Bit and Brace

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Blog entry by IantheTinker posted 04-13-2018 05:27 PM 958 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I found a brace and some bits at my local Restore yesterday, at a pretty good price to boot! I haven’t found much for identifying marks yet. Just a few “Made in the USA”, pretty sure one says Irwin, some say “cast iron”, and then a few have numbers, which I assume are sizes. The brace also has very little for identifying marks.

Any information anyone might be able to share would be appreciated. The jaws of the brace are no longer connected to each other by the wire, but the still function normally.


6 comments so far

View Woodknack's profile


13431 posts in 3181 days

#1 posted 04-13-2018 06:31 PM

About everything was made in America then, lots of hardware stores would buy generic designs to resell. Signs of a high quality brace are enclosed ratchet and ball bearing on the top handle. Not to say regular braces won’t get the job done. I bought a set of Irwin bits years back, sizes 3 – 16, I think, plus a few adjustable bits. I don’t use them a lot but sometimes they are very handy.

-- Rick M,

View Ocelot's profile


2553 posts in 3439 days

#2 posted 04-13-2018 06:44 PM

The sizes are in 16ths, so 8 is a 1/2”.

You’ll need a little file to sharpen the bits. You can buy a special “auger file” but it’s $45, so I just use any little file that will get in there. Don’t sharpen the perimeter, as it will effect the hole size, just the two cutting edges at the point. Search on LJ and you will find good sharpening advice.

Here' ya go.


View IantheTinker's profile


285 posts in 928 days

#3 posted 04-14-2018 01:02 AM

Thanks guys! I didn’t know that about what makes a good brace, if I had I might have gotten the other one they had there, but I liked the look of this one better, lol. I will be sure to take a look around for sharpening advice, it is good to know that I can use any file I can get in there.

I was back there again today and found a Diston handsaw, working on these old tools and seeing how much I can restore them is going to be fun!


View farmergreg's profile


21 posts in 539 days

#4 posted 02-15-2019 05:01 PM

I have Brace’s that my Grandfather’s brought on the Land Run. We still use these with corner posts today.

-- My shop teacher is one of the Greatest men I ever knew.

View IantheTinker's profile


285 posts in 928 days

#5 posted 02-15-2019 08:13 PM

Hey Greg! Wow, I would love to get my hands on tools that old. Shortly after getting the brace pictured in this post I found one with an enclosed gear mechanism, Miller Falls 1322 I believe. I have been fixing them up and sharpening the bits I got. I plan on gifting them to my dad along with an Diston crosscut saw that I think is from the 70’s. These old tools are incredible!


View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 4898 days

#6 posted 02-15-2019 09:00 PM

Here is some info on bit braces to look for….

Things to consider.

Some chucks can take round bits
There are sweep choices (normally 6-14”, 10” is most common). 6” will rotate faster and is a good choices for screws and fasteners. A large sweep is rotates slower and is a good choice for boring larger holes like dog holes in a workbench.

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

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