it awkward to drill accurately.

The Spofford patent has a thumb screw which clamps the two sides of the chuck on the bit. This creates a strong grip with no loose movement that some regular chucks can have. It is also very quick and easy to switch bits because it only takes a turn of the thumbscrew to loosen and tighten it.

The only problem with the Spofford is that they are becoming hard to find, and are becoming pricy. I managed to get one on ebay for $40Cnd because it wasn’t cleaned up yet, but most were selling for $80-$200 depending on the condition.

-- And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord... Colossians 3:23 http://carterswhittling.wordpress.com/

View Brit's profile

Brit

5109 posts in 1447 days


#12 posted 788 days ago

MrRon – not sue where you’re located, but if you’re in the US, you can get adaptors to hold any type of bit in your brace from Lee Valley.

LJs in Europe can get them from www.fine-tools.com. Scroll to the bottom of the page.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

View Brad's profile

Brad

813 posts in 1344 days


#13 posted 788 days ago

PlaneBill,

Andy’s blog series on the brace is worth every moment you spend studying it. In fact, I need to review the part on sharpening bits.

I have found that the pleasure I take from using hand braces is directly related to the quality and condition of the auger bit I use. A sharp, well-tuned bit cuts beautifully, and effortlessly. I picked up a 12” Millers Falls brace at an estate sale a few months back and have been very pleased with its performance. The larger sweep makes drilling larger holes much easier. The best part is, my braces’ “battery pack” never runs down, so I don’t have to wait for it to charge before making holes.

For precision boring, I use my drill press. But the overwhelming majority of my drilling is done with braces.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View planeBill's profile

planeBill

467 posts in 1013 days


#14 posted 788 days ago

THANK YOU VERY MUCH for the link to your series. Top notch info that I should have sought out in the first place. Damn, I’m lazy sometimes. I should have known that there was something like this out there already. An exhaustive effort and well apreciated.

-- I was born at a very young age, as I grew up, I got older.

View planeBill's profile

planeBill

467 posts in 1013 days


#15 posted 788 days ago

So, is the Stanley 923 brace that I bought a decent brace? Are there any quirks I should be aware of with this brace? How is the chuck with round shafts? Thanks again everyone.

-- I was born at a very young age, as I grew up, I got older.

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