Recently, I retrieved a drill brace from my father’s wood-tools collection, but he had no auger bits to go with it. So I have been searching the net for auger bits, only to find that the ‘old’ style (square brace shank) seem no longer newly available. Most obvious changes: the ‘snail’ seems to be hollow (not curled with a center-shaft) and the brace shank is mostly hexagon nowadays.
can I only expect vintage finds to fit my brace? Would a hexagon shaft still fit the old brace? Can the hexagon shank be filed or otherwise modified to fit a vintage brace?
Anything is possible. You could make a new set of jaws to fit the new style shanks. However I would suggest getting an old set. Not sure where you are located, but here in the states a flea market or family sale can be a good place to find them fairly cheap. I have 3+ sets I have found this way. Online auctions are another good source for them, but you might pay a bit more that route.
I have not found it hard to get bits at flea markets ect, a few weeks ago I got a full set in its original wood box of Jennings #32 Bits sizes 1/8 to 1 1/8 for 100,only 3 had ever been used the rest still had the wax coat on the points,A Miller Falls egg beater #5 in very clean condition for 20. and a skewed rabbit plane, with both nickels in place.for 25
Forget ebay it’s a waste of time, look at junk dealers, flea marts and yard sales there are a few very good dealers that are priced fair and trusted. If you want info send me a note.
I have so many auger bits. Any time I find them with the wax coatings or perfect condition I get them. I need to make sense with what I have. I have a brace that doesn’t have a chuck but has a little button and lever to hold the bits. Not a wing nut like a spofford but same idea. It doesn’t seem to hold the auger bits real well. Not sure what bits are ideal for it.
Tools for Working Wood also sells new bits based on the Jennings pattern:
Traditional Woodworker, Tools for working wood, They are as good maybe better than the ole Vintage ones. Peter Barnes in the UK on Ebay usually has them If not listed then email him on ebay. The best place I found for the vintage ones are Auctions. Like The David Stanley Auctions they just had one this past Saturday and he had five or six sets. I’ve bought three or four sets from him and Two were Old Vintage Irwin’ s in the box but had never been used. Not even once. But If you can afford it the new ones from Tools for working wood are awesome bits. Hope this will help you. Sometimes the dealers are a little pricey compared to what you can buy them for. I can say this before I pay $300.00 for a set of Vintage bits I would buy brand new ones . Oh yea also Fuller still makes them as well. Email them and ask for a Catalog they will send you one and the price sheet. Cheers Chris
You are not restricted to using square-shank bits if the jaws on the brace are working well (assuming a Jennings style brace).
Hex shank bits grip fine. You can insert screw drive tips and really go to town, square-drive/Roberston screws work great with a brace as the driver.
As do larger round-shank bits (i.e. Forsner bits with full 3/8″ shanks). No problems.
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