By: The Working Man
The brace is a device usually used to drill holes through
wood. It is composed of a U-shaped grip and pressure is
applied to the top of the brace to drill a hole using a bit.
See our page on the history of the brace and bit.
The U-shaped of the brace is a type of crankshaft. This
gives the brace greater torque than any other type of hand
drill. The brace can drill much deeper and wider holes. The
old gear driven hand drill couldn't do this very well if at
There is a sacrifice for the stronger torque of the brace as
it has a lower rotational speed. It takes quite a bit of
effort to get to one hundred rotations per minute. It is
also difficult to hold a hand brace completely vertical
while using it, so if you are doing precision drilling it
isn't recommended that you use a hand brace.
The brace is composed of a chuck spindle with clamps or V-
shaped brackets inside. When turning the spindle of the
chuck in a clockwise direction it tightens and drills down
with pressure added to the top. To loosen or remove the
brace you rotate the spindle counter-clockwise.
Immediately behind the chuck is a three position gear
release in most braces. This allows the handle to ratchet
when stuck. When you turn the gear release all the way
clockwise it lets it remove wood in a clockwise direction
and the wood bits are expelled with the ratchet action
When the gear release is moved fully counter-clockwise the
brace bit can turn in a counter-clockwise direction that
usually removes the drill bit from the hole you were
creating. When the gear release is in the center position it
blocks the ratcheting effect.
There is a wooden spindle on the U-shaped crank and on top
of that is the top spindle. This allows your hands to freely
turn without tearing up your hands and causing blisters.
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