Looks like I am in the brink of falling into an addiction. I just needed to bore holes. Little holes, big holes…
I already own a $250 dollar Bosch cordless drill, allowing the battery is charged and ready to go, well I can bore anything with it, just not as precise as a craftsman should, but it does the job.
After using a spade bit to bore the hole on my tool box and watching the “not so tight” fit of the handle, it was obvious I required a more elegant and precise way of boring holes. I needed a brace.
I always research before going on the hunt for tools, and it looked like the North Bros 2100 or 2101 is the “Mercedes Benz” of all braces. Sure, it does not have the beauty or elegance of a John S. Fray brace, but it will bore the best holes with its spin-top chuck.
So I did what I always end up regretting doing, I went on a shopping spree on ebay… Why do I regret it? Well, I basically end up with other tools and accessories I don’t need and intend to buy, and I also end up buying “vintage cheap pieces of crap with great patina in good user conditions”… I can say I have had bad experiences with hand saws and the like.
So I spent my time looking for my North Bros brace, first, it is difficult to find one listed and then it is difficult to buy them cheap. Meanwhile, while I waited days for a North Bros listing, I saw for my first time a Millers Falls eggbeater hand drill. I fell in love with them and saw how people made beautiful restorations out of neglected old tools, and ended up peeping in old tool galoot websites and learning wonderful things of how you can make them sing again.
Bang!!! A Millers Falls No. 1 came my way, 18 bucks + shipping. After the buy, I actually felt bad, it did not look like it was in good user condition. You see, buying tools in ebay when I live in Central America means I need to add another +15 bucks for freight and customs per tool.
Buying a a potentially crappy hand drill (and not the best in its class), that I didn’t need, meant i wasted 50 bucks that could perfectly go into the north bros brace.
Dissatisfied with my compulsive buying and tired of not finding a North Bros, I found a listing for an old Craftsman Brace with a set of Auger bits. The listing was ending and nobody was paying attention to it, it was running cheap, around 20 bucks + shipping ($50 bucks total freight forwarded to Guatemala), so I bought it
It is an old Craftsman brace and will have the job done. It is well made, but with plastic handles, not so elegant solution to by boring problem…
After I had receive both items, I was convinced that I didn´t need any other drill solution.
Until suddenly, an ebay notifications tells me on a North Bros 2101A listing. I check on it, and it looks this fellow is selling grandpa’s old tool collection, and searching deeper, it looks like grandpa had also a Millers Falls No. 5A Hand Drill, one of the better models that MF made.
Holy crap! both were in Very Good Condition. I started watching the listing, and you know what they say, if they are meant for you, they will be yours.
I ended buying the North Bros cheap at $36 bucks +shipping and the Millers Falls at $26 plus shipping.
Holy Molly! now I have one cordless electric drill, two eggbeater Drills, and two hand braces… Guess this is it for my boring addiction…
CAnd by the way, the Millers Falls No. 1 that was in a potentially bad condition, ended up being in great condition, and it is beautiful, with Rosewood handles and it sings, just like any tool should!
Check out my arsenal!!! I will follow up with posts on their rehabilitation-restoration. Cheers!
From El Salvador, currently living in Guatemala
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