Hand braces

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Forum topic by Betsy posted 05-12-2009 03:05 AM 3239 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3391 posts in 3917 days

05-12-2009 03:05 AM

Topic tags/keywords: hand brace

I’m thinking of getting a hand brace for the shop. This is what I’m looking at.,180,42337&ap=1

I probably will go with the three-jaw chuck.

What I question is that using a hand brace to drive screws. I have always thought of the hand brace to do the drilling. How many of you who use hand braces use it for driving screws? Do you have better success with a brace as opposed to a good old screwdriver?

Thanks in advance.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

8 replies so far

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3695 days

#1 posted 05-12-2009 03:27 AM

I’ve never driven a screw with a brace, a good yankee screw driver is a much better bet for that operation.

Also I’ve never been impressed with the modern braces in operation. Add to that the fact that I literally trip over vintage ones with life left in them at the local junk stores and I say buy a 2 dollar vintage one.

Even Chris Schwartz who recommends new hand tools over old ones doesn’t really like the modern versions.

View a1Jim's profile


117113 posts in 3598 days

#2 posted 05-12-2009 03:30 AM

Lee valley makes good products but for about a third or less of the cost of a new brace you can get an original brace on e bay they are very plentiful on e bay every one seems to use the newer cordless drills.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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12099 posts in 3777 days

#3 posted 05-12-2009 04:13 AM

I have an old Craftsman brace (won it in high school). Used it to drive some phillips screws but it really didn’t work as well as I thought it would. It was kind of difficult to keep in vertical on the screw at all times. Maybe square drive screws would work better- or more practice!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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18283 posts in 3697 days

#4 posted 05-12-2009 04:54 AM

Depends on the screws you’re driving. Slotted screws done’t take to being driven well with anything but a screwdriver. Phillips are a little better with a brace and best with a drill motor. Square drives are the easiest of all, but I’ve never driven those with a brace. My choice would be a drill motor or cordless screw driver; then, Yankee screwdriver; then, by hand and a brace last of all. They are hard to keep straight, When you are drilliing, it is easy to see the bit starting on the wood straight.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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647 posts in 3343 days

#5 posted 05-12-2009 05:29 AM

Just curious, why do you feel you need a hand brace with all of the available options in electric drills, etc? Will it serve a particular purpose that drills can’t? Totally honest question.

I looked a little closer and might have answered my own question. It might be an option for making rustic furniture. It still seems like it might be more efficient and overall less expensive to get the tenon cutter that fits onto the electric drill. Am I barking up the wrong tree?

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3917 days

#6 posted 05-12-2009 02:57 PM

Thanks for the responses guys.

Dun – not barking up the wrong tree. I’m thinking of a hand brace because I’ve been trying to do more hand tool work. I just couldn’t see doing screws with it though.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3463 days

#7 posted 05-12-2009 03:04 PM

I,m using a new stanley brace, which is identical to the record and lotus brace that were also in the store, and it,s ok, if a bit sloppy. The lee valley looks good and Garrett wade has one with interchangable chucks that take screw tips and sockets, but does look the same as the stanley so 99.9% it,s chinese. Not had trouble driving screws with it and it,s easier on your wrist when driving the big screws than a screwdriver because of the torque you can get. I only use this as I have an unpowered shop, actually i,m broke and I work outside! but I enjoy all the same and can,t see me getting a cordless any time soon. Compared to a cordless there,s no advantage in useing a brace unless you just dig the handtool thing, like I do.

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View firecaster's profile


573 posts in 3440 days

#8 posted 05-13-2009 02:12 AM

I have my grandfather’s wood handled brace. Don’t know how old it is. I have another I bought 20 years or so ago. I just introduced some Boyscouts to using it with auger bits. A couple of them love it even though they’ve used power drills and like to practice with it. I tell them it’s a cordless drill.
A brace is still required for the woodworking merit badge. They say it gives a better feel for the wood. I think they’re scared of boys with power tools.
A brace does give a certain satisfaction that a battery drill doesn’t.

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

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