A traditional woodworking brace, is used to bore holes from ¼” in diameter and up in increments of 1/16” to 1 ½” which are often too big for a hand drill. They can create cleaner work than power tool versions because they operate by a screw thread and cutting edges instead of power and speed. The cutting edges can be newly sharpened with a small file when dull. They bore holes more slowly than electric drills and the spiral bits are designed with a screw-type tip (pointed snail) that pulls the bit into the wood as the handle of the brace is rotated. This makes them a safer alternative to high-speed high-powered drills.
Some braces have a ratchet which allows you to use the tool where space is limited. For example, if you were boring a hole near a wall and could not turn the handle the full circle, you could engage the ratchet and just use the half radius to continue boring. You can switch the direction of cut and withdraw the bit using the ratchet too. This give you more versatility and enable you to still use the brace in restricted areas.
The brace performs the same tasks as an electric drill, mainly to bore holes in wood. The bits can be interchanged to create different sized holes. Unlike the electric drill, the brace is fully dependent on human power, this is an advantage as it always runs on your renewable energy.
- Chuck – The part of the brace which grips and holds the bit and can be tightened or loosened.
- Spurs – The sharp edges on a drill bit to cut the circumference of the hole, there can be one or two.
- Joiner’s Brace
- Hand Brace
- Carpenters Brace
- Ratchet Brace
Parts of a Swing Brace
● Ratchet Mechanism
If you have purchased your brace secondhand, ensure all the parts move freely without friction, if not you can oil these parts to ease up the friction. There is usually an oil hole where the neck connects to the pad, only one or two drops are needed. The chuck and the chuck thread may also…
To use a brace, rotate the centre grip and combine hand and arm pressure to push the bit into the wood. The bit has a spiral point that assists to pull the bit into the wood with each rotation you make. The bit is held firmly within the chuck by two jaws. Turning the grip…
To read more on this we recommend the following from Paul’s blog: