What size brace drill should I purchase

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    Steve Beck

    What size brace drill does Paul use in drilling holes for the Handy Stool. I’m searching in EBay and there are 100’s of them and the sizes vary from 6 to 12 ins. The prices also differ greatly. Any preferred manufacture.


    i think he recommends a 10″. Have you looked at the other website ? (commonwoodworking.com) You should find more info there.

    I’m also in the market for one. I have one with a ratchet but definitely not good. The internal chuck components keep turning inside when applying a bit of torque. Pretty useless..

    Larry Geib

    Preferred manufacturers would be Stanley ( especially one of the Bell system models) Miller falls, and Peck, Stowe, & Wilcox – usually seen as PEXTO.

    BUT Stanley bought out North Bros. And their braces were basically the North Brothers line, so those are good, too.

    More important than anything is that the chuck jaws are good and the ratchet works, or at least doesn’t slip.

    Slipping, BTW, is often just dirt in the works. Rinse thoroughly with kerosene or mineral spirits , then oil and see if that helps. Old braces are incredibly robust and can usually be brought back to life.

    As to size, 10” is standard. Probably 80-90% of all braces ever made are that size, so they are cheaper when you find one.

    Smaller ones were quicker for small holes and good in tight spaces, but are a struggle above 5/8” or so.

    Once you start getting to holes in the 2”+ range, a 12” or 14” is nice, but you pay for more torque with more arm motion. The big braces also take more real estate in a toolbox.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by Larry Geib.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by Larry Geib.
    Dave Ring

    Another brand to consider is Craftsman. Marketed by Sears, just about every one that I’ve seen was made by Millers Falls and was every bit as good as the MF branded ones. If you are doing your tool shopping on ebay, these will probably sell for less than the “name” brand products.


    Steve Beck

    Thanks everybody for the info. In a conversation with my bother-in-law, he has brace in his garage his grandfather gave him with a hand full of bits. So it will take a road trip to see what he’s got and determine it’s condition. Good reason to visit family.

    Thanks again!


    An often-overlooked advantage of a Brace, is it’s ability to take a Hex Driver. You’ll be able to use all Hex bits, from drills & countersinks to screwdrivers (incl. Torx) and sockets. Everything comes with a hex-drive option now. The tremendous torque and control means it’ll outperform your electric drill, especially on old door hinges.

    Paul has a video tutorial on sharpening your auger bits.
    Check out Lumberjocks website too, for some great information on restoring your brace.

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