Early 19th Century Wood Brace

Click for a Closer LookWooden braces were very popular and usually fancier than their iron counterparts. This one is made of applewood. At some point in its past the from web split and was repaired with a brass plate. These braces had bits which were permanently set into pads which were in turn fitted into the chuck or nose of the brace. At this point in history the adjustable chuck hadn't been introduced. Some pads were held in place temporarily with though pins, wing screws, or spring locks. The heads were always allowed to turn to keep friction (and the blisters) to a minimum. Get a closer view of the object (49KB)

"Some of my father’s men still used the old shell augers for boring holes, but as a child, I remember being fascinated by a new spiral bit rapidly discharging its clean-cut chips as it was turned by one of the workmen. The problem that perplexed me was that the twist appeared to ascend as the bit bored its way deeper and deeper into the wood - I believe that it had been newly introduced: my father’s chest had no prepared places for that type of bit though it had special receptacles for those known as "centre" and "shell". Also it was not until I had commenced work that the steel ratchet brace appeared on the market; before then the wooden stocks with spring clips for securing the bits were used by all woodworkers. They were beautifully made, the clip workings inside a brass - mounted socket; they had also brass inlays where the wood was cross - grained, and frequently were fitted with ebony revolving heads...."

Excerpt from "The Village Carpenter" by Walter Rose. First published 1937 by Cambridge University Press. Reissued 1986 by A & C Black (Publishers) Ltd., London. Published in the US by New Amsterdam Books. New York City.



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Brace Bits (Sheffield Illustrated List, 1888) reprinted Dictionary of Woodworking Tools, R.Salaman

Suggested further reading:

Back to 18th c Brace Next: 60 oz. Plumb Bob

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