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Tools & Hardware

What In The World Is a Bit Brace?


Would you like to own a tool to drill holes that does not require a battery or a cord? In fact, it needs no power at all. 

It’s 100 % portable and will work anywhere, with only your two hands.  It’s called a Bit Brace.

The Bit Brace also known as a bit and brace or a ratchet brace is a hand-powered drill. One hand controls the angle and drilling force with the knob, the other powers it by turning the U-shaped handle. It is used to drill holes in wood and has been in carpenters’ toolboxes for decades.

The U-shaped handle or crank gives the brace much greater torque than other kinds of hand-powered drills. A bit brace can drill much wider and deeper holes than can a geared hand-powered drill.

The front part of the brace consists of a chuck with V-shaped clamps inside. They are designed to work with Irwin style drill bits, which have a tapered square-sided ends to fit the braces chuck.

Modern versions have a ratcheting mechanism to allow drilling without the need to do a full 360-degree turn of the handle and works like a ratchet wrench, to drill holes in tight spaces where a regular drill would not fit.

My grandfather carried one in his toolbox long before the advent of battery powered drills. He showed me how to use it and it was remarkably easy to use and effective. I still have his brace today in my toolbox and think of the great times we spent together working on projects, every time I use it.

The next time you visit your local Home Depot Hardware Department ask if they have a Bit Brace it is an amazing tool.


Mike, The Home Depot Answer Man

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Posted 2018-08-28T00:13:06+0000  by Mike_HD_OC Mike_HD_OC

Like yours, mine is a hand-me-down from my father.  I don’t ever recall him using it and I’ve only “played” with it but with a sharp bit it does drill a hole pretty fast and without a lot of effort, at least in whatever scrap 2x4 I had laying around.  Of course, they don’t drill into metal but for that I have one of the “egg beater” hand drills.  I’ve never used it but I can’t imagine it being a lot of fun for much more than small holes in soft material.
Posted 2018-08-29T22:22:17+0000  by Adam444
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